This OA Week “Open in Action “, become a ScienceOpen Activist!

Become a ScienceOpen Activist and change the world of scientific publishing! Apply to become part of our think-tank and our voice in the community.

Scholarly Publishing and science are frustratingly slow when it comes to change. Newton’s lab-books from 300 years ago probably look similar to what PhD-students still scribble in today!

Old habits die hard in research. Other than social media, scholarly communication is still largely focused on publication in journals where anonymous peer review delays the liberation of newly gained knowledge by months, if not even years.

We are still using systems that have operated for decades and centuries. But do they really still work? Research studies can be irreproducible; billions of public funding lock up knowledge behind pay walls and embargos became a bargaining chip between authors and their publishers.

Many people know this. The Open Access movement has provided a practical way forwards and has moved way beyond simply portraying an idealist view of the world to demonstrating it. But why isn’t Open Science our reality right now?

The ScienceOpen answer: we need more activists!

We need your help: Apply now to become a ScienceOpen Activist:

World famous ScienceOPENer
World famous ScienceOPENer
  • You know best what needs to be done: tell us about Open Science discussions at your institution.
  • Give us your ideas on how to improve ScienceOpen: be the first to test implemented features on ScienceOpen
  • Join a community of doers: through frequent Webinars and an Activist camp in Berlin in December you will get to know like-minded people
  • We will give you the right tools: activists receive items such as stickers and some ScienceOPENers (inspired by this viral video!)
  • Create a bigger network: ScienceOpen has been around for over a year, so join the platform and get to know the network

Regardless of whether you are an early career researcher or a senior scientist, have a background in natural sciences or study languages, work as a librarian or for a funding agency, you can apply here. Please also share why you are enthusiastic about Open Science.

Let’s take it to the next level. And make change happen.

Viva La Revolucion!

 

Originally posted at http://blog.scienceopen.com/2015/10/this-oa-week-become-a-scienceopen-activist/

Letter to UGC on Impact Factors and DOAJ

Open-Access-1Dear Colleagues and Friends,

As you may be aware that the University Grants Commission (UGC) has set up a committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. V.S. Chauhan, Member, UGC and former Director, ICGEB (New Delhi) to prepare the list of journals in which authors should be publishing in-order to gain score for Academic Performance Indicators (API) system. It is reported that this attempt is being made to address the sub-standard publishing by the authors from colleges/universities. It is also mentioned in the news that they may use give weight-age to the journal’s Impact Factor. (Source: The Hindu)

On the other hand earlier in December 2012, The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) an initiated by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) had put forth a recommendation that “the need to eliminate the use of journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, in funding, appointment, and promotion considerations” and had asked the individuals and organizations to sign the DORA declaration.

This call was taken by the DBT/DST and may subscribing to the DORA had mentioned in their Open Access policy that they may not consider Impact Factors in career assessments, promotions or appointments (of individuals in research and academics),

It is proposed that as the DOAJ is improving in terms of quality and services, shall we approach UGC and request it to consider giving weight-age to the DOAJ Indexed Journals while recommending the List of Journals and giving points for publishing in DOAJ Indexed Journals?

If you agree that Open Access should be given weight-age in API Score and Impact Factors should not be used for assessment/appointments/promotions, then please send an email to Dr. V.S. Chauhan <virander[at]icgeb[dot]res[dot]in>

Cite this article as: Sridhar Gutam, "Letter to UGC on Impact Factors and DOAJ," in Open Access India, July 20, 2016, http://openaccessindia.org/letter-ugc-impact-factors-doaj/, accessed on September 22, 2018.

