India’s plan to pay journal subscription fees for all its citizen may end up making science harder to access

India’s plan indicates that commercial publishers are winning over the application of the open access system to make scholarly literature available for everyone. Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Author provided

Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Institut Teknologi Bandung; Juneman Abraham, Himpunan Psikologi Indonesia; Rizqy Amelia Zein, Universitas Airlangga, and Sridhar Gutam, Indian Council of Agricultural Research

India, the world’s second-most populous country, is planning to make scholarly literature available for everyone under its latest science, technology and innovation policy.

The policy will push for the whole country to have a nationwide subscription to replace existing subscriptions paid by different research and education institutions to access research journals. The Indian government is in talks with the world’s top scientific publications, including one of the biggest scholarly publishers, Elsevier, to create the system.

If it works, India will become the largest country to give access to paywalled journal articles to more than 1.3 billion of its citizens.

Many scientists have responded positively to the plan. A report by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade argues that the agreement would help identify unnecessary spending due to duplicate subscription.

India spends 15 billion rupees or equivalent to US$200 million a year to access research journals, paid by different research and education institutions. That’s almost equal to France’s funding for India’s COVID-19 response.

Despite the economic benefits from India’s plan, some scientists and academics are concerned it may go against the spirit of making science and knowledge available for everyone under an open access mechanism.

The principles of open science

American sociologist Robert K. Merton argues all modern scientists should share ownership of their knowledge and research. Putting science behind paywalls, making it exclusive, is the opposite of this norm.

This principle underpins the open science movement, which aims to make all scientific research accessible to everyone.

Open access publication systems, under which research journals are distributed for free after their writers pay the publication fees, works under the spirit of open science.

Following this logic, some countries believe paying distribution fees, also known as article processing charges (APC), to publishers will settle the exclusivity problem.

However, open science is based on Merton’s values, which treat science as public goods and not commercial entities.

Therefore India’s plan to purchase access to paywalled knowledge from commercial entities may go against the spirit of modern science.

Making scientific papers accessible by spending public money to pay unreasonable article processing charges should be avoided because the money will go straight to the publishing company’s profits, without substantial added value for the public or the scientific community (aside from peer-review comments from other fellow academics).

The debate between making scholarly journals available for everyone by paying commercial publishers to open up their paywalls or adopting open science principles are as ancient as the tale of David and Goliath. Scientists have long battled the commercial publishing giants.

At this stage, commercial publishers are winning.

The latest deal between Germany and international scientific publishing company Nature is another example.

This agreement will allow authors at institutions across Germany to publish an estimated 400 open-access papers annually in Nature journals. However, it may come with a high price of 9,500 euro or around US$11,200 per article (paid by the German researchers or their institutions), making it the highest price ever paid for an open-access article.

Both India and Germany’s cases are two clear examples of deliberate ignorance pursuing short term narrow options of prestigious conformity to the oligopoly of commercial publishers over value to society.

Human values in open science. Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Author provided

These deals will also create huge barriers for developing countries with limited financial budgets.

Southeast Asia’s most populous country, Indonesia, for example, needed to spend almost US$1 million for subscription fees in 2018. This could pay the tuition fees for hundreds of students.

It is high time countries with limited financial capabilities, like India and Indonesia, fought for the distribution of science as public goods to ensure that everyone gets equal access to knowledge.

We, open science activists in India and Indonesia, have offered a clear national road map for each country that we hope each government adopts to ensure the distribution of knowledge for all.

Other critics

The subscription payments also do not resolve copyright issues that emerge once the paywalled scientific materials are made open to the public. Publishers still holding the copyright, which they secure by requesting authors sign a copyright transfer agreement after their manuscript is accepted. After this, researchers lose their rights over their work. It’s something many aren’t fully aware of or take for granted.

Under the open-access system, however, researchers retain copyright of their published manuscripts, even though they are widely accessible.

