The University of Calcutta has launched an institutional repository to offer paid journals to its researchers. Claiming that knowledge should be “freely accessible” and “not behind paywalls, the vice-chancellor of the varsity, Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee said, “We aim to be pioneers in Open Access Leadership in India. Knowledge should be freely accessible and not behind $30 paywalls. This institutional repository reflects our ethos of innovation and our commitment to make research knowledge accessible to the masses. We do hope that our efforts encourage other top institutes in India to be inspired for similar steps.”
Behind paywall, documents can only be accessed after paying a certain fee which, the varsity claims affects the research output. As per their estimates, over 84.2 per cent of the university’s publications are behind the paywall. “With paywalls, the readership reduces. It is estimated by the University that a whopping 54 per cent of the entire Calcutta University’s research output can be freely archived in their repository (after the embargo period, without breaching publisher copyrights),” the varsity said in an official notice.
Since its launch in April, the platform has a growth of 25 per cent month-on-month impressions. This has been corroborated by an increase in publication downloads. Applied Physics, BioChemistry, and Political Sciences are attracting international reader demographics. It also attracts eyes from the industry and MNC’s. This has opened up potential collaboration avenues for Calcutta University.
The university currently stands steady at seventh position in the NIRF Ranking 2020. With more than 1100+ new publications every year published across varied disciplines, the goal is to transition to a modern research-focused organisation. Asis Chattopadhyay, Pro-VC at the University, who oversaw this initiative said “In the 2019 academic calendar, our publications received 4500+ new citations in Scopus index. We are doing good at the national level. Setting up an open-access platform was the next logical step for us so that we could amplify our scholarly communication. Showcase our research to the global audience, and leave an impact. ”