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Preprints as part of research assessment in India: An online workshop

Despite being an important open science tool that facilitates wide and free dissemination of research, preprints are seldom considered as part of India’s research assessment frameworks. In collaboration with Open Access India and IndiaBioscience, ASAPbio is hosting a workshop for Indian researchers to discuss challenges associated with current assessment frameworks and how preprints can be integrated with research assessment in India.  In order to support greater recognition of preprints in India, we invite Indian researchers to attend our workshop on June 7 to learn more about preprints and provide input on our next steps.

The workshop is free, but registration is required: asapbio.org/research-assessment-and-preprints-in-india

The webinar will aim to:

  • Analyze current assessment frameworks in India and their challenges
  • Analyze how preprints can be used to enhance research assessment frameworks
  • Identify any implementation challenges, as well as opportunities, and develop solutions

In the workshop, Satyajit Mayor from NCBS will introduce the process of assessment for research in India. Iratxe Puebla from ASAPbio will discuss ways preprints are being used in different settings to assess research.

In the discussion that follows these presentations, attendees will discuss the challenges posed by current assessment frameworks for researchers and early career researchers, as well as the opportunities offered by preprints as part of research assessment, and the steps that Indian researchers can take to drive change in assessment framework policies at their institutions and organizations. Participants will break up into groups to discuss the topic in a highly interactive manner.

Please register for the workshop here and also contribute preprint manuscripts to IndiaRxiv, preprints reposiotry server for India .

Open Access India Nominated for WSIS Prizes 2022

The Open Access India project is nominated for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prizes 2022. According to the email communication recevied, out of 1,000 submitted projects, 360 (twenty in each of the eighteen WSIS Action Line Categories) were nominated for WSIS Prizes 2022. And the Open Access India is nominated under the action line category, C3. Access to information and knowledge. The online voting is open now and closes by 31 March 2022.

All the Open Science and Open Access advocates and others are kindly requested to cast their vote for Open Access India at www.wsis.org/prizes. It is also requested to share the same aming their networks and communities.

It is to be noted that only the registered participants can vote therefore, all are requested to register here at the link https://www.itu.int/net4/wsis/stocktaking/Account/Register.

The Open Access India community is hopeful that this nomination shall help in creating more awareness among the researchers about Open Access and Open Science and Access to Knowledge and shall emerge as Winners of the WSIS Prizes 2022.

To know more about WSIS and how ICTs can contribute to SDGs, please visit WSIS Forum 2022.

AmeliCA for Indian Scholarly Societies to Open Scholarship

In India, most scholarly societies only publish their journals in print. If the journals are online, they still use the printer-set portable document formats because they believe that the only trustworthy and legitimate copies are those that are printed. In many cases, the scholarly societies post their entire journals online on their websites. The new publishing technologies do not seem to entice societies to devote much of their time to them. It seems they are content with the status quo. A dedicated staff and funding are needed to design layouts, publish in multiple formats, share meta-data, and generate metrics for articles. Society membership fees are often the main source of funds for these societies, and making their journals freely available online may undermine their sustainability. Since society cannot eliminate printing altogether, they must spend thousands of rupees on the design and layout of the manuscripts, as well as the printing.

Open access is a challenge for scholarly societies! They are still unsure as to the benefits open access can offer when libraries subscribe to their journals and make them available to readers. There are several Indian journals published by international publishers. The societies want to increase the reputation of the journals by utilising the publisher’s technology and reaching a wider audience.

The scientific community and research assessment boards place a great deal of importance on where articles are published and what the journal’s impact factor is. Scholarly societies aim to align their journals with international brands in order to acquire ‘impact factors’ and revenue via international subscriptions, as well as to attract manuscripts from all over the world. Academics seem to be only concerned with how many publications they have in so-called international journals. Additionally, the research managers and advisors are not willing to impose a rule that hinders the freedom and choice of journals to publish in.

International publishers are able to bring the latest technologies to publish and disseminate literature with their funding. It is not common for Indian journals to use Open Journal Systems (OJS). There is, however, an increased usage of OJS where editors are realising the ease of the software and the benefits it offers.

Along with OJS, one option available for scholarly societies in countries like India to compete with international publishing is Amelica – Open Knowledge for Latin America and the Global South, which is an infrastructure for the scholarly publishing ecosystem and brands in terms of technology. Using this infrastructure, one can produce manuscripts in native XML formats and make them available for any platform in any electronic format which will give readers a better reading experience.

