Tuesday, April 04, 2023

India's proposal for free access to scientific journals among G20 nations


Open access to the scholarly content is important to take the research to the next level and give it momentum that is lost in the long process of publishing in paywalled journals, and also because underprivileged researchers are not able to access them. Countries across the world are finding various ways to make research accessible instantly after publication and also free of charge. India is not an exception to the open access trend that is pervasive worldwide. India firmly backed the open access movement with the One Nation, One Subscription journal access strategy. India’s Ministry of Education said, "The government is going to adopt a "One Nation, One Subscription" (ONOS) policy for scientific research papers and academic journals from April 2023 to ensure access for researchers countrywide, and the government will negotiate with journal publishers for "all people in India" to have access to journal articles under a single, centrally negotiated payment to be made by the government."1

Another recent initiative towards open access is having a national archive and interlinking it with the national archives of G20 countries. India is discussing laying the foundation for a national archive to share open access research among G20 countries. A few more meetings to be held to discuss the agenda and plan for the national archive of India, which is interoperable among the archives of G20 countries. The Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, Prof. Ajay Kumar Sood (March 2023), chairing the G20 Chief Scientific Advisors' Roundtable (CSAR), a government-to-government level initiative of the G20 Presidency, for careful consideration on a critical topic: free and universal access to scientific journals that are behind paywall.

Points for discussion are: 

  • Free of cost, immediate access to the scientific journals
  • Article processing charges and subscription fees of journals
  • Interoperable interlinking of national repositories with international repositories and archives
  • Open access mandate to make publicly funded research widely available.

Prof. Sood said at a media briefing held on March 24, 2023, that "there should be a policy of having all the accepted papers in these archives and interlinking them. This will make science available to everyone in the G20 countries."2 He pointed out that a very large percentage (85%) of scientific knowledge in the world is generated by the G20 member countries. It is found that "the increasing number of scholarly journals are making their articles open access, in spite of that many researchers have found that the Article Processing Charges to publish in open access journals can deter authors from using this option."This is also one of the agenda to discuss and allow the maximum use of scientific journals in the growth of research of G20 countries. Wishing that the aforementioned initiatives will get correctly implemented at the local level and transform the nation's research and development environment.


  1. Ministry sets ‘One Nation, One Subscription’ deal deadline (universityworldnews.com)
  2. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1911981
  3. Open-access publishing fees deter researchers in the global south (nature.com)
  4. India to pitch for open access to research among G20 countries: Principal Scientific Advisor Prof Sood, Health News, ET HealthWorld (indiatimes.com)
  5. One Nation, One Subscription journal-access plan of India - LibCognizance