The Australian Research Council (ARC), a statutory agency within the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education portfolio has introduced open access policy for ARC funded research which takes into effect from 1 January 2013. With the mission to deliver policy and programs that advance Australian research and innovation globally and benefit the community, the ARC’s Open Access Policy is being implemented to ensure that the findings of publicly funded research are made available to the wider public as soon as possible.
The policy says that the ARC supported research project must be deposited into an open access institutional repository within a twelve month period from the date of publication. Even if the article is openly accessible via the publisher’s website or via a service, it should also be submitted to your institutional repository. This ensures, the availability of the articles at the Australian Institutional Repositories.
We hope that in future all the Research and Development funding agencies in India too formulate their Open Access Policies for making available all the public funded research to the wider public. Similar to the Open Data Portal of India, a common portal of all the Institutional Repositories may soon be established.
An Institutional Repository is an online locus for collecting, preserving, and disseminating, in digital form, the intellectual output of an institution (INASP, 2013). According to ROAR, there are 3,340 and as per OpenDOAR, there are 2,255 institutional repositories in the world and out of which 87 are in agriculture, food and veterinary (OpenDOAR, 2013).
Most of these repositories are build either by DSpace or Eprints which are Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). These software are compatible with Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) and make the meta-data of the records easily available to the machines and makes the contents available when queried in any web search engines.
Therefore, when the institutional repositories are built and populated with the intellectual digital products, the user would get the access to the information and no matter where the information is housed. When these records use the tags like AgroTagger or vocabulary like AGROVOC which is Linked Open Data (LOD), all queried records and along with all the related data would become available. This system in practice and the will and consent of the author along with the proper archiving and sharing polices, the institutions can build Global Research Commons.
Today is the last date of the year 2012 which is the completion year of BOAI’s decade. Ten years back on 14th February 2002, Budapest Open Access Initiative was released. Today it has 5719 individual and 651 organisations endorsement. The ten recommendations of BOAI says that open access communities wherever possible should look for ways to coordinate activities and communications in order to make better use of their resources, should reach out to academic colleagues and campaign for open access to research articles and articulate more clearly, with more evidence that open access for publicly-funded research benefits taxpayers and increases the return on investment in research.
Now, we the Open Access India community members are stepping into the year 2013 and let us all take a resolution that in the new year 2013, we would make our research openly available, convince others to make their research public either through open access journals or open access institutional repositories. Many of us are members of one or the other scholarly societies which are publishing scholarly journals. Lets join our efforts to make use of the Free and Open Source Software which are available for launching open access journals or establishing open access repositories. As it is said, its the will and consent of the author is required for the Open Access, so lets make this year 2013 as Open Access Year 2013.
The publisher copyright and self-archiving repository SHERPA/RoMEO says that 67% of publishers allow some form of self-archiving. However, when we look at the data on ROAR we have 2.95% of world repositories are established in India. This shows that there is a need to increase the number of institutional repositories in India. When about 569 universities and equal or more number institutes which are into research and development are established in India, only 94 institutional repositories from India on ROAR means very less. There is a need for greater advocacy for opening up of the access to data and information produced by both public and private funded research projects for the public good. The National Knowledge Commission had already made its recommendations for Open Access and there is availability of free and open source software for managing the repositories and making available the records for easy query and access, there should not be any reason for not establishing the scholarly repositories for public good. There are some scholarly social networking sites like Academia, MyOpenArchive and ResearchGate using which many of the students and researchers are sharing their research outputs. Therefore, the institutes/universities should formulate their policy towards Opening Up of Access to Data and Information for Public Good.