Abstract: In developing countries like India, taxpayers’ money is utilized for research and development. The researchers conduct their research using public money and publish their research papers in commercial journals. Firstly, the researcher uses Government funds for research. Secondly, government funds are also spent on subscribing to high-cost journals. Also, many Indian academic institutions can not subscribe to reputed commercial journals due to a lack of funds. In other words, research output generated using public money is not accessible to all. OA journals can solve this problem smoothly. In this study, researchers analyze the trends in Open Access publications and Closed access publications by India’s top research institutes, IITs. Researchers found that IIT Hyderabad (26%) published the highest number of open-access publications. Old established IITs’ open-access publication figures are lower than newly set-up IITs. However, there is an increase in Open Access publications by IITs over the last decade.
“In terms of open access to knowledge, India could have been the Vishwa Guru — the world’s teacher.
As early as 2000, India was making moves to allow taxpayer-funded research to be freely available for anyone in the world to read, share and distribute. But India has squandered that advantage.
Fast forward to 2022, and much of India’s research is still locked up behind the paywalls of corporate academic publishers, while the global science community increasingly questions why taxpayer-funded research should not be available for everyone to read….”
“To build this future for our society, we need to adopt the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto to inverse the information asymmetry between citizens and Big Tech-Big Government. This can only happen if we build alternative networks of information infrastructures that support these ideas. These information networks can’t be built overnight, but we need to strive towards them. Sci-Hub and LibGen are some examples of these information infrastructures and not only do we need to support them, we need to build more of them.”
“Only about 35% of India’s scientific research publications is open–access, even though a large chunk of the research itself is public-funded, an analysis of research data by a team at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has found. It has also found that less than a third of Indian research papers have women as lead authors….
The analysis has produced interesting findings. For instance, researchers found that a sizable percent of research is not available as open access despite being funded by the government. According to its records, 35.13% of India’s research was open-access in 2019; out of the 20 countries considered, India was ahead of only China (34.45%) and Iran (32.49%)….”
“Undoubtedly, 2022 has been a year of growth for open access (OA). Funder policies and deadlines have come into play and, as a result of the pandemic, the impact and benefits of open research and open access are now better understood by people beyond academia.
Overall, two themes featured strongly – the need for OA take up to become more global and the importance for authors to remain able to publish in their journal of choice. Taken together these themes were instrumental to enabling OA growth in 2022….
And when we look at the policy developments that have taken place this year with a number of countries reviewing their approach to OA and considering policy recommendations to speed up the transition, this move beyond Europe is likely to continue:
US- The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)) has updated the US policy guidance to make the results of taxpayer-supported research immediately available to the American public at no cost
Australia – Australian funding agency, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), has introduced the requirement that scholarly publications arising from the research it funds be made freely available and accessible
India – the Ministry of Education has announced the deadline for the launch of the “One Nation, One Subscription” (ONOS) policy for scientific research papers and academic journals from April 2023 to ensure countrywide access for researchers and the broader public.
Come 2023, we are likely to see even greater take up by authors of OA. Moreover publishers, such as Springer Nature, continue to be ready to work with funders and others to ensure that these policies drive the OA transition in a sustainable way while ensuring the needs of the researchers continue to be met. For a long time we have had the ‘supply’ (the ability to publish OA), what we have been waiting for is the ‘demand’ (authors wanting to publish OA)….”
“The government conceived of ONOS in 2020 to lower this bill, but experts remain sceptical. There are three main concerns — first, while the government will pay a fixed sum to journals, this sum could still be large; secondly which journals will be included in the negotiations and why? (a ‘recommended list’ faced some resistance in 2020); and finally as India has a large population of researchers with diverse interests, journals may not agree on a common price….”
“But it’s worth noting several recent developments that are nudging the scholarly communication ecosystem in the opposite direction and therefore complicate that future outlook….