The “Balancing Act” of Copyright & Open Access

To understand the interplay between Copyright law and Open Access, it is essential to consider the justifications for Copyright law. Copyright law emerged out of the belief that there is a need to protect the Science and the Arts in order to encourage their progress. In fact, many countries mention this need for copyright in their constitution (such as the US constitution). The idea is that creators need to capitalize off their work, which would motivate them to keep producing work. They would have a ‘copyright’, which is several exclusive rights for the use and distribution of their work. But since art, science and literature enrich society, and therefore should be open to all eventually, copyrights are not permanent. Therefore, copyright law has described to be a balancing act between the rights of the creator and of the public. Issues debated upon within the context of Copyright law, such as the length of a Copyright, are essentially related to how open or closed the work should be.

However, copyright law is ‘one-size-fits-all’, which is supposed to cover everything from the latest blockbuster movie, to a cutting-edge paper on Genetic Engineering. And there lies the problem.

While making money from their creations is great for musicians, artists and writers, it’s altogether different for researchers. Musicians, artists and writers usually depend upon earning from their work for sustenance, but researchers are already funded by their government or institutions. The global GERD/GDP ratio (Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP) is 1.70% in 2013.  This means that USD 1.5 trillion are being spent worldwide on research- money that could be used to support a number of other services such as healthcare, education or pension. This massive funding means that researchers are often well-compensated for their work.

In any case, researchers make no money from sending their articles to journals. In fact, journals don’t pay their authors, peer reviewers or editors either. Then why do authors sell their work to journals? As Peter Suber puts it, “Scholars write journal articles for impact, not for money”. Scholars choose to publish their articles in high-profile journals because they want the most people to read it, and to benefit from it. This model used to work. But today, journals have become so expensive, that not even the most well-funded institutions can afford them. From 1986 to 2006, the average journal cost increased by 180% while the consumer price index rose by 84%. This means that the prices of journals have been growing at more than twice the rate of inflation. This is termed as the “serials crisis” as libraries were unable to manage their volume of subscriptions with the increasing costs of journals. Because of these prices, University libraries are buying half of the academic books that they did in the 1980s, which ultimately limits the number of  people that can access these journals. Very often, authors cannot even share their own work after publishing it in a journal.

Why does copyright law allow this situation to arise? It is because the copyright is transferred to publishers when articles are published. For an author of a novel, since they would negotiate a contract with royalty, this transfer enables them to make money, even though the copyright is transferred. Since researchers do not wish to earn from their articles, they usually transfer it to journals for free, along with the copyright. Being for-profit companies, who have a monopoly over articles since they have the copyright, publishers can be selective about what they publish, charge prohibitively high fees for access, and make the profit that was intended to benefit the author. However, this is changing through the Open Access movement.

Authors were compelled to publish with conventional publishers before the information technology age, but digitization of research has made it almost cost-free to transfer research. It is probably best explained by the Budapest Open Access Initiative “An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good. The old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment. . . . The new technology is the internet”. This is what has fueled the growth of Open Access, a better way for researchers to share their work. With Open Access, the original aim of research to reach the widest possible audience is being met.

The Open Access movement does not thwart copyrights, but allows a person to choose the kind of copyright they want, from a variety of types, and therefore have the freedom to share to differing extents. The growth of this movement has allowed the scientific community to share their work in the manner that they wish to rather than be obliged to transfer a standard-length and standard-protection copyright. So even if copyright law is not the best fit for researchers, it’s being adapted in creative ways all over the world, to make it compatible with the aims of scientific research.

References:

  • “The “Wild West” of Academic Publishing” By Craig Lambert

Harvard Magazine, JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2015. Available online at this link.

  • “Open Access” By Peter Suber

MIT Press 2012. Available online at this link.

This blog was originally posted on the WSIS KC Community Website.

