Status of open access institutional digital repositories in agricultural sciences: a case study of Asia.

Author:Roy, Bijan Kumar
  1. Introduction

    Agriculture has become a major sector of the world economy especially in developing countries in terms of employment, Gross national product (GNP) etc. The importance of agricultural production in the context of global competition has occupied a significant place in the national development plan. So, technological progress for sharing and re-use of agricultural knowledge is crucial for the overall economic development of the country. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) specially World Wide Web (WWW) and Internet has made it easy to create and preserve digital objects and make them readily accessible globally. The rapid evolution of this technologies leads to the development of innovative agricultural repository system that provides numerous opportunities for providing global access to local agricultural research outputs with the aim of making agricultural research data available. The objectives of the study are to focus on the different open access (OA) agricultural repositories in Asian countries and compare all the repositories against selected parameters. Finally, presents a unified search interface that facilitates searching and browsing of OA resources of different OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting) driven repositories worldwide. The key objectives of this paper are (i) to give the present status of agricultural OARs (Open Access Repositories) in Asian countries; (ii) to find out the strength and weakness of this agricultural OARs in compare to others domain-specific OARs; (iii) to suggest different parameters for evaluation of agricultural OARs as well as upcoming OARs in others domain; and (iv) to propose a metadata harvesting framework that will facilitate metadata extraction from any OAI-PMH compliant repositories.

  2. Why Repositories in Agricultural Sciences

    Agriculture has become an important field on which the majority of the rural population in developing countries depend. Agricultural information need to be shared and reused to reform economy. There is a growing demand for agricultural products and services and coordination among various agricultural research institutes. So, it is reasonable to have a digital repository particularly in agriculture and allied sciences for sharing Scientific and scholarly researches related to Agriculture. This type of repository, not like multidisciplinary repositories, holds information on crop sciences, horticulture, animal sciences, agricultural engineering, fisheries, agricultural extension and agricultural education. The following are the main reasons for having a repository in this domain to share and widening access of research data on evaluations of agricultural technology; to acquire agricultural evaluation data sets for research; to explore the geographic dimensions of agricultural evaluation; to help to identify experts in the agricultural field; to provide inputs for developing regional policies, strategies, projects; to promote new and innovative techniques and systems in agriculture; and to establish regional and national networks on agricultural and allied disciplines.

  3. Agricultural Repository: Present Situation

    Repository movement were initiated mainly in some developed countries like USA, UK, Germany but now it has become an area of research among academicians, scientists throughout the world. Now all the Continents are maintaining repositories on different subjects and objects amd most of the repositories have been from Europe and North America. And, Asia emerges as the third largest contributor (OpenDOAR, 2015) only after Europe and North America. The first subject repository, arXiv, was established in 1991 by Dr Paul Ginsparg, a physicist then based at Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) in New Mexico to collect material for mathematics and physics.

    The Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) currently (January 2015) reports 3924 repositories of which 92 (2%) are from 'Agricultural field. Asia ranks 1st position and contributes 34 repositories, 17 in the Europe, 16 from South America, 7 in the North America, 10 from Africa and 2 in the Oceania (ROAR, 2015). India and Indonesia jointly possesses 1st position worldwide as well as in Asia (Fig. 4 & Fig. 5). Another database, OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories) (OpenDOAR, 2015) has recorded 2728 repositories and out of which 122 (4%) repositories are from 'Agriculture, Food and Veterinary. Europe contributes 45 repositories, 26 in the Asia, 19 in North America, 15 in the South America and 13 repositories from Africa (Fig. 1). China being an Asian country possesses 3rd position having 6 repositories (Fig. 2). India having 4 repositories (3%) ranks 8th position worldwide (Fig. 2). But within Asian countries, India ranks 2nd position only after China possesses 6 repositories (Fig. 3).

    There is a remarkable movement by SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) established SAC (SAARC Agricultural Centre) in 2007 with a mandate to promote agricultural research and development, technology dissemination for sustainable agriculture development and poverty alleviation in the region. As an individual country, India is not a good position. There is a steady growth of OARs since 2004 after taking call from Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002), Berlin declaration (2003) and Bethseda Statement (2003). The first repository started working in 2004 at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. After then, efforts are being made to make agricultural research publicly available globally. In 2006, the first AGRIS (International System for Agricultural Science and Technology) workshop on OA in agricultural sciences and technology held at ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics), Hyderabad. The first repository for agricultural sciences (specially for thesis) was initiated in 2008 under the name 'Krishiprabha'. It holds all the doctoral dissertations submitted to various agricultural universities in India. In 2009, another important move in this regards is the establishment of OAR in agricultural sciences with the help of ICRISAT. Though there is no such activity on OA in Agriculture in India. The National Agricultural Research System (NARS) in India is the world's largest network of 97 agricultural research institutes established by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) established firt repository, Eprints@IARI 2 in 2009. On the basis of the above mentioned research studies and other related studies, following key events (Table 1) are identified.

  4. Scope and Limitations of Study

    This analytical study is limited to only agricultural OARs of Asian countries registered in OpenDOAR (31 OARs) and ROAR (37 OARs) databases. Repositories containing 1Agriculture' as one of the key subject have been considered. Though the field 'agriculture' as shown in OpenDOAR database covers three others broad subjects viz. agriculture, food and veterinary science. Whereas ROAR covers plant culture, forestry, animal culture, aquaculture, fisheries, angling and hunting sports. The study, after eliminating all common repositories, has finally selected altogether a total of 43 unique repositories from both the databases.

  5. Methodology

    The methodology for evaluation of agricultural OARs may be represented as below

    * Study of repositories listed in OpenDOAR and ROAR databases;

    * Study of global recommendations and existing best practice guidelines;

    * Identification and selection of criteria for evaluation of agricultural OARs; and

    * Analysis and interpretation of results.

    The details information about selected repositories under study have been provided in annex 1. The comparison of selected OARs (annex I) have been done below under section ten (10) headings that correspond to the evaluation criteria. The data has been collected up to January, 2015 from the above mentioned two databases viz. OpenDOAR and ROAR and analysis part has been done during February to August, 2015.

  6. Parameters for Evaluation

    For evaluating and analyzing agricultural OARs, the following ten (10) parameters (section 6.1 to section 6.10) have been selected o the basis of existing literature. All the OARs have been evaluated against selected criteria mentioned below 6.1 Type of Materials

    Generally, repositories archive various types of textual objects such as articles; conferences; theses; books, project reports, annual reports etc (Roy, Biswas & Mukhopadhyay, 2011, 2012, 2013). All the repositories under study house same type of contents in general and there is a similarity between subject repositories and multidisciplinary repositories in content types. Generally objects are textual and only a few repositories hold special items like patents, software, multimedia, maps, newsletters, experiments and monographs etc.

    6.2 Number of Objects

    There is a vast difference amongst repositories in terms of number of digital objects uploaded. Only a few repositories have...

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