December 11, 2023

Synergizing Global Efforts to Expand Access to Scholarly Scientific Knowledge: A workshop under the aegis of G20–Chief Science Advisers’ Roundtable Concludes Successfully

Synergizing Global Efforts to Expand Access to Scholarly Scientific Knowledge: A Workshop under the aegis of G20–Chief Science Advisers’ Roundtable Concludes Successfully
Hyderabad, 11th July 2023: Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH), the S&T city cluster for the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, hosted a workshop on ‘Synergizing Global Efforts to Expand Access to Scholarly Scientific Knowledge Roundtable’, under the aegis of G20–Chief Science Advisers’ Roundtable (G20–CSAR) today.
The workshop was attended by 42 eminent scientists representing 27 research institutions spanning various domains. These scientists deliberated and formulated action plans for synchronising efforts to achieve open access to the scholarly knowledge created by publicly-funded research. The objective of the deliberation was to create a future where access to scholarly scientific knowledge is not limited by geographical boundaries or economic constraints for the growth of science.
While the G20 nations collectively contribute approximately 85% of the world’s scientific knowledge, challenges persist in the dissemination of research due to high subscription costs and limited accessibility. These barriers, coupled with exorbitant article processing charges (APCs) imposed by journals, hinder the progress of open access initiatives.
For discussing various aspects of the topic in question, the workshop participants were divided into three sub-thematic groups: Access, Data Repository, and Quality of Research and Publication. During the roundtable discussions, eminent researchers and scientists shared their valuable inputs across the three sub-themes.
Various open access models were deliberated. The green open access model stood out as the preferred choice. Robust high quality peer review systems; increasing awareness of open access publishing among researchers via courses, MOOCs, etc.; the inclusion of funding for publishing open access; and ranking the quality of open access journals to identify predatory journals were determined to be the needs of the hour.
The participants also expressed that the ‘One Nation One Subscription’ policy is the way to meet the challenges of escalating publication cost and shrinking research budgets. Hence, all diversified data repositories should be brought under one platform for hassle free access.
With regards to data repositories and data publishing, a well-defined data management policy is crucial as open access cannot be universally applied and must be layered. Such policies should enable researchers to access valuable research data, ensuring transparency while also respecting the complexities of scholarly publishing.
For Quality of Research and Publication, the scientists emphasised that research must be aligned with SDGs and national goals for it to contribute to socio-economic development. An approach to establishing common publication frameworks based on the DORA declaration can be considered for developing the metrics to evaluate research publications.
Additionally, participants at the event stressed the importance of developing a comprehensive research evaluation methodology that considers the holistic contributions of researchers, encompassing the merit of their work as well as its societal impact. Such an approach aims to detach research evaluation from the journal of publication and number of publications, fostering openness and impartial assessment.
As a facilitator of this workshop, RICH played a pivotal role in bringing together research and scientific experts for meaningful discussions on expanding global access to scholarly scientific knowledge. This event marks a significant milestone towards setting a global precedent in sharing and disseminating scholarly publications and knowledge resources.
As the session came to a close, Rashmi Pimpale, CEO of RICH, expressed her gratitude to all the attendees and participating organisations who contributed to the success of the roundtable. “Your dedication and commitment to advancing open access to scientific knowledge will leave a lasting impact on the global scientific community,” she emphasised. “By establishing interoperability between connected repositories, and adopting common publication and research evaluation practices, we can collectively address global knowledge asymmetries and move towards a world where scientific knowledge is freely available to all.”