Home » National Open Access Policy of India (Draft) Ver. 3

National Open Access Policy of India (Draft) Ver. 3

National Open Access Policy of India (Draft) Ver. 3

Proposer: Open Access India | 12th Feb. 2017

Purpose: Preparation of draft ‘National Open Access Policy’ for India to be submitted to: Ministries Human Resource Development and Science & Technology, Government of India on 14th February, 2017, the 15th anniversary of the BOAI (Budapest open access Initiative)

Rationale: In the year 2014, the two premier departments, Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Department of Science & Technology (DST) under the Ministry of Science & Technology adopted open access (funder) policy. The national councils viz., Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) had already adopted open access policies prior to that. The University Grants Commission (UGC) under the Ministry of HRD has also adopted a policy for ‘Thesis/Dissertation’ deposit in a central repository, Shodhganga for public access. The government has now adopted ‘Open Data Use License’ and has formulated National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy. Efforts are being made for building MOOCs Swayam and National Digital Library and to make our country the truly Digital India with an unrestricted access to data and information. For this, there is a need to integrate all the platforms and resources to have an interoperability without any legal and technical restrictions so that there will be a seamless sharing of data and information across all the platforms related to Science, Education and Technology. Thus a National Open Access policy which covers all the publicly funded scholarships, including the data, needs to be in place. With the adoption of national policy momentum towards Open Science and Scholarship in India would be enhanced and will also set a precedent of good practice, especially in developing countries where access to published scientific literature is becoming difficult with the rising cost of journal subscriptions.

Background & Scope: As mentioned, open access refers to the practice of making scholarly outputs freely (free as freedom) available with unrestricted re-use online for everyone.  Open access applies to all research domains, including Science, Social Science, Humanities, Medicine, Engineering, and Mathematics. Open access to Science and scientific research publications is a global issue, with many countries around the world adopting and implementing a range of different policies for accessing and sharing. As the government funds the research for the public good with the public taxes, the citizens have the right to access the research outputs (data, information and knowledge). Sharing those outputs freely helps the researchers to have unrestricted access to previous research to build new knowledge without having to reinvent the wheel. It is time and again proved that the increased access to data, information and knowledge helps in the development of research infrastructure which would bring incredible benefits to the society. Open access publishing should be a non-negotiable term included in all grant agreements provided by the Government. Such a policy will only be impactful if it is applied consistently and without exception.

Open Access Definition: The ‘Budapest Open Access Initiative’ defines ‘open access’ as “free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited”.

Open Research Data: The national data sharing and accessibility (2012) policy already defined what open data is and what the types of its access are.  Recently, the license to use government open data has also been adopted. However, the data produced during the research and the data published in research articles or in other reports (primary data, associated metadata, and any additional relevant data) are also very important to understand, assess, and replicate reported studies or to use them in the methods or models in future. The open research data when deposited in public repository can be tested for reproducibility of the research. (See FAIR guidelines).

Benefits of Open Access: By removing all legal, commercial and technological barriers to access the scientific information, the research process becomes more efficient and the research results become more visible. Furthermore, open access prevents duplication, fosters knowledge and technological transfer and promotes innovation. More specifically, by requiring open access to research funded by agencies one can reap the following benefits:

  • Facilitate monitoring of quality, process, transparency, impact, etc. of the research.
  • Make the process of assessment of the innovation potential of the research easy for the different institutions to explore what collaborations can be made between the research institutes and other organizations/entities.
  • Enable new and innovative ways of performing research, such as Text and Data Mining and machine-intensive research methods.
  • Enable new collaborations and the paving of new, interdisciplinary and internationally-driven research paths.
  • Foster science-literate and research-literate citizens and enhance citizen science.
  • Cut expenditure on financial resources on expensive subscriptions.
  • Help obtain a higher return on investment in research through open access both by the re-use and by the higher visibility of the results of the research.
  • Helps transparency for the Government of India or the agency implementing the policy to systematically monitor the implementation of this policy, provide public accounts of its progress, and revise, if necessary.

In summary, the advantages of open access to science and scholarship are:

  • Greater visibility and impact of the research funded; improved verifiability, assessment and monitoring of the credibility of the research.
  • Making knowledge openly accessible bridges the digital divide and accelerates research.
  • Provides material for further research, analysis, data-mining, text-mining and development of new semantic web tools for a new knowledge generation.

