Sharing cultural heritage in India – Open GLAM – Medium

“The Heritage Lab’s mission is to make museums accessible to people in terms of knowledge and content. We started with choosing objects and creating freely accessible educational content around them for teachers to use in the classroom. Most of the time we have to seek permission to reproduce these object images on our website….

For teachers, developing independent lesson plans (based on the city they are located in) is quite tough because they have zero access to openly reusable Indian museum resources, and their students cannot reproduce these objects in different formats. So teachers and students end up sourcing Indian material from non-Indian, open access institutions like the New York Public Library, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the British Library and Dublin’s Chester Beatty Library.

On a positive note, every year we host Art+Feminism Edit-a-thons (established in 2017) and we get a lot of support from participants in making museum content (images and text) freely accessible on Wikipedia. We would love to do more in terms of creatively re-using museum artworks, but that’s not possible in the current framework….”

#OpenGLAMnow: an upcoming series of webinars to learn to do open at your institution

“We interviewed Larissa Borck for the upcoming series of webinars that the Swedish National Heritage Board will be hosting around Open GLAM and how to open up your digital collection. The webinars will be happening between October and November at morning European time, but they will be recorded and made available. We wanted to explore with Larissa what’s the idea of the webinars, what they expect to obtain from it, and what are their plans for the future….”

Kumsal Bayazit, Elsevier CEO, shares her vision for building a better future in research

“First and foremost, I want to be very clear: Elsevier fully supports open access….

In fact, my professional background is in applying technology to content to help professionals make better decisions. For example, working in the part of RELX that serves legal professionals, I’ve seen the powerful benefits of analytical services that are built on top of freely available content, such as case law. This is why I’m excited by the potential to create value for researchers by applying text-mining and artificial intelligence technologies to the entire corpus of peer-reviewed content. I understand and appreciate the role that open access can play in delivering that vision.

The question is not whether open access is desirable or beneficial — the question is how we get there. My takeaway from my discussions on the topic is that there are many points of view. Publishers are often blamed for not making enough progress, which I think is fair. But it would also be unfair not to recognize the lack of alignment within our communities about the best way forward, which is understandable as this is a multi-dimensional issue that requires substantial problem-solving and action to make progress.

I am a pragmatist, and I commit to working pragmatically with libraries and other stakeholders to achieve shared open access goals. Part of this means acknowledging obstacles where they exist and discussing them openly and objectively so that we can find solutions to overcome them. If we don’t, progress will continue to be slow. I feel optimistic given the extent of commitment to make progress. In that spirit, please allow me to share t some of the obstacles that I have learned about in the last nine months….”

EPFL Open Science Champions – Open Science at EPFL

“In September 2018, EPFL President Martin Vetterli announced the creation of the Open Science Fund to support the best ideas from everyone on campus with a total of CHF 3 Mio over the period 2019-2021.

The first call for proposal attracted nearly 50 propositions submitted between mid-September and mid-December 2018. Eight projects were selected by the members of the open science strategic committee, joined for the occasion by representatives of the various EPFL school, and will receive support to develop ideas fostering open and reproducible research on campus, and beyond. You can find a short description of the laureate ideas below….”

David Wiley steps down and adjourns the Open Education Conference

“Last weekend, at the Open Education Conference in Phoenix, David Wiley, chief academic officer of Lumen Learning and the conference’s organizer for 16 years, announced that this would be its last gathering, or at least the last with him at the helm. The conference, which grew from 40 attendees in 2003 to 850 this year, was a meeting place for advocates of open education, a sometimes hard-to-define goal that often involved the use of open educational resources — free, openly licensed digital textbooks.

“This is not a call for another person or organization to come forward to keep the same conference running the same way into the future. Rather, it’s a call to reset and start over,” Wiley wrote on his blog. “This reimagining must be owned by the community. It must be driven by the community. And it would be inappropriate for me to try to facilitate that process beyond extending a brief invitation.”…

The announcement prompted reactions across blogs and Twitter feeds, with some commentators saying that the announcement represented a fracturing of the tenuously aligned coalition of open education advocates. Michael Feldstein, chief accountability officer at e-Literate, wrote on his blog that differences in the goals and preferred tactics of open education advocates could no longer be bridged. Tensions within the “coalition” of open education supporters had become insurmountable, he wrote.

