The 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.