Policy Statements:

  1. All the individuals or the institutes that receive financial support from the government directly or through its establishments or agencies need to make all the scholarly outputs arising from the funded projects publicly available via Institutional Repositories.
  2. It is mandatory to deposit in institutional repositories where research has been undertaken first. In the absence of Institutional Repository, it should be deposited in the national repositories (dbt.sciencecentral.in or dst.sciencecentral.in) or in the repositories to be established by the Ministry of HRD, and other interoperable repositories (international, subject, data etc.).
  3. The postprint or final copy of the accepted version of the manuscripts along with the data should be made available in open access Institutional Repositories of the institutes, universities, communities, scholarly societies or others, immediately upon the acceptance of the manuscript by the journal editor/editorial board. This is required even when the publication is made in an open access Journal.
  4. The peer reviewed publisher’s PDF versions should be deposited immediately upon publication but can be restricted for public access not later than six months from the date of acceptance/publication if there is a requirement of embargo period. In such cases, the metadata will be available immediately in open access and the full-text will automatically be available in open access at the end of the embargo period.
  5. Institutional repositories shall implement a “request button” to allow users to request a copy of the publication from the author/repository administrator during the embargo period.
  6. As per the UGC policy, already some of the Universities are facilitating the deposition of Thesis/Dissertation in Shodhganga – Thesis Repository. This mandate of compulsory deposition of Thesis and Dissertations extends to all the Public and Private Universities approved by the Central and State governments and substantially funded by the Government of India.
  7. All the data and code accompanying research articles should be deposited in the Open Data Portal (data.gov.in) or any alternate suitable subject-based publicly available Open Data Repositories. A maximum six months embargo coinciding with the articles being published can be applied upon appropriate justification. All underlying data should be published with either a CC 0 or CC BY 4.0 license. (Note: sharing of data that is ethically unsound or legally encumbered should not be required to be deposited).
  8. Encouraged to deposit Preprints (Interim Results/Outputs) as soon as possible in the open access Public Repositories under ‘Preprints’ section/community.

Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA): The intrinsic merit of the work, and not the title or brand associated with the journal or the publisher with which an author’s work is published, should be considered in making funding, hiring, and tenure decisions. However, after the adoption of the open access policy, the research administrators/managers/evaluators should consider only the research outputs in the repository for evaluation purposes.

Licensing: All scholarly outputs, including data (unless otherwise protected by intellectual  property rights and/or prior agreements with third parties), resulting from substantial funding by the government shall be published or deposited in open repositories and are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License (CC BY 4.0), or an equivalent open license. This license permits all users of the outputs to copy, redistribute the material in any medium or format and transform and build upon the material for any purpose (including commercial) without further permission but requires appropriate attribution (citation). In the case of sharing data/documents protected by agreements, the authors must provide and allow public access to the metadata of these intellectual works and/or primary data, pledging to provide access to documents and complete primary data upon the expiration of the protection of industrial property rights or the termination of the aforementioned prior agreement.

Funding for Publications: While it is encouraged to submit the final version copy of the accepted publication to the open access repositories and publish in the journals of non-commercial scholarly societies, which have no Article Processing Charges (APC), upon request substantial funding via competitive grants by the Ministries of HRD or S&T may be awarded. For this, journals indexed in Directory of open access Journals or approved by the peer group as per the Think Check and Submit tool and Ministries of HRD or S&T may be given priority.

Support to the Scholarly Societies: The free and open source software ‘Open Journal Systems’ made possible for launching/transforming journals into open access. Still, if needed, funding for transition into open access would be made possible via competitive grants by the Ministry of S&T.

Infrastructure and Sustainability: The national portals for harvesting the open access records from the Institutional Repositories like ScienceCentral.in will be established. Researchers will have unique IDs or ORCID and should have to deposit only once in an interoperable repository. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology  should be extending all support for the establishment of the repositories and research information systems and in the long-term archiving and preservation.

Advocacy and Coordination: All the research and educational establishments will observe and celebrate the open access week and showcase their best practices and success stories about open access activities carried out by them. All those involved in the national educational  research system, including researchers, authors, referees, editors, publishers, librarians, research managers, funders and  citizens should  be  made  aware  of  this policy and about the guidelines, standards, licensing, process etc. related to Open Access. The academic institutes should not only design and develop or make use of the existing self-learning courses related to Open Access but also include it in the course curriculum.

Implementation: A National Steering Committee for the implementation of this Open Access Policy shall be constituted involving eminent scientists, research scholars, Open Access India community representatives and the policy makers of all the ministries concerned. And the committee will monitor the implementation processes and progress. The committee shall also design and develop suitable rewarding mechanisms which may be duly considered in awarding the institutional ranking and assessment. Everyone concerned with science and scholarship will be involved appropriately for the policy refinement and implementation for public good. This policy will be effective from _______________ (date).


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CSIR open access Mandate http://www.csircentral.net/mandate.pdf

Cyprus National open access policy (2016) http://www.dgepcd.gov.cy/dgepcd/dgepcd.nsf/B6E053491803C681C2257C7D004841CA/$file/Cyprus%20OA%20Policy%20to%20Scientific%20Info.pdf

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Open Access Policy Guidelines and  Template  for Funders (2015) http://www.pasteur4oa.eu/sites/pasteur4oa/files/resource/FUNDERS_POLICY%20GUIDELINES%20FINAL.pdf)

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Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (2013) http://www.dst.gov.in/sites/default/files/STI%20Policy%202013-English.pdf

The academic, economic and societal impacts of open access: an evidence-based review. https://f1000research.com/articles/5-632/v3

Cite as

Open Access India. (2017, February 12). National Open Access Policy of India (Draft) Ver. 3. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1002618

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