Some Open Access Initiatives in India

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The awareness might still be hampered for the Indian researchers but there have been various initiatives by the Indian institutes, journals as well as publishers to make research content open. Some of these initiatives according to Joshi A. et al in “OA initiatives, boon to academic libraries” and Sahu D. et al in “OA: Key strategic,technical and economic aspects” are:

Indian Medlars Centre

The Indian Medlars Centre (IMC), set up jointly by the National Informatics Centre and the Indian Council of Medical Research, has taken the pioneering step of putting Indian biomedical journals accessible from a single platform. IMC’s first bibliographic database IndMed, established in 1998, provides abstract level information from more than 70 journals. Each of the articles in the database is tagged with Medical Subject Headings. In 2003, IMC launched its full-text database, MedInd, which now hosts full text version of 38 journals in PDF format. The understanding between the journals and the IMC ensures that the digitised work hosted by IMC will continue to be accessible even if the journal discontinues providing newer issues. One point resource of peer reviewed Indian biomedical literature covering full text of IndMED journals. It has been designed to provide quick and easy access through searching or browsing.

Indian Academy of Sciences

The Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS), founded in 1934, publishes 11 journals with the basic philosophy that no journal published by the Academy is in competition with another journal published in the country. Current Science, published by the Current Science Association in collaboration with the IAS, has entire back volumes from 1932 online in PDF format and has been online since 1999. Many other journals including the Journal of Biosciences, Sadhana, and Pramana also have the entire back volumes online. Major activities include publication of scientific journals and special volumes, organizing meetings of the Fellowship and discussions on important topics, recognizing scientific talent, improvement of science education, and taking up other issues of concern to the scientific community.

Indian National Science Academy

The Indian National Science Academy (INSA), established in 1935, publishes four journalsincluding the Proceedings of INSA. Under the project ‘Building Digital Resources: CreatingFacilities at INSA for hosting S & T Journals on Online’, INSA launched the Open Access version of these journals in December 2003. Indian National Science Academy, a premier Science Academy in the country, plays crucial role in promoting, recognizing and rewarding excellence. Another important task is to publish journals, organize scientific discussions and bring out proceedings and monographs.

The National Academy of Sciences, India

Founded in the year 1930, the National Academy of Sciences, India is the oldest Science Academy of the country. The main objective of the Academy was to provide a national forum for the publication of research work carried out by Indian scientists and to provide opportunities for exchange of views among them.

Bioline International

Bioline International is a not-for-profit collaborative effort of the University of Toronto Libraries, Canada, the Reference Center on Environmental Information, Brazil, and Bioline, UK. It provides electronic publishing services to journals published in developing countries. Bioline provides access to 14 Indian journals on their primary site as well as archives these journals at the Bioline EPrints Archive.

Medknow Publications

Medknow Publications is a commercial publisher providing publishing services to over 30 biomedical journals. These journals provide immediate free access and do not charge the author or author’s institution for publication of the articles. The journals also permit authors’ self-archiving. Most of the journals published are archived at multiple places including interoperable repositories, Bioline International and MedInd, ensuring the long-term archiving and accessibility of the published content.

Directory of Open Access Journal

Free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals, covering all subjects and many languages. India is contributing journals to this initiative since 2003.

Indian Journals .com

IndianJournals.com is a vast collection of interdisciplinary Indian Journals and Research Publications, providing: A pan-global web exposure for your Journals, A chance to preserve your research online, an international door
to knowledge-sharing, a mode to generate interest in your field.

 ePrints@IISc

ePrints@IISc repository collects, preserves and disseminates in digital format the research output created by the IISc research community.

Indian Statistical institute

The ISI Bangalore centre library was established in the year 1976 to meet the academic and research interests of the students, scholar, teachers and others. It has one of the best collections of literature on Statistics, Mathematics, Quality Engineering/ Management and Library & Information Science in India.

Open J-Gate Informatics (India) Limited

Open J-Gate is a free database of open access journals, launched in February 2006, hosted by Informatics (India) Ltd. Open J-Gate currently aggregates metadata from more than 4,000 OA journals published in the English language around the globe.

