Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Discussion of OA at India's NIC

Sukhdev Singh has written a report on a discussion of OA at a training program on Biomedical Information Retrieval hosted by India's National Informatics Centre (NIC) on January 15-17, 2008.  Excerpt:

...Fourteen participants consisting of medical professionals and medical librarians attended the training course.

This training included a talk on Open Access by Mr. Sukhdev Singh of NIC. After the talk a special group discussion was organised to gauge the understanding, opinion and attitude of the participants towards Open Access....The theme of the discussion was "Open Access and its impact on Biomedical Research" with sub-themes (i) What is Open Access? (ii) Why it is needed? and (iii) How does it impact the biomedical research? ...

Why Open Access is needed?  [from Group A]

There are number of reasons why open access is needed. Journal subscriptions have gone beyond the capacity of libraries' affordability. Research information is not freely available to scientific community. It is research community, which is producing and ultimately consuming the scholarly information. Research is done by the scientists, for the scientists but not available to scientists. Thus the whole purpose of research is defeated. The benefits ­ financial and otherwise - from the research are going to publishers and not to the scientific community. Moreover open access saves time required for dissemination of research results. After all it is ultimately the public money that is put into the research for ultimate public benefit. In the conventional fee-based model not even a single player from scientific community is benefited. Authors lose exposure from institutions, which does not subscribe to the journal in which their articles are published. They are forced to transfer their copyrights in favor of publishers. Researchers do not have access to all the research results published by their peers. It is very expensive to access work done by their peers and hence raises the costs of the research projects. Funding agencies are spending money for research, however the results are not publicly available....

Why it is needed?  [from Group B]

To do away with the monopoly of commercial publishers over biomedical research results and literature. The larger objective is to benefit the human society at large. Easy access to research already done would give rise to new research projects initiated and completed with shorter time frames. The knowledge thus generated could be applied for the welfare of the human society. Duplication of research could be avoided. Research already done could be easily accessible and resources could be better utilized for unexplored areas....

Comments of the moderator:

Mr. Sukhdev Singh acting as the moderator commented that participants have fairly understood the concept of open access. Open Access is a mode of dissemination of information. The production and quality control of information is either done in the conventional publishing model (in case post print repositories) or exactly the same route of peer-review is followed (in case of Open Accession Publishing). Some institutional repositories may allow pre-prints but this does not means authors or their institutions would allow sub-standard information in the repository. Authors do understand that putting sub-standard publications online would only harm their own reputation.