Indian Ministry of Science Calls for Mandatory Open Access Publishing

Indian research funding agencies have adopted an open access policy which calls for mandatory open access publishing of publicly funded scholarly output. The two agencies, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), both under the Ministry of Science, have released open access policy documents. According to the Telegraph, the documents remain in scientific community cycle’s circulation for comment till July 25, 2014. By endorsing open access publishing model DBT and DST joined other two Indian research funding agencies, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which took similar policy decisions in the past. The decision of these national research funding agencies is expected to encourage similar agencies, research institutions and academicians to fully embrace open access movement and policies. Furthermore, the measure will boost scientific research and knowledge dissemination.

Research outputs are typically published on journals which obligate readers and librarians pay costly subscription fees. Nevertheless, making research funded by tax payer’s money freely available and widely accessible removes barriers and opens more knowledge and information windows for scientific and nonscientific communities alike. Open Access model is touted as an alternative to classic scientific journal publishing because the later keeps knowledge behind paywalls.

Open Access movement is reaching research funding agencies and scientific community in every corner of the world. Open access movement is no longer a cause that only few groups and individuals advocate for. The movement has become so successful that many countries and research funding agencies have come on board. The call for making publicly funded research output openly accessible is apparently coming from every angle. The European Union through its Horizon 2020 policy and the US are the major players in this regard. Developing nations are also following suit. Therefore, they have started embracing the movement and formulating open access policies which facilitate smooth implementation and transition.

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