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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.