For knowledge managers to be able to make the best evidence-based decisions, they need to be able to readily access research evidence. However, a large proportion of knowledge management (KM) research evidence is currently inaccessible because it is locked away behind journal paywalls. As I’ve previously alerted, this approach to academic publishing runs counter to the practice of knowledge sharing, which a fundamental aspect of KM.
An alternative to paywalled journals is open access publishing, which we’ve discussed in a number of articles. This has included providing advice on how you can be part of the “open movement” and “work open”.
While there’s a growing trend towards open access publishing, there’s still a long way to go, with only around one-third of scholarly literature currently being open access. With this in mind, open access advocates in India have come together to make the Delhi Declaration on Open Access. Further signatories to the declaration are invited.
The South Asian region, home to 24% of the world’s population faces major challenges such as hunger, poverty and inequality. These challenges become the collective responsibility of scholars and experts in research universities across the country. Consequently, it becomes imperative that research institutes share scientific research outputs and accelerate scientific research.
However, the preamble also alerts that while India has a high volume of academic publishing, only a small proportion is currently open access:
As per the Scimago Journal & Country Rank … India ranks 9th in the year 2016 … However, 82% of them are not Open Access and the Institutional Repositories in India are sparsely populated in spite of having Open Access mandates in place.
The declaration seeks to advance open access publishing through a 10-point plan:
We, the contributors and signatories of this declaration, members of the Open Access India, Open Access communities of practice in India and the attendees of the OpenCon 2018 New Delhi held on 3rd Feb., 2018 at Acharya Narendra Dev College, Kalkaji, New Delhi (University of Delhi) agree to issue this declaration:
- We advocate for the practice of Open Science (sharing research methods and results openly which will avoid “reinventing the wheel”) and adoption of open technologies for the development of models for sharing science and scholarship (Open Scholarship) to accelerate the progress of research and to address the real societal challenges.
- We will strive to publish our interim research outputs as preprints or postprints (e.g. Institutional Repositories) and encourage our peers and supervisors to do the same to make our research open and actionable in a timely manner.
- We will practice and encourage researchers and scientists to implement openness in peer-reviewing and other editorial services, influence the scholarly societies to flip their journals into Open Access and will contribute for the development of whitelist of Open Access journals in India adhering to the “Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing”.
- We will garner support of the relevant stakeholders (scholars, journal editorial teams, university libraries, research funders, authorities’ in-charge of dissemination of scholarship in higher education) for spearheading the Open Access movement.
- We will take forward the concept of Open Access to further bring all the publicly funded research outputs (not limited to journal literature alone) to be freely available under open licenses to the public to use, reuse and share in any media in open formats.
- We will impress upon policy makers to adopt an open evaluation system for research and an institutional reward system for practicing openness in science ,scientific communications and academic research across disciplines including Humanities and Social Sciences.
- We will support and work for an alternate reward system in recognition and promotion not in terms of the ‘Impact Factor’ of the journals, but the ‘Impact’ of the articles/scholarship in science and the society and impress upon all the scientists/scholars, research funders, research institutes, universities, academies and scholarly societies to sign the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).
- We strongly agree with the Joint COAR-UNESCO Statement on Open Access, Jussieu Call [for Open science and bibliodiversity] and Dakar Declaration [on Open Access Publishing in Africa and the Global South]. And will also follow the international initiative Open Access 2020, to develop roadmaps to support sustainable Open Access scholarly communication models which are free of charge for the authors and free of charge availability to the readers.
- While learning from South South cooperation on Open Access, will work for developing a framework for Open Access in India and South Asia: National Policies for Open Access and country-specific action plans will be formulated aimed at making Open Access as the default in India and South Asia, by 2025.
- For creating more awareness on Open Access, infrastructure, capacity building, funding and policy mechanisms, as well as incentivizing for the Open Access, we come forward to share success stories, studies and discussions during the Open Access Week.
Also published on Medium.