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.