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Inaugural EPT Award for Open Access

by Prasad Krishna last modified Dec 31, 2011 10:46 AM
The Electronic Publishing Trust for Development is pleased to announce the winners of a new annual award to be made to individuals working in developing countries who have made a significant personal contribution to advancing the cause of open access (OA) and the free exchange of research findings.

We received 30 proposals from organisations in 17 developing countries on four continents, naming individuals who have worked hard to promote OA and who have achieved substantial progress. The selection of a single winner was extremely difficult as we received nominations for so many individuals who have made impressive strides by any or all of the following means:

  • establishing OA institutional repositories;
  • setting up or encouraging conversion to OA journals;
  • achieving establishment of OA mandates requiring research to be OA on publication, or other policy developments;
  • advocating OA via seminars, publications, workshops, videos;
  • training others in the technology of setting up IRs;
  • preparing and establishing e-learning projects;
  • working towards the acceptance of Creative Commons licensing arrangements for research publications;
  • developing software for use in OA practices.

Because of the high standard of the applicants, we have decided to name a single winner, but also to recognise three other individuals who were very close runners-up. All will receive a certificate and the winner will receive in addition an engraved plaque in the next few weeks.

We are very happy to announce that the winner of the inaugural award is Dr Francis Jayakanth of the National Centre for Science Information, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.  Dr Jayakanth played a significant role in the establishment of India’s first institutional repository (IR) (http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in). He now manages the IR and has provided technical support for establishing IRs in many other universities and institutes in India. He has been the key resource person at many events to train people in setting up IRs and OA journals. He has delivered presentations on IRs, OA journals, the OAI protocol, OAI compliance, the benefits of OA to authors and institutions and the role of libraries. He has developed a free and open source software tool (CDSOAI), which is widely used.

The Indian Institute of Science is the most prestigious institute in India and its IR now holds >31,400 records, making the century-old institute's research far more globally visible than before. The University Grants Commission in India has been impressed by the IISC’s IR and has directed all universities in India to replicate this effort.

Dr Francis Jayakanth can indeed be considered an OA ‘renaissance man’, an advocate and technical expert in all aspect of Open Access development and an inspiration to all, both at the research and policy level.
The EPT is proud to congratulate Dr Jayakanth as our first Award winner. We believe this Award and the example of our first winner will inspire many others and lead to similarly impressive nominations in 2012.

The runners-up for this award were (in alphabetical order): 

  • Ina Smith, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa;
  • Tatyan Zayseva, Khazar University, Azerbaijan; 
  • Xiaolin Zhang, National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The EPT wishes to congratulate them and all who have been proposed, since without exception they have made a significant personal contribution to the sharing of research findings across the world.  We will be sharing some of their stories and successes on our blog over the next few weeks.

Electronic Publishing Trust for Development

Web site http://www.epublishingtrust.org
EPT Blog http://www.epublishingtrust.blogspot.com

What is Open Access?

Open Access provides the means to maximize the visibility, and thus the uptake and use, of research outputs. Open Access is the immediate (upon or before publication), online, free availability of research outputs without any of the restrictions on use commonly imposed by publisher copyright agreements. It is definitely not vanity publishing or self-publishing, nor about the literature that scholars might normally expect to be paid for, such as books for which they hope to earn royalty payments. It concerns the outputs that scholars normally give away free to be published – journal articles, conference papers and datasets of various kinds.

Not only scholars benefit from Open Access. They are the most obvious beneficiaries, perhaps, because their work gains instant worldwide visibility, and they also gain as readers if much more world research is available on an Open Access basis for them to access freely and read. But there are many other beneficiaries, too.

Research institutions benefit from having a management information tool that enables them to assess and monitor their research programmes, and they have a marketing tool that enables them to provide a shop window for their research efforts. The same advantages apply to external research funders who need to be able to access and keep track of outputs from their funding, and measure and assess how effectively their money has been spent. They also can ensure that the results of their spending have had the widest possible dissemination. 

It is because Open Access is so much in the interest of research funders and employers that an increasing number of them around the world are introducing Open Access policies that require their funded researchers to provide Open Access to their work.

The advantages of Open Access for science and scholarship are, in brief:

  1. Open Access brings greater visibility and impact
  2. Open Access moves research along faster
  3. Open Access enables better management and assessment of research
  4. Open Access provides the material on which the new semantic web tools for data-mining and text-mining can work, generating new knowledge from existing findings

 

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