Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Expanding OA for Indian agricultural research

G. Aneeja and Sridhar Gutam, Prospects of Open Access to Indian Agricultural Research: a case study of ICAR, a presentation at the 8th Indian Science Communication Congress (ISCC-2008), December 10-14, 2008, Chennai, India.

Abstract:   Historically, agricultural research and education in India have been in the public domain. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) was established as an apex organization for effective research coordination among institutions and promotion of agricultural research in the country. Funds for public sector research institutes were channeled through the ICAR from the central government. For the dissemination of research output, the research journals publishing in India have been, for long, primarily a public funded activity and done mostly by Government agencies. In case of agricultural research, the journals are being published by ICAR and by respective professional societies. Many of these societies are receiving financial assistance partly from ICAR. Each discipline of agriculture is having at least a professional society and for some disciplines, there are more than one society and each society is publishing a peer reviewed research journal. Though many of these journals are sent for international indexing like CAB Abstracts, full-text database services are very poor. Many of them are not even in the ISI Master Journal list for the impact factor or science citation index analysis. The main objective of author is to have more impact, visibility and readership of his/her article. These journals publish quality articles after stringent peer review process, but the time lag from submission to publication of an article or production of issue is more. There are instances where the articles sent for review were not returned back due to various reasons. The infrastructure for publishing online is also not available for these journals. Recently, a portal had started providing free online access of some journals being published by professional societies. Under National Agriculture Innovation Project (NAIP), ICAR is investing considerable amount for making availability of some non-free online journals along with all open access journals. Now the time has come to think about wider reachability without any restrictions on the lines of Open Access and Open Archiving of Research Publications. This paper discusses about the prospects of open access to ICAR organization. With the availability of open source software resources for transformation of traditional journals into open access journals and establishment of open archive online repositories for archiving research articles which can be harvested by search engines and made available for users thereby leading to availability of agricultural research knowledge to everyone online. This will increase the visibility of research output and eventually lead to earn a good impact factor for these journals. This would further support the target community as well as the extension system directly without any time lapse.