India’s New IPR Policy

The Indian government published the National Intellectual Rights Policy in May 2016. The policy has been formulated keeping in mind that there is a lack of awareness with regard to the obtaining of Intellectual Property Rights in India. The aim of India’s IPR policy is to promote the “knowledge economy”, which the policy defines as “an economy that creates, disseminates and uses knowledge to enhance its growth and development.” This is a goal complementary to Open Access, which aims to effectuate openness in obtaining, publishing and processing research, in order to create a knowledge based society. IPR could be perceived as a restriction on open access because it allows those who invent and innovate to have exclusive rights to the usage of that invention. However, IPR is necessary to encourage creativity and innovation, by allowing inventors to earn from their inventions, but the existing legal regime could be tweaked in order to support Open Access. More information about IPR and the alternatives to the existing IPR regime is here. India’s policy is framed in order to increase the prevalence of IPR. There is even a provision for the creation of special courts for IPR enforcement, which would encourage the usage of IPR.

However, some aspects of the policy could be improved upon to have better social impact. For example, one of the objectives of India’s IPR policy is to “Get value for IPRs through commercialization”. This objective states that value and economic reward for IP holders is obtained is through commercialization of IPR. While commercialized rights do protect investors, it is important to recognize that commercialization sometimes means lack of access to information. For example, say an IP holder sells her rights to a large corporation, then this means that they would not be in charge of their own rights. Therefore, a researcher may not have the legal right to share his work even though he may wish to see his research be utilized by others worldwide. The IPR policy does not prevent this utilization, of course, but a blanket promotion of commercialization may inadvertently discourage open access. To illustrate, to encourage commercialization would effectively discourage the usage of APF or repository system of sharing research. The policy also aims to commercialize even publically funded research, infact suggest that R&D institutions should reward researchers on the basis of IPR creation. This may not meet the policy’s aims, as IPR driven research is not always socially beneficial research. Moreover, publicly-funded research is slowly moving into the field of Open Access all around the world. For example, the EU recently announced that all publically funded research should be OA by 2020. Infact, the principles of this policy might not be directly aligned with the goals of the Indian government as well. Prime Minister Modi has expressed the ideas India ruling the 21st century, calling it the ‘era of knowledge’. Various institutions in India, such as the Department of Science and Technology have applied an open access policy across their departments. In 2012, India released the “National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy”, which tries to improve data management through open access. Such positive steps are benefitting Indian scientists and researchers.

The strengthening of the IPR system in India could be improved by taking into consideration the larger societal requirement of sharing of research. An IPR system is beneficial for the holistic development of knowledge, but it is not enough. Research and innovation is complementary and complex, and greater protection for the innovator is not always the best approach. This is the most apparent in the sciences, since research is often expensive and time consuming. In developing countries, sparse resources would be wasted in situations where two laboratories may produce duplicative research. A system which would implement IPR without compromising Open Access would serve the interests of the nation better, and truly make India a knowledge producer.

This blog was originally posted on the WSIS KC Blog. 

Open Agricultural Educational Resources in India: Present Status and Way Forward

imagesThe Open Educational Resources are now gaining momentum and so are the Open Agricultural Educational Resources (OAERs). In India, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) took initiative in developing e-courses for undergraduate agriculture students in collaboration with State Agricultural Universities (SAUs). When the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are becoming popular among the students of other disciplines and digitally born materials are increasing in numbers, the authors of this paper attempted to explore the present status of the OAERs in India and what is the way forward for it in the National Agricultural Research System (NARS). When searched on the Internet, it was found that the Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI) and National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM), constitute establishments of the ICAR are helping to build e-courses on to Moodle platform and are involved in the capacity development among the Agriculture teachers. The other institutions like The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, IIT Bombay, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta, Common Wealth of Learning (COL) are also now developing Agriculture MOOCs. These institutions in collaboration with SAUs are developing courses which are like classroom teaching involving audio, visuals and also live interactions and finally assessment and certification. When the usage of digitally born teaching aids is increasing by the teaching faculty in the SAUs, and there is a growing tendency among the faculties to share the materials over the Internet as evident from the posts on social media, it is possible for the easy share and exchange of the materials by depositing the same in repositories of OAERs. This would help in the development of a common portal which can harvest the materials deposited and catalogue them for easy access, use, re-use for learning and teaching purposes. The authors have also looked at the licensing of these MOOCs or OAERs. While the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER), ePG Pathshala, e-UG Pathshala are being developed by the Ministry of Human Resources Development are being shared with Creative Commons Attribution – ShareAlike. The Agriculture MOOCs does not state any machine readable licensing mechanism which will make the crawlers or bots to search and harvest the materials for use and re-use without technical and legal restrictions. They, however state that the content is free to use for educational and non-commercial purposes. Therefore, the authors propose that the way forward is to establish repositories by the publicly funded institutions involved in teaching for depositing and sharing the content developed by their respective faculty. And the establishment of a portal called ‘Agriculture Commons’ which can harvest the contents from the established repositories with a suitable Creative Commons license.