For example, a deal struck in November between Elsevier and 44 universities in Texas (operating as the Texas Library Coalition for United Action, or TLCUA) provides for discounted and expanded access to Elsevier content across the consortium – a group that represents more than 660,000 students and 44,000 faculty. This is, importantly, a toll-access arrangement, not an OA arrangement – though it’s also worth noting that its terms include a rights reversion to authors whereby, after an initial copyright transfer from authors to the publisher at the time of publication, “rights (will) go back to authors after a period of time that will be collaboratively determined with Elsevier.” This will make it possible for authors to distribute their work on an OA basis after that period, but there doesn’t seem to be any requirement that they do so – and, of course, not everyone will agree that delayed rights reversion constitutes genuinely “open” access in any case. In other words, this large and important agreement does not move the scholarly communication ecosystem in the direction of a universal OA transition. Instead, what it represents is a slightly altered version of the much-maligned Big Deal model, at a state-wide scale and with a rights-reversion component. (There will be much more discussion of the TLCUA agreement to come in The Scholarly Kitchen.)…
Another, more recent announcement from India describes a deal currently in the works that – if realized – will create another roadblock (or at least a speed bump) on the road to universal OA. India’s national ONOS (“One Nation One Subscription”) program, which has been in the works since 2017 and will reportedly be implemented in April of this year, would be a multi-publisher, national-level Big Deal agreement, the purpose of which is to contain costs while making content available to all Indian institutions of higher education. While details are still a bit hard to come by, India’s Ministry of Education has reportedly issued a statement saying that the government “is considering 70 publishers’ resources under the first phase,” and there are also reports that the government’s Higher Education Secretary has asked university officials to coordinate this year’s subscription renewals with the work of the ONOS team. (I’ve been unable to locate any of these government statements themselves online, including at the website of India’s Ministry of Education; all of the information I’ve provided here is from third-party news sites. If any readers can provide links to government memos or press releases, please do so in the comments.)…”
“India’s “One Nation One Subscription” (ONOS) policy has garnered plenty of attention.
India’s ONOS model, first called for in 2017 by the Indian Academy of Science and drafted into government policy three years later, calls for a centrally negotiated subscription deal with publishers, making scholarly articles free to read for all researchers, eliminating the need for individual and institutional subscriptions. The collective bargaining power of the entire nation is expected to allow greater value for money….
Its success depends on well-negotiated deals between government and publishing houses. The government would need a team of seasoned negotiators to ensure a good outcome. …
Many institutions worldwide have been pushing towards a “transformative agreements”, as the publishers call them, gradually moving from individual subscriptions to nation-wide free-to-read arrangements. These agreements enable all of society to have free access to scientific literature.
The catch is such agreements put in place an up-front fee to scientists who want to publish their research findings. It shifts the burden of fees from readers to authors, which in turn is passed on to funding bodies or the taxpayer. The fee to publish for the most reputed journals are often exorbitant and, despite occasional fee waivers, researchers from the Global South many times cannot afford the “pay-to-publish” models.
The ONOS policy serves as a formidable alternative to transformative agreements for the Global South. This model will enable countries to stand on stronger negotiating positions through purchase of greater bulk of content and provide people with full access to a large number of journal titles. Although it is not yet clear whether scientists will need to pay up-front fees to publish, a mature ONOS policy is also expected to support access to journals in the Global South, especially for young researchers, by having separate provision for funding free-to-read publications or a one-time licensing agreement to journals with up-front publishing fees. Experts on ONOS policy have recommended a similar plan to promote and support accessibility for India….”
“In another step towards digitalization of the judiciary, the Supreme Court will launch on Monday a project which will provide free access to official law reports of its verdicts to law students, lawyers and the general public.
The Electronic Supreme Court Reports (e-SCR) project will be unveiled on the direction of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud as an initiative to provide the digital version of the court’s judgments in the manner as they are reported in the official law report – ‘Supreme Court Reports’.
A team comprising officials of Judges’ Library and Editorial Section worked tirelessly and within a short span of 15 days, almost 34,013 judgments were split to create a database suitable for meeting the requirements of the search engine developed by the Supreme Court with the NIC, Pune….”
In terms of open access to knowledge, India could have been the Vishwa Guru — the world’s teacher. As early as 2000 India was making moves to allow taxpayer-funded research to be freely available for anyone in the world to read, share and distribute. But India has squandered that advantage.
Fast forward to 2022, and much of India’s research is still locked up behind the paywalls of corporate academic publishers while the global science community increasingly questions why taxpayer-funded research should not be available for everyone to read.
