India's efforts in open access publishing.

Author:Mukherjee, Bhaskar


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.

Related Studies

OA publishing in India is a major topic of discussion and a large quantity of papers has been published. It is impossible to mention them all. In this longitudinal stud,y our attempt, therefore, is to recall some studies with particular relevance in the present context. Arunachalam (2008) is certainly one of the key papers on OA where the author's own engagement with the science academies and OA is discussed. He also mentions some key policymakers and hoped for the involvement of CSIR in OA. Sahu and Parmer (2006) projected OA activities by various academies such as the Indian Academy of Science, theIndian National Science Academy, Biolin International, and Medkow Publications, as well as explaining the impact of OA publishing.

Sawant (2009) studied open access journal initiatives in India with respect to its type, funding agency/host organization, full text availability, article charges, etc. Her study covered 178 open access journals that were peer-reviewed, indexed, and abstracted, listed with DOAJ and O-Jgate. Some subject specific studies on OA journals have been conducted in the recent past, e.g., Shahu (2003) studied OA journals in medical sciences, Mukherjee (2009) studied OA journals in in library and information science, and Shau (2009) in economics.

Studies also indicate that increased accessibility and visibility have also increased the citations received by a journal (Bavdekar and Sahu, 2005; Sahu, Gogtay and Bavdekar, 2005). Shau and Parmer (2006) mention that the number of manuscripts submitted to the journals published by Medknow has increased many times, with increases in the number of articles coming from other countries ranging from 12-44% for various journals.


The specific objectives of the present paper are:

* To project India's growth on open access scholarly publications

* To identify prominent subjects, sub-fields in where open access journals are more prominent

* To identify leading publishers, societies, organizations who are actively involved in open access activity

* To measure the impact of OA journals published from India.


Carried out in March 2011, these studies looked at the status of OA journals published from India in terms of year, subject, publisher and citations. In order to gather data we accessed Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and confined publications originated from India in all discipline. Metadata elements such as starting year, subject of the journal, scope of the journal, and publisher were identified. For comparison, in a few cases, we also consider the OA journals published from Japan and China. In order to measure citation we used Google Scholar.

Results and Discussion

In Figure 1 we have projected the growth of open access publication in India. For comparison we have also used the dataset of DOAJ for other two Asian countries China and Japan. As listed in DOAJ, up to March 31st 2011, India's rank is fifth (307 journals) on production of OA journal preceded by United State (1200) Brazil (571), United Kingdom (492), Spain (381). Among Asian continents India is far ahead from Japan (105) and China (29). The growth rate of OA journals in the last five years is more prominent from 2005 onward. In the year 2005, 18 more journals have been added than previous year 2004. The addition continues with 19, 23, 50, 129, 22 new journals at end 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 respectively. The growth rate can be explained as almost polynomial. This is very inspiring for those who support OA.

The concept of the digital divide is more common for a country like India where university library budgets have largely varied from 5 corer to 5 lakhs per year. At the same time, quality research requires quality research articles for acquiring current knowledge. In spite of our limited library budgets, we are bound to provide quality services to our clients which are now possible if we simply have an Internet connection through which we may access open access journals. The only need is our eagerness to satisfy users' demands and a positive attitude toward open access.

By Subject

Science in general and medicine (120 number or 40%), pharmacy...

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