Open Access to Scientific Information in Emerging Countries

Author : Joachim Schöpfel

Access to information plays a critical role in supporting development. Open access to scientific information is one solution. Up to now, the open access movement has been most successful in the Western hemisphere.

The demand for open access is great in the developing world as it can contribute to solving problems related to access gaps. Five emerging countries, called BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — play a specific and leading role with a significant influence on regional and global affairs because of their large and fast-growing national economies, their demography and geographic situation.

In order to better understand open access in each of the five countries, in this paper we take a look at specific conditions in each country, relying on data from information professionals and scientists from BRICS, with an empirical approach focused on country-specific characteristics and challenges.


Selection and Acquisition of E-resource Collection in Selected Libraries of R&D Institutions in Kolkata city: A Survey of Current Practices

Authors : Dhiman Mondal, Arabinda Maity

The study evaluates various aspects of current practices of selection and acquisition of e-resources in selected libraries of R & D institutions in Kolkata city. Selection of information resources is the core collection development function and the objective is to satisfy user needs.

The study highlights the responsible authority, method, criteria, availability and mode of subscription of e-resources in R & D libraries. The emergence of e-resources have changed role of selectors and now selectors must address the new issues of access, technological, licensing and pricing concerns as part of the selection and acquisition processes.

For planning, selection and acquisition of e-resources, it is recommended to assign a ‘acquisition library staff’ post who have knowledge about the latest issues and challenges of e-resources.

URL : Selection and Acquisition of E-resource Collection in Selected Libraries of R&D Institutions in Kolkata city: A Survey of Current Practices

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Should Indian researchers pay to get their work published?

Authors : Muthu Madhan, Siva Shankar Kimidi, Subbiah Gunasekaran, Subbiah Arunachalam

We raise the financial and ethical issue of paying for getting papers published in professional journals. Indian researchers have published more than 37,000 papers in over 880 open access journals from 61 countries in the five years 2010-14 as seen from Science Citation Index Expanded.

This accounts for about 14.4% of India’s overall publication output, considerably higher than the 11.6% from the world. Indian authors have used 488 OA journals levying article processing charge (APC), ranging from INR 500 to US$5,000, in the five years to publish about 15,400 papers.

More than half of these papers were published in just 13 journals. PLoS One and Current Science are the OA journals Indian researchers use most often. Most leading Indian journals are open access and they do not charge APC. Use of OA journals levying APC has increased over the four years from 242 journls and 2557 papers in 2010 to 328 journals and 3,634 papers in 2014.

There has been an increase in the use of non-APC journals as well, but at a lower pace. About 27% of all Indian papers in OA journals are in ‘Clinical Medicine,’ and 11.7% in ‘Chemistry.’ Indian researchers have used nine mega journals to publish 3,100 papers.

We estimate that India is potentially spending about US$2.4 million annually on APCs and suggest that it would be prudent for Indian authors to make their work freely available through interoperable repositories, a trend that is growing significantly in Latin America and China, especially when research is facing a funding crunch.

We further suggest bringing all Indian OA journals on to a single platform similar to SciELO, and all repositories be harvested by CSIR-URDIP which is already managing the OA repositories of the laboratories of CSIR, DBT and DST.

Such resource sharing will not only result in enhanced efficiency and reduced overall costs but also facilitate use of standard metadata among repositories.


Role of Open Access Digital Repositories (OADR) on Information Seeking Behavior among Research Scholars: A study

Author : Veena G

The main purpose of the study is to examine the role of Open Access Digital Repositories on Information Seeking Behavior among Research Scholars.

The study adopted a questionnaire-based survey research design, 220 questionnaires were distributed among research scholars at Mangalore University, out of which 200 filled questionnaires were received after duly filled for analysis.

The result of the revealed that 116(56.6%) of respondents prefer to seeking information through Open Access Digital Repositories , 68(34.30%) of the respondents believed that the use of Open Access Digital Repositories while seeking information has increased their academic activities made easy and free access.

URL : Role of Open Access Digital Repositories (OADR) on Information Seeking Behavior among Research Scholars: A study

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Sharing of Knowledge among Faculty in a Mega Open University

Authors : Sujata Santosh, Santosh Panda

Developments in ICTs and knowledge societies have revolutionized the traditional paradigms of education. There is a lot of emphasis on a culture of sharing and collaboration in the education scenario of today though educators have certain inhibitions about sharing of knowledge, ideas and resources.

The present study was undertaken to explore the sharing behaviour of the faculty of the National Open University in India. Data was collected through a structured questionnaire on knowledge sharing behaviour and barriers to sharing from 62 faculty members belonging to various disciplines.

The findings suggested that sharing was less preferred voluntarily and in networks; publishing was most preferred knowledge sharing mechanism; sharing of learning materials was more encouraged in the institution; and borrowing from Internet was more preferred.

The important perceived barriers included lack of recognition and absence of organizational knowledge sharing culture. The findings have been discussed in relation to related research and the existing institutional context.

URL : Sharing of Knowledge among Faculty in a Mega Open University


Open Access Temptations: Buyer Beware

Backlash against « megapublishers” which began in mathematics a decade ago has led to an exponential growth in open access journals. Their increasing numbers and popularity notwithstanding, there is evidence that not all open access journals are legitimate.

The nature of the « gold open access » business model and increasing prevalence of « publish or perish » culture in academia has given rise to a dark underbelly in the world of scientific publishing which feeds off academics’ professional needs.

Many such « predatory publishers » and journals not only seem to originate out of India but also seem to have been patronized by academics in the country. This article is a cautionary note to early-career academics and administrators in India to be wary of this « wild west » of the internet and exercise due discretion when considering/ evaluating open-access journals for scholarly contributions.


Sweat, Skepticism, and Uncharted Territory : A Qualitative Study of Opinions on Data Sharing Among Public Health Researchers and Research Participants in Mumbai, India

Efforts to internalize data sharing in research practice have been driven largely by developing international norms that have not incorporated opinions from researchers in low- and middle-income countries. We sought to identify the issues around ethical data sharing in the context of research involving women and children in urban India. We interviewed researchers, managers, and research participants associated with a Mumbai non-governmental organization, as well as researchers from other organizations and members of ethics committees.

We conducted 22 individual semi-structured interviews and involved 44 research participants in focus group discussions. We used framework analysis to examine ideas about data and data sharing in general; its potential benefits or harms, barriers, obligations, and governance; and the requirements for consent. Both researchers and participants were generally in favor of data sharing, although limited experience amplified their reservations. We identified three themes: concerns that the work of data producers may not receive appropriate acknowledgment, skepticism about the process of sharing, and the fact that the terrain of data sharing was essentially uncharted and confusing.

To increase data sharing in India, we need to provide guidelines, protocols, and examples of good practice in terms of consent, data preparation, screening of applications, and what individuals and organizations can expect in terms of validation, acknowledgment, and authorship.

URL : Sweat, Skepticism, and Uncharted Territory

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