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Indian Government will launch “One Nation, One Subscription”

Indian Government announced the “One Nation One Subscription” initiative for scholarly journals. Indian researchers need to pay a huge amount every year to access the scholarly literature, and they can subscribe to such journals individually or they can access these academic resources via library database. Almost all major institutions in India have some hybrid journals (subscription-based open-access journals) in their library database and they have to pay a huge amount for these resources.

According to the latest report published by the Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy of the Government, now people can access such scholarly literature from a dedicated platform and they do not need to pay any subscription fee. A draft on “One Nation, One Subscription” has been prepared by the Government of India and the Department of Science and Technology, but it is not yet approved by the  cabinet.

Leading publishers like Elsevier, Springer Nature, John Wiley & Sons, MDPI AG, Hindawi, Informa PLC, and SAGE Publications are earning more than two million dollars per year from the subscriptions. Elsevier is dealing with 17 million documents and more than 40,000 e-books every year, and they have published 5, 00,000 plus articles in their 2,500 journals. Indian Government do not force any publisher to give their subscription, but they can negotiate with these publishers to support their One Nation-One Subscription plan. If this bill will be approved by the cabinets by the next year, then India will be the first country in the world that can give access to the paywalled articles to all Indian citizens free of cost. Peter Suber, the director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication in Cambridge, Massachusetts stated that “if India could do this then other countries will be interested.”

However, the draft has been prepared, but it is not yet submitted to the cabinet for approval. So we hope that India will become the world’s first country with the largest academic resources. But, the question is how does the small publishers will be sustained? The largest publication houses have multiple products to gain their revenue, but small publishers need adequate support to sustain their journals and scholarly literature.

Supriyo Chakraborty, Founder Director of Penprints Publication stated that “it is really difficult to manage individual or small journals, and there is no funding available for non-institutional publication. Either, we have to provide publication support to such scholarly journals or government has to take some initiative. We are publishing an open-access scholarly journal, Litinfinite Journal at free of cost, and we do not have any subscription fees or APC (Article Processing Charges). We are also looking for such open-access journals that require publication support and we can give publication services without taking any position of their journals/institution.”

Mr. Chakraborty added that “Penprints Publication is a unique platform where institutions, associations and academic individuals can publish their open-access journal or they can convert their printed journals into Open-Access at minimum cost.”    

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