Research managers when sensitised to use alternative metrics, then they appreciate the publication patterns through the article-level and author-level metrics. AmeliCA XML can be used to create digital publishing formats such as epubs, pdfs, HTML, and so on, and the meta-data can be harvested by the interoperable harvesters to develop global repositories online. Since all the works are available online perpetually, authors can showcase their work and invite collaborations from anywhere in the world.

The editors and editorial should be trained on the use of free and open technologies like AmeliCA XML and OJS and the authors and research managers need to be educated about open scholarship and open metrics. Already, the Society of Promotion of Horticulture is experimenting with AmeliCA. Joining AmeliCA infrastructure will definitely help the Indian researchers and the people in having a free-of-cost publication and access as the advisors work on implementing a system which will offer less or no cost for publishing and for accessing the published literature. Major advantages to open scholarship are having access to digital publishing software, indexing in the repository of the global south to increase readership, and working with scholars and publishers who share the same vision of creating the world’s open scholarship ecosystem.

Cite this article as: Sridhar Gutam, "AmeliCA for Indian Scholarly Societies to Open Scholarship," in Open Access India, March 5, 2022, https://openaccessindia.org/amelica-for-indian-scholarly-societies-to-open-scholarship/, accessed on October 5, 2022.

IndiaRxiv Relaunched


IndiaRxiv Relaunched

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 24th February 2022

IndiaRxiv Relaunched

Preprints Repository Server for India is Relaunched using Open Preprints Systems

Bengaluru, Karnataka: During the Foundation Day celebrations of the Society for Promotion of Horticulture (SPH), IndiaRxiv (India Archive), preprints repository server for India was relaunched on the SPH’s webserver using Public Knowledge Project’s free & open source software, Open Preprints Systems. Previously, the Centre for Open Science was hosting the repository using Open Science Framework. Preprints are versions of articles that have not yet been submitted to a journal for peer review.

Now, Indian researchers can archive and distribute their first drafts of articles to receive early feedback from peers and improve them before submitting them to journals,” says Dr. B. N. S. Murthy, Director, ICAR-IIHR and President, SPH after the re-launch of the repository. “Scientists can share preprints immediately and need not wait too long to publish.”

Features and benefits of IndiaRxiv include.

  • One-stop portal for Indian researchers’ early works.
  • Preprint server allow immediate sharing of research results and can provide quick feedback to help in the revision and preparation of a manuscript.
  • A community of practice, Open Access India, manages the India Archive preprint repository.

IndiaRxiv has now a sustainable home” says, Dr. Sridhar Gutam, Convenor, Open Access India while thanking the host, SPH.

The India Archive will be accepting the submissions at https://indiarxiv.org/. More information on IndiaRxiv is available at https://indiarxiv.in/

About Society for Promotion of Horticulture: The Society for Promotion of Horticulture (SPH) is hosted at the ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (ICAR-IIHR), Bengaluru. The society is publishing Journal of Horticultural Sciences since June 2006 whose articles are all open access and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. The journal does not charge for publication of articles and recently received the DOAJ Seal for demonstrating best practices in open access publishing. It is now ranked within the top ten percent of journals included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Visit https://sph.iihr.res.in/ for more information.

About Open Access India: The Open Access India community of practice was initiated as a Facebook group on 8th July 2011. Community members work on the Advocacy and Development of community e-infrastructure, capacity building, and framework for policies related to Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education. Find out more at https://openaccessindia.org/.

Sridhar Gutam
ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research | Open Access India
sridhar.gutam@icar.gov.in | sridhar@openaccessindia.org

Source: IndiaRxiv Relaunched

Honorable mention for Open Access India in the 2022 Open Scholarship Awards

The Canadian Social Knowledge Institute and its partners established the Open Scholarship Awards (2022) to honor the efforts of various stakeholders to foster open scholarship.

Open Access India received an honorable mention as part of the ‘Open Scholarship Awards (2022)‘. ‘The Indian Community Cookbook Project‘ is another Indian project that won an award under the ‘Emerging Open Scholarship Awards (2022)’. 

The Canadian Social Knowledge Institute (C-SKI) is actively involved in issues related to open social scholarship. In its award announcement post, the C-SKI states, “Open scholarship encompasses open access, open data, open education, and other related movements to make scholarly work more efficient, more accessible, and more accessible to academics and nonacademics alike.”. 

