Indian Govt proposes to buy bulk subscriptions of all scientific journals, provide free access to all. Why are they doing this and how is it going to be beneficial ?



I was just reading this article.

I do not know the world of scientific research. So wondering why is the Indian Govt spending money to do this and how is it going to be beneficial ?

In: Other

Because your govt wants citizens with high skill/demand jobs.

This ends up having citizens who can pay more taxes and ability to spend more.

More taxes and economic activity means a more wealthy society.

You’d be surprised how much subscriptions to scientific journals are. The goal is essentially the same as expanding a public library, the Indian government want everybody to have equal access to scientific research, whether they are lay people or researchers. It makes sure that established researchers have access to all of the same information, as well as making sure that independent researchers have access to the research that people who work at universities or companies already do

Well, the basic idea is that scientific journals, much like scientists themselves, need to be supported somehow; staff need to be paid and distribution services maintained. There are various opinions as to how much that support should be when reviewers aren’t paid, but it is clear that somebody has to pay just to keep the lights and servers on if nothing else.

There are two basic approaches out there, both of which have been noted as imposing restrictions on the free flow of scientific information. In the classical model, the journals are supported by charging access fees, most commonly to universities and other institutions. This means that the process of submitting an article is free to the scientist, but the impact of their work is limited to those who can afford the subscription, which has been said to limit the access of scientists in the developing world to cutting-edge research and effectively locks individual laypeople, including “independent researchers” and “citizen scientists” out of the field entirely.

Open access journals, on the other hand, make their results freely available to everyone by charging scientists publication fees. Critics point to two knock-on effects of this practice as especially deleterious: one, it creates an incentive for the journals to be less selective in order to get more publication fees. Two, it means that scientists have to choose between publishing open access and spending their budgets doing more research.

The idea of government funding of journals by buying bulk subscriptions is that neither the readers nor the authors are now economically disincentivized from maximizing both their scientific literacy and the impact of their work. Whether it will have any real benefits remains to be seen.