The research publishing industry has traditionally been controlled by 3-4 business concerns, including Elsevier, who operate for their own narrow gains and completely overlooks the concerns of the scientific community at large. Open Access repositories such as as figshare, opendepot, arxiv, etc. have come up. However, the present 'journal-system' prevents such ideasfrom being fully successful. Various governments, universities, scientific groups and even publishing houses have been trying to make the world of dissemination of research outputs more open. arxiv is an Open Access repository run by the Cornell University. OpenDepot is another, run by the University of Edinburgh. The Macmillan publishers have let Mark Hahnel to form Figshare. Figshare in particular looks the most promising as it lets scientists to share all of their research (not only papers, but also research data, including negative reselts). The Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) is a public statement of principles relating to open access to the research literature. It arose from a conference convened in Budapest by the Open Society Institute on December 1–2, 2001 to promote open access – at the time also known as Free Online Scholarship. Time has shown us how zero control by a handful of individuals over the society and complete control of the community, as a whole, over itself brings about positive changes. Less the control by individuals or groups and more the control of the complete set of individuals, more is the positive change. The history of the printing press is a case in point. While history made a mockery of the control-freaks, it proved right the few individuals, who believed in the intellectual capacity of the masses. Intellectual Nazism should be a thing of the past and we should move away from such self-defeating practices.
As more and more researchers embrace Open practices, irrespective of the influence of any kind of authority and affiliations, a new free world of debate and discussions will truly open up.
In the words of Erasmus, a Latin scholar and a Catholic reformer, ‘To what corner of the world do they not fly, these swarms of new books? It may be that one here and one there contributes something worth knowing, but the very multitude of them is hurtful to scholarship, because it creates a glut, and even in good things, satiety is most harmful…(printers) fill the world with books, not just trifling things (such as I write, perhaps), but stupid, ignorant, slanderous, scandalous, raving, irreligious and seditious books, and the number of them is such that even the valuable publications lose their value.’
Erasmus’s fear pretty much sums up the apprehensions of today’s ‘intellectual elites’ and ‘printing powerhouses’. In todays world too, the Internet has brought about a transformation of the society. This is a tool that can be used for free dissemination of knowledge and of research. However, a few people even today tend to believe that free dissemination of research (that results in free and fair debates and discussions of the works) would bring about a ‘end of the world’ situation for science. They are of the opinion that they ought to have as much control as possible over the dissemination of research works in order to keep the flag of science flying. These handful of people have the audacity to believe that they must be the ‘chosen ones’ to boss over the whole of the scientific community. These are the people who oppose Open Science and Open Knowledge movements.
What change do we want to make? (A description of what we want to change about the status quo, in the world, your personal vision for this area)
Vitayard is a research-sharing platform of the 'scavenging' type, aiming to make the process of disseminating scientific research more open. Vitayard aims to incorporate not only Open Access but also Open Research into the whole process of publication of scientific research. Over some years now, the push has been towards making the process of dissemination of research more open. Scientists feel the need to have a more efficient model and Vitayard comes in here. It crawls research that is shared through the Open Access Repositories and brings out monthly issues with the selected entries.
We aim to have more editors on board, who will continuously pick up research items of their choice from the Open Access repositories mentioned earlier. This way, there will be a seamless marriage between such repositories and the new Vitayard system. Once successful, this is sure to disrupt the existing monopoly of the handful of publishing houses over research dissemination and bring about positive change. Scientists and researchers will have free access to the outputs of Vitayard and this way they will have even better chances of collaborating with their peers. Participation of the universities and research concerns will help in making the change faster. The numbers of our editors will not be limited as this would be a completely democratic and crowdsourced process. Besides this, we also plan to launch a research search engine in near future that will crawl the traditional journals and open up their content for the scientific community.