Cite this article as: Sabita Mondal, "Open Agricultural Educational Resources in India: Present Status and Way Forward," in Open Access India, December 24, 2015, http://openaccessindia.org/744-2/, accessed on September 22, 2018.

Announcing Open Access India Kolkata Meetup

oaikolThe first ever face to face meetup of the Open Access India community members are going to take place at Kolkata on December 18, 2015 during which the future programme of the community would be discussed. Therefore, it is requested that all the community members of the Open Access India and other like minded people who have interests in Open Access, Open Data and Open Education to join us in the meetup at Salt Lake area of Kolkata on Dec. 18, 2015 at 5:30 PM (IST).

It is also planned to air the meetup online via Google Hangouts and tweet & post on Twitter (@OpenAccessIndia) and Facebook with #oaindia #meetup

For RSVP and latest updates on the Meetup please see event page on Facebook and register on Eventbrite

For more, please visit OpenAccessIndia.Org

OpenCon 2015 Applications are Open!

Applications to attend OpenCon 2015 on November 14-16 in Brussels, Belgium are now open! The application is available on the OpenCon website at opencon2015.org/attend and includes the opportunity to apply for a travel scholarship to cover the cost of travel and accommodations. Applications will close on June 22nd at 11:59pm PDT.

OpenCon seeks to bring together the most capable, motivated students and early career academic professionals from around the world to advance Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data—regardless of their ability to cover travel costs.  In 2014, more than 80% of attendees received support.  Due to this, attendance at OpenCon is by application only.

Students and early career academic professionals of all experience levels are encouraged to apply.  We want to support those who have ideas for new projects and initiatives in addition to those who are already leading them.  The most important thing is an interest in advancing Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data and a commitment to taking action. We also hope to use applications to connect applicants with opportunities for collaboration, local events in your area, and scholarship opportunities to attend other relevant conferences.

OpenCon is equal parts conference and community.  The meeting in Brussels serves as the centerpiece of a much larger network to foster initiatives and collaboration among the next generation across OpenCon’s issue areas.  Become an active part of the community by joining our discussion list, tuning in for our monthly community calls and webcasts, or hosting an OpenCon satellite event in your community.

Apply now, and join the OpenCon community today!

About OpenCon:

Hosted by the Right to Research Coalition and SPARC, OpenCon 2015 will bring together students and early career academic professionals from across the world to learn about the issues, develop critical skills, and return home ready to catalyze action toward a more open system for sharing the world’s information — from scholarly and scientific research, to educational materials, to digital data.  OpenCon 2015 will be held on November 14-16 in Brussels, Belgium.

OpenCon 2015’s three day program will begin with two days of conference-style keynotes, panels, and interactive workshops, drawing both on the expertise of leaders in the Open Access, Open Education and Open Data movements and the experience of participants who have already led successful projects.

The third day will take advantage of the location in Brussels by providing a half-day of advocacy training followed by the opportunity for in-person meetings with relevant policy makers, ranging from the European Parliament, European Commission, embassies, and key NGOs. Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of the conference’s three issue areas, stronger skills in organizing local and national projects, and connections with policymakers and prominent leaders across the three issue areas.

