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Access to Knowledge and Resources

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    B. Chagun Basha

    What are the key challenges in having open access (to knowledge, data, and resources)?
    Should India move towards a unified Open Access policy at the national level?
    Given the scarcity of resources in the scientific ecosystem, is Open Science a viable framework?


    First, I would say that the false prestige of publication in high impact factor for profit journals should be taken away.

    Secondly, the DBT/DST policy should be made as Govt. of India policy and it should be applied to all the research and academic institutes funded by any ministry not only DBT/DST.

    Third, there should be change in the thinking and assessment of the research outputs and the assessment should measure the impact of the science/publication by various alternate means.


    National Data Repository is a clutter of PDF, Excel, Uncurated data-files

    Most CSIR, DST Institutes DO NOT MAINTAIN Database or KNOWLEDGE BASE

    Simply using the term Database does not make one
    Simply using AI does not make any program Artificial Intelligent

    PM Modi did mention this — CHALTA HAI attitude. Take-it-Easy Policy. Just using fancy names and terms for mundane reality


    There is a lot of overlap in understanding the differences between commonly used (abused) terms: Data – Data Structure – Database
    For most people, PDF file or an Excel sheet is everything (All 3 Data, Data-Structure and Database)

    This got confirmed from a reply from RTI on National Data Repository.

    There are numerous international efforts on Data-Standards and Data base models. In subject areas of my interest, I found nearly ZERO participation from India.

    Trivializing Scientific Database creation, curation and usage will only lead to notional data repositories!


    Do we actually have a nationwide repository of scientific data, a database of PhD theses or papers published through government-funded research for example? Even if a central repository does not exist, can we mandate it at an institute level?

    To start, it will be useful to identify what should be part of these repositories, i.e. no data about the number of students, or the number of them who got employed, but more like staff profiles with projects they are working on, papers that they published, list of grants they secured with information about outputs from that grant, grant size, projects, electronic copies of granted PhD theses which were accessible for anyone, even outside the institute. This allows even publications to cite theses as they are accessible.

    Some examples of tools/services I have come across in my previous roles were

    https://researchfish.com/, a service used by UK Research Institutes for tracking outcomes from grant-funded research

    https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/, an example an institute level repository

    https://www.nature.com/articles/sdata201618, a paper talking about The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship

    https://fair-dom.org/, FAIR-DOM Association.

    We can even go further deeper into specific datasets like life science data, clinical data. At this point, I am not sure what level of depth is of value to this conversation. Broad might be a good start.

    Regarding the examples I share, these are definitely examples from UK, but examining them objectively should give us an idea of what we can adapt based on our requirements. If there is prior work more contextual to the indian context in terms of a policy or a prescribed data management plan, kindly share and we could build on that as it might be a better starting point.

    Would love to hear your thoughts.

    Moumita Koley

    The need of research publications and research data sharing is very important to achieve a better and transparent research ecosystem in India. The primary focus of the thematic group, “Access to Knowledge and Resources” of STIP 2020, is enabling sharing of research outputs. Another points that were overlooked so far was research data sharing in FAIR format-this was addresses in the discussion as well.


    Research Funding – The Swaminathan Committee had suggested setting up a National Research Foundation along the lines of similar bodies in other countries. The NRF able to accept contributions – general or tied to specific projects from private and public agencies in India and also from abroad ( for example NRI/PIOs etc.), and also by crowd funding from the public. It should fund R & D in Science,Technology and Innovation, including Social Science projects that have a bearing on STI and Development. The NRF should fund projects by public and private entities, and decide on funding only on merit.
    Funding from CSR – The regulations have been amended to permit businesses to use CSR funds for Research and Development activities. The guidelines should be simplified and easy to apply, and worked out in consultation with business and research stakeholders. They should be widely publicised and online platforms should be set up for projects to be screened and listed for funding.

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