Pre-Christmas, India’s department of science and technology (DST) and department of biotechnology (DBT) played Santa to the Indian scientific community when they unveiled the country’s new open access policy this month.
The new policy will help researchers working on funding from either of these two departments under the ministry of science and technology to publish in journals of their choice. The departments hope that researchers will publish in “high quality, peer-reviewed” journals. The authors of such papers will have to deposit copies of the final papers and supporting data in institutional repositories where the information can be accessed by the public.
In essence, it is a big leap for the open access environment in the country. The policy intends to “enhance public exposure of research.” By maximising the distribution of these publications through free online access, the Indian government also wants to 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”.
The policy notes that “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.”
From the funding year 2012-23, authors writing with DST or DBT grants will have to deposit their papers to the institutional repositories within two weeks of acceptance by a journal. They will also have to submit manuscripts of their earlier publications even if they are unrelated to current projects funded by DBT or DST. Journal embargoes will be honoured by these repositories to make the papers openly accessible.
In order to reach the policy to researchers across the country, institutes under DBT and DST will celebrate “Open Access Day” during the International Open Access Week with sensitising programmes.