OpenCon 2015 builds on the success of the first-ever OpenCon meeting last year which convened 115 students and early career academic professionals from 39 countries in Washington, DC.

Speakers at OpenCon 2014 included the Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States for Legislative Affairs, the Chief Commons Officer of Sage Bionetworks, the Associate Director for Data Science for the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and more than 15 students and early career academic professionals leading successful initiatives. OpenCon 2015 will again feature leading experts, and the program will be announced in the coming months.

Be kind…share!

Thanks to the Open Access Policy that the India’s department of science and technology (DST) and the department of biotechnology (DBT) introduced last December, open access is at the forefront of research interest and its importance is certainly highly understood to allow  researchers to publish in “high quality, peer-reviewed” journals and at the same time giving free access to information and data to the public.

Certainly a key role to this shift has been that of Open Access India, a community of practice that advocates for and assist with all aspects related to publishing using Open Access mechanisms.

It might seem surprising that this news are welcome with such enthusiasm as it would probably appear obvious to most people that research results should be available to everyone without any legal or technical restrictions especially when that same public has contributed with its taxes to the research behind the resulting knowledge.

Sadly though in many research environments this is not the case- yet! Often knowledge and information is in practice not shared but in fact locked away leaving out a huge percentage of readers who could otherwise benefit from it. The scientific community has been resisting to embrace Open Access mainly because of costs, reputation, and fears of plagiarism.

Cost: it is true that publishing on Open Access Journals involves a cost: however, given that governments and donors push for such approach, it should be the same donors who fund the open access publication; all proposals therefore ought to include that cost and fracture it in.

Reputation: it is no longer valid the argument that Open Access Journals are not good. Many well-kown journals like Elsevier now offer several Open Access options and it is easy to distinguish the predatory journals from the genuine ones that have as real object that of disseminating knowledge.

Plagiarism: by making research results and knowledge accessible and available and thus under everyone’s eye, attempts to copy and misappropriate somebody’s else work will become even more obvious and visible rather than the other way round.

All in all it seems therefore that these fears are not grounded while the benefits are enormous. I copy here a wonderful graphic representation done by the Danny Kingsley & Sarah Brown which nails the issue down perfectly. cc-by_logoSurprisingly the CGIAR has only recently started seriously this approach. With the aim of improving the efficiency, efficacy, and impact of its research, on 2 October 2013 the Open Access and Data Management Policy was approved by the CGIAR Consortium Board to make unrestricted and free online access to and re-use, by any user worldwide, of all information products generated within the CGIAR research.

Open Access is not a fashion or trend; it is a strategy to ensure that research results can become truly international public goods while assisting scientists in building their publication reputation.

So if you love knowledge, be kind, share it! Love OA

OpenCon 2015 Details Announced!

For immediate release: April 7, 2015
Press Contact: Ranit Schmelzer: +1 202 538 1065, sparcmedia@arl.org

Broad Coalition Announces 2nd Conference for Students & Early Career Academic Professionals on Open Access, Open Education and Open Data

opencon2015OpenCon 2015 to Take Place November 14-16 in Brussels, Belgium

WASHINGTON, DC — Today 11 organizations representing the next generation of scholars, researchers, and academic professionals announced OpenCon 2015: Empowering the Next Generation to Advance Open Access, Open Education and Open Data. Slated for November 14-16 in Brussels, Belgium, the event will bring together students and early career academic professionals from across the world to learn about the issues, develop critical skills, and return home ready to catalyze action toward a more open system for sharing the world’s information — from scholarly and scientific research, to educational materials, to digital data.

Hosted by the Right to Research Coalition and SPARC, OpenCon 2015 builds on the success of the first-ever OpenCon meeting last year which convened 115 students and early career academic professionals from 39 countries in Washington, DC.  More than 80% of these participants received full travel scholarships, provided by sponsorships from leading organizations, including the Max Planck Society, eLife, PLOS, and more than 20 universities.

