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Open Science for an Innovative India

(Artist: Paramvir Singh Doon)

Open Science is a shared intellectual space and a new global movement which researchers from across the world, cutting across different disciplines, are increasingly becoming a part of. The term ‘open science’ has generated umpteen definitions. Under the rubric of the present project, the term ‘open science’ is defined as

“Open science broadly refers to scientific inquiries wherein the characteristics of accessibility, transparency, usability, and non- or minimal existence of IP restrictions, are evident and exist throughout all stages of research. It is also characterised by openness to inclusiveness, collaboration, constant and continuous transfer of knowledge between producers and users of knowledge, and prioritisation of research and innovation based on social needs.”

[This is a working definition derived out of an extensive survey of diverse definitions available in different fields of science. The definitions we relied on are detailed in our open lab-note. Among other things, the project aims at constructing a more comprehensive definition with due regard to the changing innovation scenario. As an experimental endeavour in the practice of open science, you are invited to contribute to this process by sharing your ideas/ suggestions/ comments.]

The term ‘open science’ is inclusive, encompassing all the ‘open’ movements like open source software, open access, open data, and open lab notes. ‘Transparency’ as a necessary value of open science includes transparency in methodology, research tools, research data and generation/ communication/ presentation of results. The term ‘accessibility’ stands for availability in online/digital formats at marginal costs and disabled-friendly scientific inquiry. The idea of ‘open data’ implies availability of data for reuse and redistribution, through connecting and integrating data, as well as providing proper metadata. Such an endeavour should also ensure that the data from the research is published immediately on generation of data, or as early as practical. Open science also gives high priority to open problems and citizen science.

Open science can play an important role in boosting innovation in any country/ discipline/ technological sector. It enables the optimal use of scarce resources by enhancing collaboration and transparency, alongside bolstering the reliability and replicability of scientific inquiries. Open, vibrant and transparent practice of knowledge production would also promote rapid diffusion of knowledge and citizen science.

Unfortunately, India’s record in the arena of open science remains poor in spite of its undeniable benefits. Though it is increasingly becoming a global practice in the sphere of innovation, due recognition elided in India. In such a compelling context, this CIIPC project sets the following as its two major objectives:

  • Strengthen the innovation ecosystem in India by facilitating an open science movement
  • Identify the optimal legal infrastructures and policy interventions required for a sustainable open science movement in India

This short presentation will take you through details of the project, including the specific research questions that drive it and the (research) methodologies being adopted.

As part of this project, we have been conducting a survey, the major aims of which include gaining insights on:

  • publication and data sharing practices of Indian researchers; and
  • their attitudes and approaches towards open science, open access, transparency, reproducibility, and collaboration.

The detailed survey methodology can be accessed hereThe first phase of the survey has been concluded, and the data from the same are available hereThe second phase of the survey is currently under way, and researchers working in Indian academic/ research institutions are requested to click here to participate in the same.

The team members have also initiated a crowd-sourced, monthly newsletter on open movements. If you would like to know more details, please click here.

If you have any specific queries or suggestions regarding this project, please drop an email to arul.scaria[at]nludelhi.ac.in

Principal Investigator: Dr Arul George Scaria

Research Fellows: Ms Shreyashi Ray and Mr Satheesh Menon