Enhancing the efficacy of the ‘DBT and DST Open Access Policy’

“We need to take serious cognizance of the document titled ‘DBT and DST Open Access Policy’ released jointly by DST and DBT on 12 December 2014. The focus of the document is on ensuring that knowledge created through the use of public funds is available to the public. This document stipulates that papers resulting from funds received from DST or DBT from the fiscal year 2012–13 onwards are required to be deposited in institutional repositories or in designated central repositories (dbt. sciencecentral.in and dst.sciencecentral. in). It stipulates that institutes receiving core funding from DST or DBT must set up institutional repositories. Most of this document discusses modalities, etc. for the repositories, but it makes two interesting statements that we should discuss. One is a view about an outcome of such open access, viz. ‘providing free online access by depositing them in an institutional repository is the most effective way of ensuring that the research it funds can be accessed, read and built upon’. The other statement makes a judgment call on the use of journal impact factors (IF). The document states ‘The DBT and DST affirms the principle that the intrinsic merit of the work, and not the title of the journal in which an author’s work is published, should be considered in making future funding decisions. The DBT and DST do not recommend the use of journal impact factors either as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions’. I shall discuss these two statements in some detail …”