“OpenCon 2015 will expand on a proven formula of bringing together the brightest young leaders across the Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data movements and connecting them with established leaders in each community,” said Nick Shockey, founding Director of the Right to Research Coalition. “OpenCon is equal parts conference and community.  The meeting in Brussels will serve as the centerpiece of a much larger network to foster initiatives and collaboration among the next generation across OpenCon’s three issue areas.”

OpenCon 2015’s three day program will begin with two days of conference-style keynotes, panels, and interactive workshops, drawing both on the expertise of leaders in the Open Access, Open Education and Open Data movements and the experience of participants who have already led successful projects.

The third day will take advantage of the location in Brussels by providing a half-day of advocacy training followed by the opportunity for in-person meetings with relevant policy makers, ranging from the European Parliament, European Commission, embassies, and key NGOs. Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of the conference’s three issue areas, stronger skills in organizing local and national projects, and connections with policymakers and prominent leaders across the three issue areas.

Speakers at OpenCon 2014 included the Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States for Legislative Affairs, the Chief Commons Officer of Sage Bionetworks, the Associate Director for Data Science for the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and more than 15 students and early career academic professionals leading successful initiatives. OpenCon 2015 will again feature leading experts.  Patrick Brown and Michael Eisen, two of the co-founders of PLOS, are confirmed for a joint keynote at the 2015 meeting.

“For the ‘open’ movements to succeed, we must invest in capacity building for the next generation of librarians, researchers, scholars, and educators,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). “OpenCon is dedicated to creating and empowering a global network of young leaders across these issues, and we are eager to partner with others in the community to support and catalyze these efforts.”

OpenCon seeks to convene the most effective student and early career academic professional advocates—regardless of their ability to pay for travel costs. The majority of participants will receive full travel scholarships. Because of this, attendance is by application only, though limited sponsorship opportunities are available to guarantee a fully funded place at the conference.  Applications will open on June 1, 2015.

In 2014, more than 1,700 individuals from 125 countries applied to attend the inaugural OpenCon.

“As an organization that represents more than 11 million students across 39 European countries, the European Students’ Union is committed to advancing openness in research and education,” said Erin Nordal, Vice-Chairperson of the European Students’ Union (ESU). “ESU is excited to help organize OpenCon 2015 and ensure the next generation is at the forefront of the conversation around Open Access, Open Education and Open Data—in Europe and beyond.”

This year, an expanded emphasis will be placed on building the community around OpenCon and on satellite events. OpenCon satellite events are independently hosted meetings that mix content from the main conference with live presenters to localize the discussion and bring the energy of an in-person OpenCon event to a larger audience.  In 2014, OpenCon satellite events reached hundreds of students and early career academic professionals in nine countries across five continents.  A call for partners to host satellite events has now opened and is available at http://www.opencon2015.org/satellite.

OpenCon 2015 is organized by the Right to Research Coalition, SPARC, and a committee of student and early career researcher organizations from around the world. A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available and will be critical to ensuring that dedicated students and early career academic professionals across the globe are able to attend. For more information, see www.opencon2015.org/sponsor.

Applications for OpenCon 2015 will open on June 1st. For more information about the conference and to sign up for updates, visit www.opencon2015.org/updates.  You can follow OpenCon on Twitter at @Open_Con or using the hashtag #opencon.

###

The Right to Research Coalition is an international alliance of graduate and undergraduate student organizations, which collectively represent nearly 7 million students in over 100 countries around the world, that advocate for and educate students about open methods of scholarly publishing.  The Right to Research Coalition is a project of SPARC.

SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system.  Developed by the Association of Research Libraries, SPARC has become a catalyst for change.  Its pragmatic focus is to stimulate the emergence of new scholarly communication models that expand the dissemination of scholarly research and reduce financial pressures on libraries.  More information can be found at www.sparc.arl.org and on Twitter @SPARC_NA.


