Prospects of open access to Indian agricultural research: a case study of ICAR
Guttikonda, Aneeja and Gutam, Sridhar (2009) Prospects of open access to Indian agricultural research: a case study of ICAR. First Monday, 14 (7). ISSN 1396-0466
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Historically, agricultural research and education in India have been in the public domain. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) was established as an apex organization for effective research coordination among institutions and promotion of agricultural research in the country. Funds for agricultural research institutes were channeled through the ICAR from the central government. For the dissemination of research output, the research journals publishing in India have been, for long, primarily a public funded activity and done mostly by Government agencies. In case of agricultural research, the journals are being published by ICAR and by respective professional societies. Many of these societies are receiving financial assistance partly from ICAR. Each discipline of agriculture is represented by some sort of professional society and for some disciplines, and each society publishes a peer–reviewed research journal. Though many of these journals are distributed for international indexing, full–text database services are very poor. Many of them are not even in the ISI Master Journal list for impact factor or science citation index analysis. The main objective of each author is to have more impact, visibility and readership for their work. These journals publish quality articles after stringent peer review process, but the time lag from submission to publication of an article or production of issue is long. There are instances where the articles sent for review were not returned back due to various reasons. The infrastructure for publishing online is also not available for these journals. Recently, a portal (http://www.indianjournals.com) had started providing online access to some of the journals which are being published by professional societies. Under the National Agriculture Innovation Project (NAIP), ICAR is making available some subscription–based foreign international online journals along with other open access journals. Now the time has come to think about the wider availability of scientific journals without any restrictions. The availability of open source software for the transformation of traditional journals into open access journals and the establishment of open archive online repositories for archiving research will eventually make agricultural research reach to much larger audiences. This will increase the visibility of research output and eventually lead to an enhanced impact factor for many Indian agricultural research journals.
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