Open Access News

News from the open access movement


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

OA recommendations for India

India's National Knowledge Commission (NKC) has released the Report of the Working Group on Open Access and Open Educational Resources, undated.  There's internal evidence that it came out before 2007 (it refers to OARE as "scheduled to be launched in January 2007").  But the Development Gateway Foundation blogged it yesterday as "recently published".  Excerpt:

One of the many steps NKC recommends to address these pressing problems is to increase the amount of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Access (OA)....

The importance of open access for fundamental as well as applied research and education cannot be over emphasized....

Majority of the world population cannot access the research findings from the developed nations, where most of the cutting edge research is being conducted, because of the financial constraints. At the same time, research conducted in third world countries representing 80% of the world’s population is largely invisible to the global research community due to financial and governmental restraints. Yet, solving many of the world’s problems like emerging infectious diseases, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, environmental disasters, or climate change cannot be achieved without the participation and incorporation of research conducted in developing countries as well. Open Access will help scientists around the globe to develop collaborations with previously unknown colleagues and avoid repetitive research while tackling major regional problems....

Published books out of copyright protection are a prime target for Open Access to help disseminate vital information contained in these books....Currently, major libraries only exist in urban areas and rural India doesn’t have access to the resources present in these large libraries. Open Access remedies this problem by allowing socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to access all the information if there is a free internet connection....

The working group, after taking into consideration the current status of Open Access in India and worldwide, has the following recommendations to increase Open Access content from India, increase the public awareness and utilization of OA material.

  • On a policy level, all research articles published by Indian authors receiving any government or public funding must be made available under Open Access and should be archived in the standard OA format on his/her website. Further, as a national academic OA portal is developed, these same research articles should be made available through this portal.
  • The government should allocate specific funding to increase the current digitization efforts of books and periodicals which are outside copyright protection....
  • A training program needs to be developed to take the materials available under Open Access to remote towns and villages. One possible mechanism for this is to outfit a vehicle with mobile internet connectivity and a high speed printer and binder....
  • On a systemic level, our nation’s universities and various academic institutions need high bandwidth connections and a national backbone which will provide advanced networking capabilities....

The working group suggests the following model to continue and expand the number of research papers being put in Open Access.

The publishers of any Open Access journal will recover the cost of publishing and maintaining the journal on the web from the individual authors. Thus, the authors have to pay for each research article that they publish in such journals. To make this possible, the authors’ parent institution should pay the publication cost. The institution should get a certain percentage as reimbursement through government grants depending upon the citation index of the journal....

A second model could be that the government establishes a specific fund for Open Access research publications. At the end of each fiscal year, money should be transferred to each OA journal depending upon the number of papers published by Indian authors....