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Workshop 1

Workshop 2


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 Indeed, research is incomplete as long as it remains unpublished.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 do not really read much of the work that we do in India in the rest of the world. What is more, if our scientists publish their work 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) and Bioline (for biomedical journals from developing countries). Currently, distributed institutional archives are favoured, as they work to satisfy the felt needs of both individual scientists and their institutions. There are several 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 (or distributed) open archives. This workshop will provide training in Eprints software developed at the University of Southampton and the Open Archives Initiative 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, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation will be holding two identical three-day workshops (at MSSRF, Chennai) 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.] 40–48 candidates will be selected. Participants will either be scientists or be librarians/information scientists. 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.

Workshop One, May 2-5 2004

Workshop Two, May 6-8 2004

Guest lectures: 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 <>. 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.