M S SWAMINATHAN RESEARCH FOUNDATION
Third Cross Street, Taramani Instituional Area, Chennai 600 113
Tel: 044 2254 1229, 2254 2791     Fax: 044 2254 1319

Workshop on Open Access

Overview

All scientists need to publish their findings. Indeed, research is incomplete as long as it remains unpublished. The last few years have witnessed the unprecedented rise in the subscription costs of journals and even well-endowed institutions in rich countries find it difficult to retain journal subscriptions. The situation in developing countries like India is even worse. Besides, others in the rest of the world do not really read much of the work that we do in India. What is more, if our scientists publish their papers in expensive journals, then even other Indian scientists do not read them, as not many Indian institutions may subscribe to those journals. It is for this reason that the open access (OA) movement is gaining ground around the world - both in the advanced countries and in the developing countries. Indeed, OA will be of much greater advantage to India than to the western countries.      

Physicists have been placing their preprints and postprints for well over 13 years in a centralized archive called arXiv, which has more than 15 mirror sites including one located in India (Matscience, Chennai). There are several other centralized archives such as Cogprints (for cognitive sciences), CiteSeer (for computer science) and RePEc (for economics). Currently, institutional archives are favoured, as they work to satisfy the felt needs of both individual scientists and their institutions. There are at least three sets of software available, all of them free, to set up such interoperable institutional archives. This workshop aims to help Indian scientists (representing general and agricultural universities and government laboratories under the various councils and departments) to acquire the skills necessary to be able to set up and maintain institutional open archives. This workshop will provide training in Eprints software developed at the University of Southampton and the Open Archives Interoperability protocol.    

There is great interest in open access around the world. In the USA, Congressman Martin Sabo has introduced a bill suggesting that findings of all publicly funded research must be made freely available to all. In the UK, the Parliament has appointed a committee to inquire current and potentially useful practices in science publishing. Several discussion lists are actively promoting exchange of views on open access. The Budapest Open Access Initiative is providing funds to promote open access initiatives.

In India, INSA devoted a whole day for a seminar on open access at its annual meeting held at NCL, Pune, in late December 2003. Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, held two workshops on open access journals in March 2002.      

The Workshop

On a suggestion from Prof. M S Valiathan, President of the Indian National Science Academy, the Bioinformatics Centre of the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation will be holding two identical three-day workshops with a view to developing a cadre of open access experts in Indian higher educational institutions and government laboratories. We expect that before the end of the year at least a dozen institutions will have their own institutional archives up and running. There will be 20-24 participants in each workshop. Each participant and the faculty will have an Internet-connected computer on his/her desk. 

Dates: 2-4 May 2004 and 6-8 May 2004

Venue:  M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Sambasivan Auditorium

The Faculty: The workshop will be conducted by the following four experts, known for their commitment to promoting this technology worldwide: Prof. Leslie Chan of the University of Toronto and Bioline International, Dr Leslie Carr of the University of Southampton, Dr D K Sahu of MedKnow Publications, Mumbai, and Dr T B Rajashekar of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. All of them have considerable hands-on experience in open access.

Participants: Higher educational institutions and government research laboratories (under the different Councils and Departments) may nominate candidates in the prescribed form. [Heads of these institutions may kindly ensure that an institutional archive is set up within three months after the conclusion of the workshop]. 4048 candidates will be selected. Participants will either be scientists or be librarians. The important thing is they should be computer savvy and committed to the cause of open access and be able to persuade scientists (faculty and students) in their respective institutions to place their research papers in the archives.

Guest speakers: We are inviting Prof. M S Swaminathan, Prof. M S Valiathan, Dr R A Mashelkar and Prof. P Balaram to give guest lectures (on how they, as working scientists, view open access). Two of them will address the participants of the first workshop and the other two the second workshop.

Workshop Coordinator: Subbiah Arunachalam, Distinguished Fellow, MSSRF, Chennai. His email address is <arun@mssrf.res.in>. Mr S Senthilkumaran and colleagues from the Informatics Division and Ms R V Bhavani of MSSRF will provide technical and managerial support for the event.

Nominations of participants may please be sent to Mr S Senthilkumaran, Associate Director, Informatics, MSSRF, Chennai 600 113, India. His email address is <senthil@mssrf.res.in>.

All participants will be provided guesthouse accommodation and all meals. A few travel grants (First class or Second A/C class by Express train) will be made available, depending on funds available.

Some Relevant Documents
The Bethesda Statement
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/bethesda.htm

Wellcome Trust, "Scientific Publishing: A Position Statement by the Wellcome Trust in Support of Open Access Publishing,"
http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/en/1/awtvispolpub.html

Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities
http://www.zim.mpg.de/openaccess-berlin/berlindeclaration.html

Subbiah Arunachalam: India’s march towards open access
http://www.scidev.net/Opinions/index.cfm?fuseaction=readOpinions&itemid=243&language=1



M S SWAMINATHAN RESEARCH FOUNDATION
Third Cross Street, Taramani Instituional Area, Chennai 600 113
Tel: 044 2254 1229, 2254 2791     Fax: 044 2254 1319

Workshop on Open Access
Nomination

Institution Name and Address:



No. of papers from the Institution annually:

Name of the candidate:

Designation

Date of birth:

Qualification:

Familiarity with Computers and Internet:


Membership in Discussion Groups:


Past experience in Electronic Publishing:


Familiarity with Open Access:



Preferred dates:        2-4 May  (Workshop 1)  /  6-8 May (Workshop 2)

Travel grant:               Needed  /  Not needed





Date:

Signature of the recommending authority:

Signature of the candidate: