Wednesday, 31 May 2017

DeLCON National Workshop on Strengthening Open Access (OA) Initiatives in India | 23rd June | NBRC, Manesar, Gurgaon, India

DeLCON National Workshop on Strengthening Open Access (OA) Initiatives in India 
Date: Friday, 23rd June 2017
Venue: NBRC Auditorium, National Brain Research Centre, Manesar, Gurgaon, Haryana, India

Open Access (OA) refers to online research outputs that are free of all restrictions on access (e.g. access tolls) and free of many restrictions on use (e.g. certain copyright and license restrictions). Open access can be applied to all forms of published research output, including peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed academic journal articles, conference papers, theses, book chapters and monographs. Open Access publications refer to the kind of literature that are freely accessible to everyone and are not bound by price and permission barriers, unlike the scientific literature published via the subscription mode. Although the concept of Open Access publication is not entirely new and has been around for several years, people have begun to realize its importance only recently. The sudden change in perceptions is largely due to the increased and easy internet usage as well as support from government, educational and research institutions, and other funding agencies. Hundreds of leading academic and research sites in over 30 countries marked the week in unique ways, and expressed their support for the advancement of knowledge through free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research. Ever since, Open Access Week has been observed internationally to help raise awareness of the potential benefits of Open Access (OA) for research, and to celebrate milestones in making OA a norm in the conduct of science and scholarship. 
The one-day workshop will focus on the need to create an enabling environment for OA in India, to promote and upscale existing OA initiatives, and to encourage the development of new OA programmes. This can be done by 'closing the circle' or linking multiple stakeholder groups, namely academicians, faculties, scientists, researchers, librarians, archivists, technologists, and policymakers, taking into account their concerns and views and providing a platform for them to advocate for a common cause. The workshop will provide a unique opportunity to academicians, librarians & stakeholders communities to pool their insights, identify and discuss key OA-related issues in the country, and create a roadmap for strengthening OA in India. 

Procedure for Registration: The workshop is open to Working Professionals such as Academicians, Faculties, Scientists Library Professionals, Information Scientists. There is no registration fee. Registration is limited to only 50 participants on "first-cum-first served basis". Registration can be sent by post to given address or by email attachment at in the given prescribed format which is available at DeLCON Website at For participation, registration is mandatory on confirmation of the participation. An email confirmation will be sent to Registered participants. Only registered participants will be allowed to take part in the Workshop. All the Registered participants will be provided a participation certificate, Workshop Kit, Lunch and tea. No TA/DA will be paid to the Participants for attending this workshop. No accommodation will be arranged for participants by the organizers. However, we will help in arranging Guest House / Hotel accommodation in nearby places. The last date for registration to the Workshop is June 10th 2017. 

Postal Address & Contacts: Dr. D.D. LAL, DeLCON Coordinator & Organizing Secretary, DBT's Electronic Library Consortium (DeLCON), National Brain Research Centre, NBRC, NH-08, Nainwal Mode, Manesar, Gurgaon, Haryana. Pincode : 122050, India, Tel : +91-124-2845229; 2845329; Fax : +91-124-2338909, Email : 

1. The Importance of OA in India: 
Open Access has emerged during the last decade or so as a movement and a business model whose goal is to provide free access and re-use of scientific knowledge in the form of research articles, monographs, data and related materials. Faster and wider sharing of knowledge fuels the advancement of science and, accordingly, the return of health, economic, and social benefits back to the public. By removing the barriers of price and permissions, OA publishing promotes the global flow of knowledge; improves access to 'developed-country research'; creates much-needed visibility for 'developing-country research'; and allows researchers and practitioners to access current knowledge. The idea of open access to scholarly literature is not new to India. India has a large S&T research community and Indian researchers conduct research in a wide variety of areas. India also trains a very large number of scientists and engineers. One might believe that all is well with science and technology in India. But the truth is very different. In terms of the number of papers published in refereed journals, the number of citations per paper, and the number of international awards and recognitions won, India's record is not all that encouraging. India has a vast pool of academic talent and a track record of excellence in disciplines related to science and technology, but this is at odds with the limited endowments that academic libraries receive to support scientific research. Most Indian libraries cannot afford to subscribe to key journals required by researchers and scientists. This is a serious impediment to the acquisition of knowledge, and researchers' own scholarly output is adversely impacted as a result. Another outcome of prohibitive subscription costs is the low visibility of Indian research. Academics in the region exert themselves to publish their work in well-known journals which very few of their peers can access afterwards. This leads to the poor citation of works by Indian researchers, the poor circulation of their research findings, and ultimately very limited awareness about scientific developments in the country. Thus, Indian scientists face two problems, namely, access and visibility. Both these handicaps can be overcome to a considerable extent if open access is adopted widely both within and outside the country.