As a community of practice for an open scholarship, Open Access India has been engaged in several crowdsourcing projects in India and is now re-launching IndiaRxiv, a preprint repository for India.

Read more about awards at https://etcl.uvic.ca/2022/01/25/2022-open-scholarship-awards/

Cite this article as: Sridhar Gutam, "Honorable mention for Open Access India in the 2022 Open Scholarship Awards," in Open Access India, January 26, 2022, https://openaccessindia.org/honorable-mention-for-open-access-india-in-the-2022-open-scholarship-awards/, accessed on October 5, 2022.

India’s plan to pay journal subscription fees for all its citizen may end up making science harder to access

India’s plan indicates that commercial publishers are winning over the application of the open access system to make scholarly literature available for everyone. Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Author provided

Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Institut Teknologi Bandung; Juneman Abraham, Himpunan Psikologi Indonesia; Rizqy Amelia Zein, Universitas Airlangga, and Sridhar Gutam, Indian Council of Agricultural Research

India, the world’s second-most populous country, is planning to make scholarly literature available for everyone under its latest science, technology and innovation policy.

The policy will push for the whole country to have a nationwide subscription to replace existing subscriptions paid by different research and education institutions to access research journals. The Indian government is in talks with the world’s top scientific publications, including one of the biggest scholarly publishers, Elsevier, to create the system.

If it works, India will become the largest country to give access to paywalled journal articles to more than 1.3 billion of its citizens.

Many scientists have responded positively to the plan. A report by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade argues that the agreement would help identify unnecessary spending due to duplicate subscription.

India spends 15 billion rupees or equivalent to US$200 million a year to access research journals, paid by different research and education institutions. That’s almost equal to France’s funding for India’s COVID-19 response.

Despite the economic benefits from India’s plan, some scientists and academics are concerned it may go against the spirit of making science and knowledge available for everyone under an open access mechanism.

The principles of open science

American sociologist Robert K. Merton argues all modern scientists should share ownership of their knowledge and research. Putting science behind paywalls, making it exclusive, is the opposite of this norm.

This principle underpins the open science movement, which aims to make all scientific research accessible to everyone.

Open access publication systems, under which research journals are distributed for free after their writers pay the publication fees, works under the spirit of open science.

Following this logic, some countries believe paying distribution fees, also known as article processing charges (APC), to publishers will settle the exclusivity problem.

However, open science is based on Merton’s values, which treat science as public goods and not commercial entities.

Therefore India’s plan to purchase access to paywalled knowledge from commercial entities may go against the spirit of modern science.

Making scientific papers accessible by spending public money to pay unreasonable article processing charges should be avoided because the money will go straight to the publishing company’s profits, without substantial added value for the public or the scientific community (aside from peer-review comments from other fellow academics).

The debate between making scholarly journals available for everyone by paying commercial publishers to open up their paywalls or adopting open science principles are as ancient as the tale of David and Goliath. Scientists have long battled the commercial publishing giants.

At this stage, commercial publishers are winning.

The latest deal between Germany and international scientific publishing company Nature is another example.

This agreement will allow authors at institutions across Germany to publish an estimated 400 open-access papers annually in Nature journals. However, it may come with a high price of 9,500 euro or around US$11,200 per article (paid by the German researchers or their institutions), making it the highest price ever paid for an open-access article.

Both India and Germany’s cases are two clear examples of deliberate ignorance pursuing short term narrow options of prestigious conformity to the oligopoly of commercial publishers over value to society.

Human values in open science. Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Author provided

These deals will also create huge barriers for developing countries with limited financial budgets.

Southeast Asia’s most populous country, Indonesia, for example, needed to spend almost US$1 million for subscription fees in 2018. This could pay the tuition fees for hundreds of students.

It is high time countries with limited financial capabilities, like India and Indonesia, fought for the distribution of science as public goods to ensure that everyone gets equal access to knowledge.

We, open science activists in India and Indonesia, have offered a clear national road map for each country that we hope each government adopts to ensure the distribution of knowledge for all.

Other critics

The subscription payments also do not resolve copyright issues that emerge once the paywalled scientific materials are made open to the public. Publishers still holding the copyright, which they secure by requesting authors sign a copyright transfer agreement after their manuscript is accepted. After this, researchers lose their rights over their work. It’s something many aren’t fully aware of or take for granted.