The nationwide subscription may also worsen inequalities between scholars from developing and developed countries when it comes to accessing scientific materials and publishing research results. Under the agreement, any Indian scientist interested in publishing his or her research via an open access mechanism is still required to ask for country funding to pay the article processing charges.

In the end, we are only customers of the publishing industry. Governments, on behalf of us, will spend public money, and commercial publishers will be the ones who make the biggest profit.

We make no progress toward making knowledge available for everyone if governments, as the most important stakeholder, don’t have faith in Merton’s scientific ethos by choosing to pay for access to scholarly literature.

Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Lecturer at Department of Geology, Institut Teknologi Bandung; Juneman Abraham, Head of Research and Publication, Himpunan Psikologi Indonesia; Rizqy Amelia Zein, Social and Personality Psychology Lecturer, Universitas Airlangga, and Sridhar Gutam, Senior Scientist (Plant Physiology), Indian Council of Agricultural Research

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Policy and Institutional Approaches for Securing Food and Nutritional Security through Subtropical Fruits

As per the available data and projections, about 870 million people go hungry every day around the world. It is also projected that the population would cross nine billion populations by 2050 and the global agricultural production should be expanded by 60 percent of the present to meet the burgeoning global population food needs. For this, agro-ecological interventions are must for bringing uncultivated lands under cultivation and improving yields. However with the urbanization and land degradation due to climate change and human interventions, for the food and nutritional security in developing countries like India, a sustainable institutional and policy reform with increased investment are needed. There are reports available that the horticulture is having enormous possibility for increasing the food and nutritional security and the tropical fruits being the forefront. The fruits with all the available minerals and vitamins are the potential candidates for achieving nutritional security. For this, the institutions (research institutes) and the policy makers should lay out a defined approach for addressing and meeting the food and nutritional security. While the research institutes would be working out for the development of suitable varieties which can be grown under abiotic stress conditions, the policy interventions from the policy institutes should be worked out on developing policies for bringing the uncultivated lands under cultivation, marketing facilities and investment opportunities. The simple interventions like making unproductive orchards, productive, following intercropping options etc. are few of the policy interventions on farm for increasing the area and production of fruit crops. Like these, I would like to propose to consortia based approach for the development of abiotic stress tolerant plant varieties by phenotyping the germplasm for the abiotic stress tolerant traits and the development of necessary policy interventions for increasing the production, marketing and making available fruits at affordable prices and packs to meet the food and nutritional security in the developing world. At the science forum 2013, I am looking forward for the necessary inputs for the formulation of the project along with the potential partners.

PS: Science Forum 2013 – Early Career Scientists Submission

ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR): Making Farming an Enterprise…

CITY HUB NEWS

Bangalore 31/01/2020:-

ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, a premier institute under Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, established in 1967, has a sprawling eco-friendly campus of 263 ha at Hesaraghatta, Bengaluru. Apart from this main campus, this institute has Central Horticultural Experiment Stations at Bhubaneswar in Odisha and Chettalli in Karnataka and two Krishi Vignyan Kendras (Farm Science Centres) at Gonikoppal and Hirehalli, Karnataka. Ever since established, the institute has been working with a surpassing vision to make horticulture as an enterprise and farmer as an entrepreneur. Moving in this direction, increasing and relentless efforts are in place at this institute to reorient and refine approaches for developing ecofriendly sustainable and widely adoptable technologies contributing towards increased food and nutritional security, quality and higher output. A mission mode approach to bring improvement in fruits, vegetables, ornamental and medicinal crops through genetic manipulation, refinements in pre and post-harvest technology through…

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On Contesting ARSSF Elections

For my ARS Colleagues and Friends in ICAR…

Now that the updating of Life Members List is under process, I request everyone of you to update your details.

Those who are yet to become members, please apply (see arssficar.org)

And I declared earlier, I am going to contest for the post of President (CEC ARSSF).

And as we know and understand that it’s not that only one person can effectively run and manage forum, I request that some of you who can spare time and energy to join me and we shall fight as a team and make it more democratic and strong.