Contact Information for Organizing Committee Members

Belgian Medical Students’ Association
Koen Demaegd, National Officer on Research Exchange
nore [at] belgianmsa [dot] com

EuroScience
Slobodan Radicev, governing board member
slobodan.radicev [at] euroscience [dot] org

The European Students’ Union
Erin Nordal, Vice-Chairperson
Erin [at] esu-online [dot] org

The International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA)
Ivana Di Salvo, Liaison officer for
Research and Medical Associations [at] ifmsa [dot] org

IFMSA-Pakistan
Arslan Inayat, National President IFMSA Pakistan*
arslan201 [at] hotmail [dot] com

Max Planck PhDnet
Prateek Mahalwar, Spokesperson
prateek.mahalwar [at] tuebingen.mpg.de

The Open Access Button
Joseph McArthur, Co-lead
Joe [at] righttoresearch [dot] com

Open Knowledge
Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Research
jonathan [dot] gray [at] okfn [dot] org

Open Library of Humanities
Martin Paul Eve, Co-Director
martin [dot] eve [at] openlibhums [dot] org

National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS)
Kristofferson Culmer, President & CEO
president [at] nagps [dot] org

Siyavula Education
Megan Beckett, Instructional Designer and Open Education Advocate
megan [at] siyavula [dot] com

Meredith Niles
Post-doctoral research fellow, Harvard University*
Assistant Professor, University of Vermont (August 2015)*
meredith_niles [at] hks [dot] harvard [edu]

Iara Vidal Pereira de Souza
PhD student, Brazilian Institute of Information in Science and Technology / Federal University of Rio de Janeiro*
iaravidalps [at] gmail [dot] com

Erin McKiernan
Postdoctoral fellow, Wilfrid Laurier University*
emck31 [at] gmail [dot] com

* Institutions are for affiliation purposes only

Source: http://opencon2015.org/blog/opencon-2015-details-announced

India’s Top Scientific Departments Announces OA Policy

Open-Access-1The two top most scientific departments in India, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the Ministry of Science and Technology had announced jointly the Open Access Policy on 12th December 2014.

The departments are of the opinion that as the funds for research on science and technology are public funds, therefore, the “information and knowledge generated through the use of these funds are made publicly available as son as possible”. However it adds a foot note that information sharing is subject to the “Indian law and IP policies of respective funding agencies and institutions where the research is performed” and the institutions are encouraged to seek IP protection to the research outputs.

The policy states that the departments believe that by the distribution of the research publications freely “is the most effective way of ensuring that the research it funds can be accessed, read and built upon” and  “free, open and digital access of scientific research will ensure percolation of cutting edge research at a rapid pace into higher education curricula, thereby raising the standard of technical and scientific education in the country

As per the policy, all the research articles’s final accepted manuscripts (post-prints) resulting from the DBT/DST funds received from the fiscal year 2012-13 onwards are required to be deposited either in their respective institutional repositories or in the Ministry’s central repositories (dst.sciencecentral.in/ and dbt.sciencecentral.in/) and the harvester (sciencecentral.in) would harvest the full-text and metadata of the publications.

The highlight of the DBT/DST Open Access policy is that while it recognizes “the right of researchers to publish their work in journals of their choice”, it states that “the intrinsic merit of the work, and not the title of the journal in which an author’s work is published, should be considered in making future funding decisions” and the DBT and DST do not recommend the use of journal impact factors either as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring,promotion, or funding decisions“.

This above statements by DBT/DST shows that the departments are in agreement to the The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) which “intends to halt the practice of correlating the journal impact factor to the merits of a specific scientist’s contributions“.

The Open Access India community is welcomes this Open Access policy and hopes that this step towards Open Access to public funded research would lead to development and adoption of National Open Access Mandate in India and also the policy adds into it all the research outputs (not limited to articles) and shares them freely for the public good.