An Open Access Policy Committee has drafted a policy to enhance access to publicly funded research by setting up a national open access (OA) repository under the oversight of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST). Reproduced in full here:

This is a very good move that that will highlight what OA can do to spur scientific research and science communication in the country. It will also

  • foster a “richer research culture” as the draft says,
  • increase accountability and tractability of public funds and the research it sponsors, and
  • make the process of resource selection/allocation more transparent.

Some quick points:

  1. Accountability of DBT/DST-controlled research by mandating uploaded papers to mention grant ID.
  2. Papers should be deposited in OA repositories once accepted by a journal, but OA will be enabled only when embargo lifts. So maybe the DBT/DST OA repositories will be like a national pre-print server – but depends on the nature of the embargo
  3. The paper (pre-print?) will be OA whether or not the journal is OA. Moreover, “Publisher agrees to provide to Author within 14 days of first publication and at no charge an electronic copy of the published Article in a format … that preserves final page layout, formatting, and content. No technical restriction, such as security settings, will be imposed to prevent copying or printing of the document. ” What if highly profitable non-OA journals based outside the country (which researchers aspire to publish in to secure advantages in non-DBT/DST settings) disagree?
  4. An author who cannot furnish his/her publication ID will not be considered for promotions, fellowships, research grants, etc., if his/her institution is under the administrative control of DBT/DST. On the other hand, how will conflicts of interest/nepotism be prevented in this regard?
  5. The DBT/DST will bear the cost of maintaining the central repository, which should eliminate conflicts of interest arising from payment-for-publication. Will the DBT/DST help set up institutional repositories? Since these IRs have to be “interoperable”, what are the standards the administration has in mind?
  6. What about research that is funded by private parties? What fraction of research funding should the DBT/DST bear for the paper to be mandatorily deposited in an OA repository?

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