Open DOAR

Open DOAR is an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories. Each Open-DOAR repository has been visited by project staff to check the information that is recorded here. This in-depth approach does not rely on automated analysis and gives a quality-controlled list of repositories.

Open access in India

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India produces a large number of scholars and research professionals. Even though having a huge potential for scholarly research, most of the research done by Indian scholars goes unnoticed because of the two main problems brought up by Subbiah Arunachalam at the ELPUB 2008 Conference on Electronic Publishing – Toronto, Canada, which are:

ACCESS: They find it difficult to access the research done by other scientists all over the world. Because of the ever increasing costs of international journals, Indian libraries cannot afford to subscribe to key journals needed by their users. Thus, many scientists in India are forced to work in a situation of information poverty.

VISIBILITY: Other researchers are unable to access what Indian researchers are doing, leading to low visibility and low use of their work. As Indian scientists publish their own research in thousands of journals, small and big, from around the world, their work is often not noticed by others elsewhere, even within India, working in the same and related areas.

But the recent initiatives in the world of Information by the initiation of Open Access, the situation in India has been improving. Most common example discussed is of the Journal of PostGraduate Medicine, a quarterly journal, which benefited and improved many folds and attracts close to 100,000 visitors with more than 110,000 article downloads per month. The increased accessibility and visibility has also increased the citations received by this journal. Recent studies show the data about how the position of India has been elevating in the world of scholarly communication. India is marking it’s position in the world by making most of the journals open access, which previously suffered from ‘low circulation – low visibility – low impact factor’ syndrome. Increasing number of Institutional repositories in India, has also contributed towards it’s visibility.

An article by Mukhaji B. and Mal B. “India’s efforts in open access publishing” provides the list of all the open access journals, their position in DOAJ and  number of citations per year. The article also provides an interesting set of sub-fields and journals related to it. It comes as a shock that India, being the foremost Agricultural country has almost one to  none open access journals related to it and no wonder is far below average in producing scholarly content in the field of Agriculture. Even so, recent developments in making the research content of CIGAR open access, might have a significant effect on India as well.

What is Open Access (OA) ?

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Open Access (OA) is free, immediate, permanent online access to the full text of research articles for anyone, web wide. Open access helps to ensure long-term access to not only scholarly articles but also an attempt to access royalties, such as, music, movies, books etc. In general, Open Access (OA) publications are those made freely available online to anyone anywhere, with almost no charges imposed for access.

According to Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) the concept of Open Access refers to; “World-wide electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal literature, completely free and unrestricted access to it by all scientists, scholars, teachers, students, and other curious minds.”

The Bethesda Statement’ (2003) defines; “Open access, where “The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use”.

The Berlin Declaration on OA to knowledge put it as: “For a work to be OA, the copyright holder must consent in advance to let users “copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship.”

Peter Suber (2010) describes, “Open-access literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions”. Suber also states that open access contents are not restricted only to peer-reviewed research articles; they can be in any formats from texts and data to software, audio, video, and multi-media. Although the OA movement focuses on peer-reviewed research articles and their preprints, OA can also apply to non-scholarly content, like music, movies, and novels, even if these are not the focus of most OA activists .

Commonly known as the three Bs, the Budapest, Berlin, and Bethesda public statements represent the most highly regarded definitions of OA, and all agree on the essentials. Though differing slightly, the statements essentially note that OA allows users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full text of works, permitting use for any lawful purpose, as long as Internet access to the material is possible. The three legs of the BBB definition go beyond removing price barriers to removing permission barriers, or beyond gratis OA to libre OA. But at the same time, all three allow at least one limit on user freedom: an obligation to attribute the work to the author.

Why this blog ?

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Welcome to my blog !  I’ve always wanted to write a blog about something that I am enthusiastic about. Taking the open access class with “Heather Morrison” gave me a chance to start thinking about a blog about open access in India and generate knowledge about the current position and effects of it. So, I’ve started this blog and hope to continue it for a LONG  time !