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Open Science for an innovative India

Image Source: Open Science 우산 | by eotls4387/ Flickr | licensed under CC-BY 2.0

Context of the project

Open Science is a shared intellectual space and a new global movement in 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

“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, we aim at constructing a more comprehensive definition with due regard to the changing scenarios. 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 science and 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 science and innovation, due recognition elided in India. In such a compelling context, this project was initiated with the following major objectives:

  • Strengthen the science and 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

More details of the project, including the specific research questions and the (research) methodologies adopted, are provided in the Open Science India Report.

As part of this project, we had conducted a survey, the major aims of which included 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 here. The data from the survey are available here. A presentation highlighting major insights from the survey is available here.

Open Science India Report

The Open Science India Report (digital version for public comments) was officially released at the Global Congress on IP and Public Interest, Washington D.C. (September 27, 2018). It summarised the major findings and recommendations from our open science project. The final version of the report, which has incorporated the comments and suggestions from diverse readers across the world, is now accessible in the form of an ebook. For ease of access for persons with disabilities, all chapters of the book have been made available in accessible formats through this folder. If you are encountering any difficulties in accessing the work, please drop an email to arul.scaria(at) and we shall do the needful immediately. The other versions of the report as well as the supplementary materials (incl. data collected as part of the report) can be accessed from the OSF page of the project. 

Other Publications


Principal Investigator: Dr Arul George Scaria

Research Fellows involved in the project: Ms Rishika Rangarajan, Ms Shreyashi Ray, and Mr Satheesh Menon