2. OA Initiatives in India: 
The lack of awareness might still be an issue for Indian researchers, but there have been various nitiatives by Indian institutes, journals and publishers to make research content open. Since 2003, India has been contributing to The Directory of Open Access Journals (which contains free, full-text highquality scientific journals).The Indian Medlars Centre (IMC), has taken the pioneering step of putting Indian biomedical journals accessible on to a single platform. IMC's first bibliographic database IndMed, established in 1998, provides abstract level information from more than 70 journals. The Indian Academy of Sciences and the Indian National Science Academy are premier institutes that run vibrant publishing programmes and offer open access to their journals and papers. Bioline International is a notfor-profit collaborative effort of the University of Toronto Libraries, Canada, the Reference Center on Environmental Information, Brazil, and Bioline, UK. Bioline provides access to 14 Indian journals on their primary site as well as archives these journals at the Bioline EPrints Archive. ePrints@IISC is a repository that collects, preserves and disseminates in digital format the works of the research community of the prestigious Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. Open J-Gate – a free database of OA journals – currently offers access to more than 4000 OA English language journals from across the world. The work of Medknow Publications, an innovative publisher of OA journals, and that of the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela are also leading Indian contributions to the OA movement. It is important that these initiatives should not operate in isolation, but should form part of a concerted effort and campaign at a national level to promote OA in India. 
In 2012–13, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) launched a major OA initiative. ICAR has formulated an OA policy stipulating that its member institutes across the country must allow open access to their research and technical publications, books, catalogues, workshop proceedings, case studies, lecture notes and other digital objects. While these institutes will maintain their own OA repositories, ICAR is setting up a central harvester to allow 'one-stop access' to all the scientific and agricultural knowledge generated within the Council. 
Master repositories such as ICAR's, composed of a network of repositories, greatly enhance accessibility, help realize the potential of OA, and strengthen the very purpose of the OA movement in India. But while developing policies and networks at the institutional level is necessary, it is critical to entrench the idea of OA at the level of national policy. A national mandate and policy framework for OA would ensure that OA initiatives cease to operate in isolated clusters, and become part of a coherent, progressive national movement to promote the flow of knowledge.

3. DBT/DST Open Access Policy
The Department of Biotechnology ("DBT") and the Department of Science and Technology ("DST") are constituent departments within the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. An important function of the DBT and DST is to support basic, translational and applied scientific research through the creation of suitable infrastructure, by providing funding to individual scientists, institutions and start-ups, and through any other means deemed necessary. Since all funds disbursed by the DBT and DST are public funds, it is important that the information and knowledge generated through the use of these funds are made publicly available as soon as possible, subject to Indian law and IP policies of respective funding agencies and institutions where the research is performed. The DBT and DST recognize the right of researchers to publish their work in journals of their choice, because researchers are the best judges of where to publish their work. The DBT and DST expect that the recipients of funding will publish their research in high quality, peer-reviewed journals. The DBT and DST affirms the principle that the intrinsic merit of the work, and not the title of the journal in which an author's work is published, should be considered in making future funding decisions. The DBT and DST do not recommend the use of journal impact factors either as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist's contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions. The DBT and DST believe that maximizing the distribution of these publications by providing free online access by depositing them in an institutional repository is the most effective way of ensuring that the research it funds can be accessed, read and built upon. The digital context of the production and dissemination of knowledge makes it especially easy to make all knowledge publicly available. Further, free, open and digital access of scientific research will ensure percolation of cutting edge research at a rapid pace into higher education curricula, thereby raising the standard of technical and scientific education in the country. This in turn, will foster a richer research culture. 