Under the open-access system, however, researchers retain copyright of their published manuscripts, even though they are widely accessible.

The nationwide subscription may also worsen inequalities between scholars from developing and developed countries when it comes to accessing scientific materials and publishing research results. Under the agreement, any Indian scientist interested in publishing his or her research via an open access mechanism is still required to ask for country funding to pay the article processing charges.

In the end, we are only customers of the publishing industry. Governments, on behalf of us, will spend public money, and commercial publishers will be the ones who make the biggest profit.

We make no progress toward making knowledge available for everyone if governments, as the most important stakeholder, don’t have faith in Merton’s scientific ethos by choosing to pay for access to scholarly literature.

Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Lecturer at Department of Geology, Institut Teknologi Bandung; Juneman Abraham, Head of Research and Publication, Himpunan Psikologi Indonesia; Rizqy Amelia Zein, Social and Personality Psychology Lecturer, Universitas Airlangga, and Sridhar Gutam, Senior Scientist (Plant Physiology), Indian Council of Agricultural Research

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Preprint service for agricultural research relaunched as agriRxiv

The AgriXiv previously on hosted with the Centre for Open Science using its Open Science Framework is now relaunched as agriRxiv – (pronounced agri-archive).

The new and enhanced platform, is now hosted and managed by CABI a not-for-profit intergovernmental organization focusing primarily on the agricultural knowledge creation, creation and dissemination on behalf of the Open Access India/AgriXiv community. With the new host, besides getting the benefit and support on technical and content management, the agriRxiv now gets greater global reach and most importantly the sustainable home, CABI.

The new website is designed with simplicity which helps the researchers and students to submit as well as accessing the preprints across agriculture and allied sciences. Preprints are the first drafts of research articles that authors share with the peer and now with the wider community for feedback before submitting their final version to a journal of their choice. Sharing preprints is not uncommon and through preprints archive search on the COS/OSF, once can search 2,273,858 deposits as of June 03, 2020.

We’re excited to help agriRxiv take its next big step in providing the global agricultural research community with a high quality and sustainable preprint service” says, Dr Andrew Robinson, Managing Director, Publishing, CABI.

He adds, “it’s part of our commitment to ‘open science’ in agriculture and complements our work with governments and research funders to develop open and FAIR data-sharing policies and practices. We also have a pilot Research Collaboration Portal, in development at the moment to help scientist’s network, collaborate and share, in real-time, their data and results about managing the devastating crop pest, Fall Armyworm”.

All of the deposited preprints are made available under a suitable creative commons license by the authors while retaining the copyright. When most funders, publishers and journals now see preprints as a complement to the existing channels for sharing research, the agricultural researchers, especially from the global south can ensure that their research gets wider reach research and can get their work recognized globally.

It is envisaged that the leading academic societies, research institutions and funders, and the editors of agricultural journals will align their policies and promote sharing of preprints. The leading three science academies viz., Indian National Science Academy, Indian Academy of Sciences, The National Academy of Sciences, India recommends sharing of preprints in through ‘Suggestions for a National Framework for Publication of and Access to Literature in Science and Technology in India’. The Open Access India community is also managing the IndiaRxiv for the Indian researchers.

To get involved on the advisory board, or as an affiliate – to help in screening some submissions – please get in touch with agriRxiv/CABI. For more information on agriRxiv, visit www.agrirxiv.org and or follow @agriRxiv on social media.

Edited from the original source: https://www.cabi.org/news-article/cabi-launches-new-agrirxiv-the-dedicated-agricultural-preprint-service-for-agricultural-research/

Cite this article as: Sridhar Gutam, "Preprint service for agricultural research relaunched as agriRxiv," in Open Access India, June 3, 2020, https://openaccessindia.org/preprint-service-for-agricultural-research-relaunched-as-agrirxiv/, accessed on October 5, 2022.

Preprints South Asian Survey 2020

Call all the researchers, scientists and academic faculty, librarians from South Asian countries are invited to participate in ‘Preprints: South Asian Survey 2020‘.

The aim of the survey is to know the awareness, knowledge and perception on preprints in South Asia. Please click the link here to participate in the survey which may take 10-15 minutes.

In order to reach the wider population, the respondents are requested to share the short link https://bitly.com/preprints2020  with their colleagues and friends who may be interested to respond to the survey.

