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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 .

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.

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.

The “Balancing Act” of Copyright & Open Access

To understand the interplay between Copyright law and Open Access, it is essential to consider the justifications for Copyright law. Copyright law emerged out of the belief that there is a need to protect the Science and the Arts in order to encourage their progress. In fact, many countries mention this need for copyright in their constitution (such as the US constitution). The idea is that creators need to capitalize off their work, which would motivate them to keep producing work. They would have a ‘copyright’, which is several exclusive rights for the use and distribution of their work. But since art, science and literature enrich society, and therefore should be open to all eventually, copyrights are not permanent. Therefore, copyright law has described to be a balancing act between the rights of the creator and of the public. Issues debated upon within the context of Copyright law, such as the length of a Copyright, are essentially related to how open or closed the work should be.

However, copyright law is ‘one-size-fits-all’, which is supposed to cover everything from the latest blockbuster movie, to a cutting-edge paper on Genetic Engineering. And there lies the problem.

While making money from their creations is great for musicians, artists and writers, it’s altogether different for researchers. Musicians, artists and writers usually depend upon earning from their work for sustenance, but researchers are already funded by their government or institutions. The global GERD/GDP ratio (Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP) is 1.70% in 2013.  This means that USD 1.5 trillion are being spent worldwide on research- money that could be used to support a number of other services such as healthcare, education or pension. This massive funding means that researchers are often well-compensated for their work.

In any case, researchers make no money from sending their articles to journals. In fact, journals don’t pay their authors, peer reviewers or editors either. Then why do authors sell their work to journals? As Peter Suber puts it, “Scholars write journal articles for impact, not for money”. Scholars choose to publish their articles in high-profile journals because they want the most people to read it, and to benefit from it. This model used to work. But today, journals have become so expensive, that not even the most well-funded institutions can afford them. From 1986 to 2006, the average journal cost increased by 180% while the consumer price index rose by 84%. This means that the prices of journals have been growing at more than twice the rate of inflation. This is termed as the “serials crisis” as libraries were unable to manage their volume of subscriptions with the increasing costs of journals. Because of these prices, University libraries are buying half of the academic books that they did in the 1980s, which ultimately limits the number of  people that can access these journals. Very often, authors cannot even share their own work after publishing it in a journal.

Why does copyright law allow this situation to arise? It is because the copyright is transferred to publishers when articles are published. For an author of a novel, since they would negotiate a contract with royalty, this transfer enables them to make money, even though the copyright is transferred. Since researchers do not wish to earn from their articles, they usually transfer it to journals for free, along with the copyright. Being for-profit companies, who have a monopoly over articles since they have the copyright, publishers can be selective about what they publish, charge prohibitively high fees for access, and make the profit that was intended to benefit the author. However, this is changing through the Open Access movement.

Authors were compelled to publish with conventional publishers before the information technology age, but digitization of research has made it almost cost-free to transfer research. It is probably best explained by the Budapest Open Access Initiative “An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good. The old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment. . . . The new technology is the internet”. This is what has fueled the growth of Open Access, a better way for researchers to share their work. With Open Access, the original aim of research to reach the widest possible audience is being met.

The Open Access movement does not thwart copyrights, but allows a person to choose the kind of copyright they want, from a variety of types, and therefore have the freedom to share to differing extents. The growth of this movement has allowed the scientific community to share their work in the manner that they wish to rather than be obliged to transfer a standard-length and standard-protection copyright. So even if copyright law is not the best fit for researchers, it’s being adapted in creative ways all over the world, to make it compatible with the aims of scientific research.

References:

  • “The “Wild West” of Academic Publishing” By Craig Lambert

Harvard Magazine, JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2015. Available online at this link.

  • “Open Access” By Peter Suber

MIT Press 2012. Available online at this link.

This blog was originally posted on the WSIS KC Community Website.

India’s New IPR Policy

The Indian government published the National Intellectual Rights Policy in May 2016. The policy has been formulated keeping in mind that there is a lack of awareness with regard to the obtaining of Intellectual Property Rights in India. The aim of India’s IPR policy is to promote the “knowledge economy”, which the policy defines as “an economy that creates, disseminates and uses knowledge to enhance its growth and development.” This is a goal complementary to Open Access, which aims to effectuate openness in obtaining, publishing and processing research, in order to create a knowledge based society. IPR could be perceived as a restriction on open access because it allows those who invent and innovate to have exclusive rights to the usage of that invention. However, IPR is necessary to encourage creativity and innovation, by allowing inventors to earn from their inventions, but the existing legal regime could be tweaked in order to support Open Access. More information about IPR and the alternatives to the existing IPR regime is here. India’s policy is framed in order to increase the prevalence of IPR. There is even a provision for the creation of special courts for IPR enforcement, which would encourage the usage of IPR.