Many people in the coalition had different goals, Feldstein wrote, such as increasing access to education, improving educational quality or promoting the values of education. They also had different strategies, such as lowering the cost of instructional materials, increasing their quality or fostering autonomy for educators. As awareness and adoption of open educational resources has grown, so have tensions, he said….”

ASECS at 50: Interview with Robert Darnton

“Of the potential solutions, open research practices are among the most promising. The argument is that transparency acts as an implicit quality control process. If others are able to scrutinise our work—not just the final published output, but the underlying data, code, and so on—researchers will be incentivised to ensure these are high quality.

So, if we think that research could benefit from improved quality control, and if we think that open research might have a role to play in this, why aren’t we all doing it? In a word: incentives….”

Can open access bridge the gaps between science and societal impact? | AAS Open Research Blog

“Some people may consider this open access wave as a simply incremental gain, but it really is, in many ways, a revolution. As it stands, people who generate the knowledge are rarely the same people who valorize that knowledge. Instead, it is often third parties who make most value by integrating knowledge from multiple sources. This is a new descriptor of literacy, and we must pay attention to the fact that the more it is shared, the more knowledge becomes useful. Researchers must therefore realize the need to bridge efforts in within the otherwise siloed knowledge industry, with the need to community desires for impact.

I believe that liberating information so that it can be accessed by multiple brains across disciplines will create immeasurable value. Here I mean value not just to academics, but to industry, governments and societies. The adage, “knowledge is power” remains most relevant today. The more of it we have, and the wider we share it, the greater our capacity will be to address our priority needs in key sectors including energy, health, agriculture, infrastructure and education. One might say that while quantity of knowledge has a linear effect on societal impact, the extent to which it is shared will have exponential effects.  

As am writing this, I have an email from one of our Tanzania postgraduate students requesting full text of an article published in 1962 in the East African Medical Journal, which historically had fantastic ratings. The article in question contains work done in northern Tanzania but is unfortunately now behind a paywall. The student can choose to pay for access, send an email to some American or European partner who probably has paid access or repeat the experiments? As it stands, all those options remain on the table, especially since I am, perhaps unreasonably, being adamant that “all which is behind a paywall is immaterial”….”

Open and Shut?: The OA Interviews: K. VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India

“It is, however, clearly problematic that cOAlition S has remained an essentially European initiative. For this reason when, in February, the Indian Government’s Principal Scientific Adviser, Professor VijayRaghavan posted a series of tweets saying that India was joining cOAlition S the news was greeted with great excitement by cOAlition S members, as well as by Plan S supporters like the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas.


The news was greeted with less enthusiasm back home in India, with concerns raised about the cost implications, the likely impact on small journals and publishers, and the way in which it would allow commercial publishers to continue to profit excessively from the research community – see, for instance, here, here and here.


Following Prof. VijayRaghavan’s tweets, however, radio silence set in, with no confirmation that India had formally joined, or any updates on the status of its plans. For this reason many ears pricked up last Friday when, during a lecture he gave at IISc Bangalore to mark Open Access Week, Prof. VijayRaghavan commented, “We are not committed to whatever Plan S does or does not do.” This sufficiently piqued the interest of Vasudevan Mukunth that he sought out Prof. VijayRaghavan and asked for clarification, which led to an interview in The Wire where it was confirmed that India no longer plans to join cOAlition S.


As I had been trying to interview Prof. VijayRaghavan for some months, I too was piqued by his comments and so took to Twitter to again invite him to answer the questions I had sent him in June. He agreed and below are his answers to an updated list of questions I emailed over to him….”

Interview: ‘Everyone Wants Change as Long as It Doesn’t Happen’

“We are not joining Plan S. Plan S is itself evolving, and the terms that we are trying to push is something that we will ask Plan S to push for in their format.

[I asked him in a follow-up email to clarify this point; his reply follows:] Since February 2018, some water has flowed under the bridge. We have done substantial work here and had consultations with government, individual scientists and the academies. Our directions now and the next steps are what I spoke about in my lecture. Plan-S has also taken its steps and moved in some new directions. We are in touch with Plan-S, at present, to the extent that they have presented their current directions at our meeting by video and responded to clarifications we asked.

As we move along, I expect there will be overlap in our directions to open-access. However, our directions will be entirely determined by the interests of Indian academia and of India, for which our understanding of and collaboration internationally with groups such as Plan-S is important….”