For any questions, you may contact:

Cite this article as: Sridhar Gutam, "Preprints South Asian Survey 2020," in Open Access India, April 15, 2020, https://openaccessindia.org/preprints-south-asian-survey-2020/, accessed on October 5, 2022.

India’s first Preprints Service Launched

To provide a platform for the early career researchers to showcase their research outputs and to seek collaborations for improving upon the works, the Open Access India with the support of the Centre for Open Science had launched IndiaRxiv, India’s first preprints repository.

The IndiaRxiv, read as India Archive is primarily preprints repository in which the first draft versions made by the authors before submitting to the journals for publication can be shared which ensures the date stamping their work for making grant applications or for applying for any positions. This is a remarkable initiative by the community of the open access advocates in India when on the eve of the India’s 73rd Independence Day. The Niti Aayog, the policy think tank of the Government of India envisages that by 2022 when the India will be at completing its 75 years of Independence, five of the scientific research institutions in India should be amongst the top 100 in the world.

This single open platform by 2022 will be providing free (as freedom) access to all publicly-funded research outputs (publications) from India and from Indian scholars abroad. The Open Access India community believes that when research produced by the research institutes is made freely available, it will reach a wider audience having a larger impact and increase in collaborations. The community had partnered with the Centre for Open Science and had launched AgriXiv, first preprints service for agriculture and allied sciences.

In India, the academic body, the Indian National Science Academy supports the preprints platforms and has the opinion that the preprints should be evaluated on par with the peer reviewed publications in the recruitment of postdocs or faculty and also for funding grants.

IndiaRxiv is a noble initiative in maturing open access research and learning ecosystem and it will be fully indexed in the National Digital Library of India to reach every corner of the world within a single click.” – Partha Pratim Das, Joint Principal Investigator, National Digital Library of India Project and Professor, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, IIT Kharagpur

IndiaRxiv is managed by a steering committee comprising of Indian researchers and scientists from various institutes and universities in the country and abroad. It has an advisory board comprising of internationally renowned people who are advocates and supporters of Open Science and Open Access. The community is hopeful that the journal publishers in India and the funding agencies in India will amend their policies to allow the authors to submit preprints to IndiaRxiv which accepts all scholarly works in all the Indian languages. It has a policy to moderate all the submissions and the same will be made available on the license terms of CC-BY-NC-SA or CC-BY-Attribution 4.0 International. Starting from 15th August 2019, the preprints service will be open to all researchers and scholars of India and others who are working on issues related to India. For more information, http://indiarxiv.in/ may be visited.

Cite this article as: Sridhar Gutam, "India’s first Preprints Service Launched," in Open Access India, August 19, 2019, https://openaccessindia.org/indias-first-preprints-service-launched/, accessed on October 5, 2022.

Promote Good practices in publication and authorship by its inclusion in course curriculum – smaitiblog

Promote Good practices in publication and authorship by its inclusion in course curriculum

“Plagiarism”, “undue authorship in publications”, “data manipulations” etc are capturing more and more space in science in the recent yeas. Like a corruption it has also established its deep root in the science society worldwide. As a result, very basic essence of truth seeking through science is becoming a matter of the past. More and more people are falling prey of this disease. Recently, an eye opening paper has been published in Nature (2018) entitled “Thousands of scientists publish a paper every five days”.  (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06185-8).  All though we often talk about “Good Practices” to be followed in our life but ironically very basic of good practices are slipping down in our all activities. And it is also fast vanishing form our science and publications.

To establish a good practices in publications, perhaps the most widely established requirements for authorship are the “Vancouver criteria”  established by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors in 1988. These specify that authors must do all of four things to qualify: (1) play a part in designing or conducting experiments or processing results; (2) help to write or revise the manuscript; (3) approve the published version; and (4) take responsibility for the article’s contents.

When I discussed about this with the young researchers, I am utterly shocked to know that this was not known to them because either there is no such curriculum in their formal learning process or there was any example set by their peers.

I, therefore, urge before the UGC and also all higher learning institutions to introduce a course curriculum for what is good practices in science starting from Good practices for learning; Good practices for experimental design; Good practices for laboratory maintenance; Good practices for data analysis; Good practices for publication and authorship, etc. Education system must give importance to these learnings to avoid manipulations in science.

I also urge to various scientific societies to take this matter seriously and promote and educate their members about what is right in science.


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