However, some aspects of the policy could be improved upon to have better social impact. For example, one of the objectives of India’s IPR policy is to “Get value for IPRs through commercialization”. This objective states that value and economic reward for IP holders is obtained is through commercialization of IPR. While commercialized rights do protect investors, it is important to recognize that commercialization sometimes means lack of access to information. For example, say an IP holder sells her rights to a large corporation, then this means that they would not be in charge of their own rights. Therefore, a researcher may not have the legal right to share his work even though he may wish to see his research be utilized by others worldwide. The IPR policy does not prevent this utilization, of course, but a blanket promotion of commercialization may inadvertently discourage open access. To illustrate, to encourage commercialization would effectively discourage the usage of APF or repository system of sharing research. The policy also aims to commercialize even publically funded research, infact suggest that R&D institutions should reward researchers on the basis of IPR creation. This may not meet the policy’s aims, as IPR driven research is not always socially beneficial research. Moreover, publicly-funded research is slowly moving into the field of Open Access all around the world. For example, the EU recently announced that all publically funded research should be OA by 2020. Infact, the principles of this policy might not be directly aligned with the goals of the Indian government as well. Prime Minister Modi has expressed the ideas India ruling the 21st century, calling it the ‘era of knowledge’. Various institutions in India, such as the Department of Science and Technology have applied an open access policy across their departments. In 2012, India released the “National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy”, which tries to improve data management through open access. Such positive steps are benefitting Indian scientists and researchers.

The strengthening of the IPR system in India could be improved by taking into consideration the larger societal requirement of sharing of research. An IPR system is beneficial for the holistic development of knowledge, but it is not enough. Research and innovation is complementary and complex, and greater protection for the innovator is not always the best approach. This is the most apparent in the sciences, since research is often expensive and time consuming. In developing countries, sparse resources would be wasted in situations where two laboratories may produce duplicative research. A system which would implement IPR without compromising Open Access would serve the interests of the nation better, and truly make India a knowledge producer.

This blog was originally posted on the WSIS KC Blog. 

Be kind…share!

Thanks to the Open Access Policy that the India’s department of science and technology (DST) and the department of biotechnology (DBT) introduced last December, open access is at the forefront of research interest and its importance is certainly highly understood to allow  researchers to publish in “high quality, peer-reviewed” journals and at the same time giving free access to information and data to the public.

Certainly a key role to this shift has been that of Open Access India, a community of practice that advocates for and assist with all aspects related to publishing using Open Access mechanisms.

It might seem surprising that this news are welcome with such enthusiasm as it would probably appear obvious to most people that research results should be available to everyone without any legal or technical restrictions especially when that same public has contributed with its taxes to the research behind the resulting knowledge.

Sadly though in many research environments this is not the case- yet! Often knowledge and information is in practice not shared but in fact locked away leaving out a huge percentage of readers who could otherwise benefit from it. The scientific community has been resisting to embrace Open Access mainly because of costs, reputation, and fears of plagiarism.

Cost: it is true that publishing on Open Access Journals involves a cost: however, given that governments and donors push for such approach, it should be the same donors who fund the open access publication; all proposals therefore ought to include that cost and fracture it in.

Reputation: it is no longer valid the argument that Open Access Journals are not good. Many well-kown journals like Elsevier now offer several Open Access options and it is easy to distinguish the predatory journals from the genuine ones that have as real object that of disseminating knowledge.

Plagiarism: by making research results and knowledge accessible and available and thus under everyone’s eye, attempts to copy and misappropriate somebody’s else work will become even more obvious and visible rather than the other way round.

All in all it seems therefore that these fears are not grounded while the benefits are enormous. I copy here a wonderful graphic representation done by the Danny Kingsley & Sarah Brown which nails the issue down perfectly. cc-by_logoSurprisingly the CGIAR has only recently started seriously this approach. With the aim of improving the efficiency, efficacy, and impact of its research, on 2 October 2013 the Open Access and Data Management Policy was approved by the CGIAR Consortium Board to make unrestricted and free online access to and re-use, by any user worldwide, of all information products generated within the CGIAR research.

Open Access is not a fashion or trend; it is a strategy to ensure that research results can become truly international public goods while assisting scientists in building their publication reputation.