The Indian government initiated a new science, technology and innovation policy in January 2020. The draft policy, released in December 2020, enshrined open science in chapter one. Its three key features were to set up an Indian Science and Technology Archive of Research (INDSTA), a dedicated portal to provide access to the findings of all publicly funded research; to place the full text of scientific papers immediately upon acceptance into a journal in a publicly available repository or INDSTA; and to make all data from publicly funded research available to everyone.
But the policy is not yet in place. The government is instead focusing on a ‘One Nation One Subscription’ project. This would see the government pay academic publishers an eye watering sum to allow Indian scientists to publish in corporate journals and for all Indians to read them. Apart from benefiting the publishers more than science and scientists, this looks crazy in view of the rapidly rising share of openly accessible research papers and the emerging revolution in preprint servers that publish drafts of research papers for free….”
“One of the core principles of science is to aid socio-economic growth. Open science is a movement that reinforces the primacy of science in the direction of economic and social welfare. UNESCO’s recommendation on open science aims to provide an international framework for open science policy and practice. It endorses unrestricted access to scholarly publications and data, the use of digital technologies to drive scientific processes, more collaboration and cooperation among the actors in the scientific ecosystem, sharing of research infrastructure, acknowledgment of diverse knowledge systems, and science for society. Open science could enable a productive science ecosystem in global south countries through efficient knowledge circulation, resource sharing, and collaboration. Analysis of open science policy from a global south country can provide valuable insights. India is preparing to adopt an open science framework recommended in the 5th Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) draft, released in December 2020. The STIP draft recommends open access to articles and research data from publicly funded projects, access to research infrastructure beyond the boundary of academic and research institutions, strengthening of Indian journals, and open educational resources. However, the draft lacks an exhaustive implementation plan. The draft falls short in devising strategies to foster collaboration between actors of the STI ecosystem, the inclusion of traditional knowledge systems, and society’s role in knowledge creation processes. The science policymakers and advisers of the Department of Science and Technology and the government of India should probe these areas to develop a more effective and inclusive open science framework.”
“Mental health is an important concern in low and middle income countries and must be addressed for sustainable development. Open science is a movement which can contribute significantly towards addressing mental health challenges. Mental health in India and other low and middle income countries faces many challenges, such as lack of resources and low investment. This policy brief proposes an intervention model using the core principles of open science to transform the mental health programmes run by local self-government institutions in India. The model can co-opt key stakeholders involved in the data collection, programme implementation, and monitoring for standardisation. Kerala’s participatory development experience is employed as a case to describe the model. By empowering frontline health workers, accredited volunteers, and officials of the childcare system, and implementing open science principles, this model could help address mental health challenges with minimal resource allocation through the streamlining of the data management process. It could also encourage increased participation in open science through the citizen science model, opening scientific research to non-specialists. Open science principles such as collective benefit, equity, participation, sustainability, and inclusiveness can also be promoted.”
“Last month, Z-Library – one of the world’s most popular ‘shadow libraries’, or unlicensed eBook databases – was shut down by the FBI. Two of its alleged operators, both Russian nationals, were arrested in Argentina on behalf of the US authorities and charged with criminal copyright infringement. Z-Library, which archived 11 million books and 84 million articles, had a good claim to being the largest resource of its kind, and had managed to skirt serious legal action since it first emerged as a replica, or mirror, of Library Genesis (LibGen) in 2009.
After the arrests, most of the domains associated with Z-Library were overwritten by an FBI seizure notice, but the repository was still accessible via Tor and other anonymising browsers. A few days after the official indictment the remaining Z-Librarians realised a statement. They expressed regret at the arrests and apologised to any writers who had ‘suffered’ because of the site, but stuck to the principles that had guided its creation. ‘We believe,’ they wrote, ‘that the knowledge and cultural heritage of mankind should be accessible to all people around the world, regardless of their wealth, social status, nationality [or] citizenship.’ The democratisation of knowledge, they maintained, was Z-Library’s ‘only purpose’. They quoted a few lines from Queen’s ‘The Show Must Go On’, and went silent….”
This is a workshop report. It describes certain features of research assessment practices in India and how researchers from different institutes view research assessments in their context. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current practices?
The Ministry of Education, Govt. of India, announces the One Nation, One Subscription plan.