We need to take the leadership for the nation and the world.

Hope you are all with me in this endeavour.

Thank you
Regards
Sridhar Gutam

Cabell’s: ‘Our predatory journal Blacklist differs from Jeffrey Beall’s’

Science Chronicle

Berryman-OptimizedKathleen Berryman, Project Manager at Cabell’s International.

Five months after Jeffrey Beall, librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver, shutdownhis widely consulted blog (Scholarly Open Access) that listed predatory journals and publishers, Cabell’s International based in Beaumont, Texas launched the Cabell’s Blacklistof predatory journals on June 15. Predatory journals cheat researchers by charging fees to publish papers but without carrying any peer-review, thus allowing even trash to be published. 

Besides the Blacklist, the Cabell’s also publishes a Whitelist of journals, and both the lists can be accessed for a fee at the company’s website, www.cabells.com. 

Kathleen Berryman, Project Manager at Cabell’s, says the company uses a set of criteria to identify deceptive practices employed by journals and will maintain transparency, unlike Beall’s.

How many publishers and/or journals have been included in the list? Is it restricted to Open Access journals? 

We have chosen to review journals…

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Preserving Legal Scholarship Using LawArXiv

In case you missed it, LIPA will sponsor a webinar in celebration of Preservation Week on Thursday, April 27, at 2:00 pm EDT.

LawArXiv is an emerging collaborative initiative of the Legal Information Preservation Alliance, the Mid-America Law Library Consortium, the NELLCO Law Library Consortium, and the Cornell Law Library. The Center for Open Science serves as the technology partner and hosts the LawArXiv repository through the Open Science Framework. The LawArXiv mission is to empower the scholarly legal community and champion open access principles by ensuring community ownership of legal scholarship. The project has been in the planning stages for several months and is expected to launch within the next few weeks. 

The webinar will highlight the importance of open access law repositories and the features of the new LawArXiv platform. There will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions. Christine Iaconeta (Law Library Director, University of Maine) will moderate…

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India leads in Gold Open Access Publishing – fake or genuine?

DOAJ News Service

This is a guest post by Leena Shah, DOAJ Ambassador, India.

CroppedImage_LeenaIt is interesting to note that since the introduction of new criteria for DOAJ listing in March 2014, we have received the highest number of new applications from Open Access journal publishers in India, followed by those in Indonesia, USA, Brazil and Iran. From around 1600 new applications received from India since March 2014 only 4% were accepted, with 78% of the applications rejected for various reasons and approximately 18% still in process.

Looking at the high volume of new applications from OA publishers wanting to be listed in DOAJ, it would seem that the Gold OA publishing model is well accepted and understood in India. But three quarters of the DOAJ applications from India in the last three years have been rejected – often for being questionable, duplicate applications or for not being a journal at all!…

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Invasive species cause widespread devastation and huge economic losses to smallholder farmers across the world, especially in sub-Saharan in Africa. Invasive species not only directly undermine farmer’s ability to achieve food security, they also affect smallholder agribusiness making farmers unable to link to profitable food value chains and international agricultural trade networks.

via South-South collaboration helps in the fight against invasive pests — The Plantwise Blog

ScienceOpen and DOAJ combine efforts to make scholarly publishing more visible

DOAJ News Service

Guidelines for free indexing applicants

Publishing can be a big, expensive business, or it can be done on a small scale by research communities themselves – by researchers for researchers. For very narrow topics and small communities it can make sense to just do it yourself and there are wide range of journals that offer peer review, editorial oversight, publishing services and a Creative Commons open access license to authors and charge no APCs. To support these efforts ScienceOpen offers free indexing for up to 10 journals per month and the best candidate receives a free journal collection page for 1 year.

scienceopen.png

In order to qualify for their free indexing offer your journal must meet the

following requirements, all of which contribute to enhancing the visibility and discoverability of your content.

  • Be a DOAJ member

The Directory of Open Access Journals lists over 9000 open access scholarly journals meeting certain

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