4. OA in India vis-à-vis Global Trends: 
Open Access is of particular importance to the Global South because it provides an unprecedented opportunity for equitable access to essential research information from around the world. So while removing the price barrier is important, the key to Open Access is that it allows researchers and the institutions they work for to regain control of their intellectual labour and capital by disseminating the research they produce in ways that they see fit, and not simply according to the business logic of for-profit publishing houses. This will hopefully result in a more balanced production and dissemination of knowledge from around the world. With free software such as the Open Journal System, and with peer-review being performed without cost as a long-standing tradition, the cost of producing journals is far lower than commercial publishers would have us believe. The Directory of Open Access Journals now list over 8,500 titles from around the world; most do not charge an author fee. These Open Access outlets provide important opportunities for knowledge dissemination while reducing costs substantially for the libraries. Most universities in North America and Europe have set up repositories individually or as consortia, and an increasing number of higher education institutions in the Global South have also set them up to feature their faculty's research output. In addition, many universities have also set up publishing platforms such as the Open Journal Systems and other kinds of open source platforms to allow faculty to engage in Open Access publishing and other kinds of innovative digital scholarship. However, many repositories remain poorly filled because researchers are often not aware of Open Access, or they have misconceptions about it and copyright, or about quality issues associated with it, not realizing that Open Access is compatible with traditional peer review and copyright. Hence more awareness-building efforts are needed to educate researchers about the benefits of Open Access, and the limitations and unsustainability of the traditional system. In addition, a policy should be put in place to encourage researchers to deposit their research articles and materials into the repositories. Many institutions now enact either a voluntary or a mandatory policy requiring their faculty to deposit a copy of their work into the repository. It is also crucial for administrators to be better informed about the detrimental nature of adhering to the narrow use of the journal impact factor as a means of research evaluation. In 2013, the Obama administration declared that all publicly funded research would be made freely available within 12 months of publication. Research councils in the UK have recently begun to make public-funded research open to all. The European Commission is expected to do the same from January 2014. The applicability of these approaches to the Indian context, and their potential benefits, must be seriously considered by stakeholders in the country. In India, Open Access is now a key topic of discussions and engagement at many higher education institutions (including universities and deemed universities) as well as high-level research organisations, such as the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Department of Atomic Energy, the Indian Space Research Organisation, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the Indian Council of Medical Research. The tireless advocacy work of Subbiah Arunachalam [Chennai-based information consultant] has been instrumental in sensitising these key institutions in the Open Access debates. However, a strong national or institutional policy on Open Access is yet to be implemented. At the same time, some key institutions such as the Indian Academy of Sciences have been playing a leadership role in providing Open Access to the journals they publish, and the Indian Institute of Science has one of the longest running institutional repositories with the most content in the country. There are now over 350 Open Access journals being published by various organizations across India, but they cover mostly areas in science and medicine. Social sciences and the humanities are poorly represented. Of the close to 600 higher education institutions across India, fewer than 100 have an existing institutional repository, though many are in the planning stage. 

5. Scope of the proposed National Workshop: 
The DeLCON Consortium & NBRC are organizing a one day DeLCON National Workshop-2017 on Friday, 23rd June 2017 at NBRC Manesar during Open Access Programme. The tentative title of the Workshop is 'Strengthening Open Access Initiatives in India', and it will be held at NBRC, Manesar. The title connotes the need for concerted efforts to create a more enabling environment for OA in the country, to promote and upscale existing OA initiatives, and to encourage the development and launch of new OA programmes which will lead to establishment of a national OA policy. This can be also done by the DBT Institutions through linking multiple stakeholder groups and taking into account their concerns and views – namely researchers, librarians, archivists, publishers, technologists, and policymakers – and providing a platform for them to advocate for a common cause. The Workshop will provide a unique opportunity to stakeholders to pool their insights, identify and discuss key OA-related issues in the country as well as their own Institution, and create a roadmap for strengthening OA in India.

6. Structure of the Workshop: Beginning with a keynote address by a leading expert on open access to scientific research, the national workshop will be structured into two Technical Session. 

7. Objectives of the Workshop: The objectives of the DeLCON National Workshop are to:
  • Build awareness among the stakeholder groups and library & academic communities about the importance of OA to scientific research
  • Enable the exchange of knowledge, experiences and best practices of various organizations in the OA space
  • Contribute towards the creation of a promotional group that will promote OA at National levels of Organizations
  • Evaluate current trends and pitfalls towards the OA landscape in India
  • Progress policy recommendations for the creation of a national mandate to promote OA
  • Encourage collaborations, co-ordinations and partnerships among interested groups
8. Expected Outcomes: As a result of the National Workshop, it is expected that : 
  • OA stakeholder groups such as participating Academician members, Scientists, Faculties, Information Scientists, Nodal officers, working Library communities will appreciate the significance of OA, and will have understood the key trends, issues and challenges pertaining to the development of OA in India;
  • The innovative character and successful operation of leading OA initiatives in India will have been highlighted;
  • The collective efforts and actions behind the OA movement will be understood, and will inspire the next generation of academicians and librarians to become advocates of OA
  • Participating stakeholders will engage in a dialogue about possible partnerships and collaborative ventures
  • A set of recommendations will be developed for the creation of (a) a national OA mandate and policy framework, and (b) a general template for institutional OA policies, repositories and archives. 
9. Target Group: The national workshop will be attended by Working Professionals / Academicians, Library Communities, faculties, scientists, DeLCON Members, Library Professionals, Information Scientists.

