India’s Efforts in Open Access Publishing

For a long time, India has been generating a great deal of scholarly resources in all disciplines. After independence, there was a lot of investment in science and technology, and S&T were used to leverage development efforts and to improve the standard of living. However, one in four Indians still lives below the poverty line. There is a considerable research effort in a wide variety of areas including science, technology, medicine, humanities and social sciences. Research is performed essentially in three sectors: (1) higher educational institutions, such as universities and deemed universities (2) laboratories under different government agencies such as the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and (3) laboratories in the industrial sector, both public and private.

With difficulties such as lack of funds and infrastructure for good quality research, a very common problem for Indian scientists is access and visibility. The accelerating cost of subscriptions to academic serials has created a serials crisis in almost all libraries around the world, including India. Most Indian libraries cannot afford to subscribe to key journals needed by their users/scientists. As a result, it becomes difficult for researchers to have current knowledge. After spending so much effort on research and getting it published in journals, small or big, from around the world, their work is often not noticed by others elsewhere, even within India, working in the same and related areas. No wonder Indian work is poorly cited due to low visibility or circulation of such journals where their works have been published.

To overcome both these handicaps, one possible solution may be the publishing through Open Access (OA). Open-access publishing is the provision of free online access to quality scholarly material that is available on « open domain, » and not having any restriction of copyright. Although the open access movement began before the advent of the Web, it became more widespread with the adoption of Web access in scholarly activities. The movement spread to all disciplines. There are many different models of open access publishing, for example sponsored OA, OA supported by author fees, and embargoed OA. The intention of all such models is to provide access to scholarly contents to clients. It is, however, assumed as one of the useful media to share research and getting wide visibility from around the world. Some countries like the UK and the US have made better progress, whereas many other countries are lagging behind. The primary goal of this study is to discover the present status of Indian open access ventures and help librarians to understand the opportunities in OA scholarly resources in India.