So if you love knowledge, be kind, share it! Love OA

Sharing Your Work in Open Access

The scholarly research when read and commented by peers would enable creation of new knowledge. This knowledge when collaboratively sourced, reviewed and applied would develop new technologies for the public good. In this process, the scholars or researchers would get recognition, appreciation and citation by peers and promotions at work place. However, in the life cycle of knowledge creation and development of public good technologies, there is a considerable time lag and has issues about accessibility. Though the scholarly research is available, it is not accessible to everyone. Nevertheless, with the advent of new web 2.0 technologies, and licensing terms, all the researchers can now be able to sharing their scholarly research among peers globally in real-time and pave way for building upon their work for knowledge creation and technology development. Traditionally, the research work is first read at the scholarly conferences and is made available as conference proceedings and then the outcomes are published in the peer-reviewed journals. In this process, the work is evaluated by the peer review process for its credibility and upon publication as an article in a journal; the work gets sanctity and endorsement. This module shall discuss about the ways and means of sharing the scholarly research globally via the World Wide Web and answer a few questions viz., Where to publish? How to choose a suitable journal? What is the journal publication process? In addition, how to share the published work?

Click here to download the resource book.

Apply to Attend OpenCon 2014

OpenConApply to Attend OpenCon 2014

OpenCon 2014 is the student and early career researcher conference on Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data and will be held on November 15-17, 2014 in Washington, DC. It is organized by the Right to Research Coalition, SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), and an Organizing Committee of students and early career researchers from around the world.

Submit the form <http://www.opencon2014.org/apply to apply to attend OpenCon 2014. Applications will remain open until August 25th at 23:59 PDT. Acceptance decisions are made by our Organizing Committee of students and early career researchers, and accepted applicants will be notified by September 12th.

Why is there an application process for OpenCon 2014? Who is eligible to apply to attend OpenCon? Have other questions about OpenCon? View participant FAQ <http://www.opencon2014.org/apply/faq>.

Source: http://www.opencon2014.org/

Open Access in Happening!!!!

JAHThe Journal of Applied Horticulture (JAH) an official publication of the Society for the Advancement of Horticulture based at Lucknow in India had made open some of its articles in Open Access on its website.

The JAH had started its publication in 1999 and is making available some of the articles in Open Access from 2000 onwards. This move is a welcome sign in the Open Access movement in the India’s National Agricultural Research System (NARS). We can hope to see lot happening in the area of Open Access in NARS. The credit for this happening should go to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) which recently had adopted a most progressive Open Access policy.

The ICAR had also started an online portal for hosting Open Access Journal using Open Journal Systems for the NARS and is hosting about 19 publications.

The 2013 EPT Award for Individuals in Developing Countries Working for Open Access

120x240Below is the press release announcing the 3rd Annual Award for individuals in the developing world who have made a significant contribution to Open Access. The application form for nominations follows the announcement. The EPT hopes to receive a similarly large number of representations as were received for the award in its first two years.

THE 2013 EPT AWARD FOR INDIVIDUALS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES WORKING FOR OA

Open Access Week arrives again this October, and is a time to celebrate all that has been achieved in the previous twelve months. The Electronic Publishing Trust is a long-standing advocate of OA and the difference it can make. As our contribution to this year’s OA Week, we are offering our third annual international award to recognise the impact that individuals can make. The huge interest in and success of the first two awards makes it clear that such international recognition acknowledges the very real efforts being made by many individuals throughout the world, and accelerates the development of models for achieving the open and free transfer of essential information for the progress of research.

ANNOUNCEMENT : The Electronic Publishing Trust* is pleased to announce that it is offering its third annual award for individuals in developing and transition countries** who have made significant advances to the cause of open access and the free exchange of research findings. Information on previous winners can be found on our website at http://epublishingtrust.net/

Nominations are sought for the award. Individuals may be nominated by themselves or others or by organisations, sending a statement using the attached form to the chair of the EPT Board, (d.law@strath.ac.uk)outlining the achievements of the individual.

Nominations should be received by 30th November 2013. Selection of a winner will be made by a panel of EPT Board Members which will be chaired by Dr Patrick Corran, and will include Leslie Chan, Subbiah Arunachalam, Barbara Kirsop, co-founder of the charity, and Judy Ugonna.

The result will be announced in January 2014 and it is intended that a presentation will be made at a location convenient to the winner. The award recipient will be publicly recognised through the presentation of a certificate and an engraved award. It is also hoped to have a “side” eventat future OA meetings to celebrate the work of the winner.

EPT Award submission form for nominations. The EPT Award is for individuals who have made an impact on the progress of open access to research findings.2. Nominations may be made by individuals or organisations.3. Please supply the following information:Name of nominee:Affiliation of nominee:Position or role of nominee:Contact address and email of nominee:Contact address and email of proposer:

Please provide a brief statement to describe the ACTIVITIES of the nominee in support of Open Access (no more than 250 words):

Please describe the RESULTS  AND SIGNIFICANCE of these activities (no more than 500 words): Please send your proposal by 30/11/2013 to: EPT Chair, Derek Law, atd.law@strath.ac.uk

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