DeLCON Consortium
About DeLCON: The 'DBT's Electronic Library Consortium (DeLCON)' is major project of the 'Department of Biotechnology (DBT)' to bring qualitative change in their research Institutions. It was launched in January, 2009 with the 10 DBT member Institutions (including DBT H.Q. & ICGEB) with a large number of high impact online journals. It is a national initiative for providing access to scholarly electronic resources including full-text and bibliographic databases in all the life science subject disciplines to DBT Institutional community. It facilitates access to high quality e-resources to DBT research Institutions in the country to improve teaching, learning and research. The access to all major e-resources was given to 10 DBT Institutions in the beginning of the year 2009. It has now been extended to new 17 more DBT Institutions in 2nd phase of extension in this year 2010 and further 07 members added in the 3rd phase of extension in the Year 2011. The 'DeLCON Consortium' provides current as well as archival access to more than 1171 core and peer-reviewed journals in different disciplines from 21 foreign publishers. The faculties, scientists, research scholars, students and project assistants of Institutions covered under DeLCON are the primary beneficiaries. 
  • About NBRC: National Brain Research Centre is the only institute in India dedicated to neuroscience research and education. Scientists and students of NBRC come from diverse academic backgrounds, including biological, computational, mathematical, physical, engineering and medical sciences, and use multidisciplinary approaches to understand the brain. Located in the foothills of the Aravali range in Manesar, Haryana, NBRC is an autonomous institute funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, and is also a Deemed University established in the year 1999.
  • About ICGEB: The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology provides a scientific and educational environment of the highest standard and conducts innovative research in life sciences for the benefit of developing countries. It strengthens the research capability of its Members through training and funding programmes and advisory services and represents a comprehensive approach to promoting biotechnology internationally. The ICGEB extension laboratory, covering an area of over 3,720 square metres, has been created to decongest the workspace in the existing building. All of the Groups working on malaria, tuberculosis and bioinformatics have shifted to the new wing. The new Group, Synthetic Biology and Biofuel, is also placed here. ICGEB New Delhi component is located within the ICGEB Campus in South Delhi, which comprises an area of 10,000 square meters. It is situated alongside the Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Sanjay Van in a bush forest area and was established in the year 1994. 
  • About NII: The National Institute of Immunology (NII) is an autonomous institution supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. The Institute is committed to advanced research addressing the basic mechanisms involved in body's defence, host-pathogen interactions and related areas with a view to contribute to the creation of an internationally competitive intellectual knowledge base as a sustainable source of innovative futuristic modalities of potential use in health care. The mandate "to undertake, aid, promote, guide and coordinate research of high caliber in basic and applied immunology". Keenly conscious of it's role in helping create a scientific base for innovations relevant to development in India, the following research programs coalesced into four thrust areas: Immunity and Infection, Gene Regulation, Molecular Design, and Reproduction and Development. The Institute imparts long term research training leading to a PhD degree of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and was established in the year 1981.
  • About NIPGR: NIPGR (formerly known as NCPGR) was established in 1998 with mandate to undertake, promote and co-ordinate research, train workers and to serve as information resource in identified aspects of plant genome to build a frontline plant genomics institution. The research programme aims to contribute to the understanding of the structure, expression and function of genes along with arrangement of genes on plant genomes and manipulation of plant genes/ genomes to breed improved varieties of food and industrial crops for high yields and of better quality products. NIPGR was established to contribute in the achievement of such hopes as a part of national effort for meeting the challenges in the midst of fast pace of international genomic research and grasping of opportunities on long-term basis. 
Registration: There is no registration fees for attending the workshop. However, only 50 seats are available. Registration shall be done on first-cum-first served basis. Registration will be closed after confirmation to 50 participants. 

Presentations: Workshop will have only invited lectures & conducted presentations by the Eminent Speakers & Experts.

For any query please contact: Dr. D.D. LAL, (Organizing Secretary): Email :; Tel.: +91-124-2845329. 

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