Centre for Internet & Society


Research Agenda

  1. Documenting and analysing the development impact and total cost of ownership of open/closed/semi-closed standards being used, considered or mandated by different markets (public/private, state/national, rural/urban). Examining the degree of compliance to these standards, for example, review of e-governance websites and review of cybercafé infrastructure.

  2. Documenting and analysing standard setting in national and at international fora (process, participants, submissions and conclusions). Correlating market and government adoption of various standards and its impact on competition, price control and technology penetration.

  3. Collecting, archiving and standards for Indic language computing (keyboard layouts, encoding, fonts) and development (glossaries, message catalogues, dictionaries and thesauruses) perspective. Proposing solutions for various technical roadblocks that prevent large scale adoption of standards in Indic language computing. Designing algorithm and prototypes for converters between legacy standards and contemporary open standards.

  4. Auditing e-governance infrastructure and services for adherence to accessibility related open standards. Design migration plans for infrastructure and services that do not adhere to globally accepted open standards.

Intervention Agenda

  1. Provide feedback to the open standards policy document to be published by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.

  2. Advocate that all Government-to-citizen interfaces are based on open standards to ensure that citizens don’t have purchase or pirate software in order to interact with the government.

  3. Advocate for the adoption of European Union-IDABC style Government Interoperability Frameworks (GIF) including national definitions of “open standards” that are FOSS friendly.

  4. Advocate that all Government-to-Citizen interfaces adhere to accessibility related open standards to ensure use by disabled, illiterate, neo-literate and aged citizens.

  5. Advocate for technology- and vendor-neutral tenders which mandate the use of open standards where appropriate for government ICT purchases.

  6. Advocate the use of open standards for the purposes of archiving, media-monitoring, dissemination of research inputs/outputs and Right to Information/Freedom of Information activities by publicly-funded organisations.


  1. Roadmap for Open ICT Ecosystems – Berkman Centre for Internet and Society

  2. Research outputs of the Government Interoperability Framework (GIF) Project managed by Asia Pacific Development Information Programme – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-APDIP)

  3. Noooxml.org – Campaign against OOXML

  4. Consortium.info – Website managed by Andrew Updegrove

  5. Open Video Bill of Rights

  6. Dynamic Coalition for Open Standards – Internet Governance Forum

Open Access


Most research and knowledge generation in India (and elsewhere) happens owing to public funding. As new knowledge is built on what is already known, open and free access to what is already known will speed up generation of new knowledge. That is why funding agencies such as the research councils and the Wellcome Trust in the UK, and NIH and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the USA have mandated open access for research they support. The Faculty of Arts and Science and the Faculty of Law at Harvard University and the professors at the School of Education at Stanford University have adopted a mandate for making all their research publications open access.

In India open access is picking up rather slowly. About a hundred Indian journals are open access journals—actually hybrid journals with the print version earning subscription revenue and the online version given away free—and there are about 35 open access archives. Only one institution—NIT, Rourkela—has mandated open access for faculty research publications.

India has an excellent open educational resource programme, NPTEL, jointly managed by the IITs and IISc, in which lectures by first rate teachers (delivered at the IITs and IISc) are filmed and made available in three formats: web, video and YouTube. This programme is supported by the Ministry of HRD.

Intervention Agenda

  1. We need to design and implement a focused open access advocacy programme. It should have two components: top down and bottom up. While generally bottom up programmes reaching out to the grassroots are a better approach, in India we may have to use the top down approach as well (as we are still hierarchical and feudal).

  2. The top down part should address the science advisers (there are two of them, PSA and SAC), the secretaries and senior technocrats in the Ministries and Departments relevant to S&T (DST, DSIR, DBT, Earth Sciences, DAE, DRDO, ISRO, CSIR, ICAR, ICMR, etc.), Chairmen of UGC, AICTE, the Indian Medical Council, the Minister of S&T, and parliamentarians.

  3. The bottom-up part should focus on publishing researchers (professors, readers, post-docs, PhD students, chairpersons of department, deans, librarians, vice chancellors, etc., in universities; research scientists and directors in research laboratories; editors of research journals; and academies and professional societies).

  4. We need to promote the setting up of interoperable institutional open access archives.

  5. We need to promote open access journals. Many Indian journals are published by professional societies and research institutions.

  6. We need to facilitate training programmes for setting up and running institutional archives and for converting journals into open access journals. Expertise for conducting such training is available at IISc-NCSI, NIC, ISI-DRTC, etc. If need be, we could even help organize training programmes with experts from elsewhere (e.g. University of Southampton for the institutional archives part and the Open Journal System or Bioline International for the OA journal part).

  7.  There is widespread misunderstanding about authors' rights.  By and large Indian researchers give away copyright to journal publishers. They just sign blindly on the dotted line in the copyright agreement form sent by the publisher. We should launch a campaign to persuade authors to use an addendum (readily available from ARL and Science Commons). We should also talk to funding agencies and heads of institutions about the need to retain copyright to work performed in India with public funding.

  8. We should identify organizations that are likely to support our programmes and plan joint programmes/ projects. For example, we can work with the Society for Scientific Values, New Delhi, in creating awareness on copyright related issues. We can work closely with IISc-NCSI on training programmes.

  9. We can institute some awards to recognize meritorious contributions to the promotion of open access.

  10. In the West many studies have been carried out to demonstrate that open access helps improve visibility and citability. We can carry out similar studies in India.

  11. We can promote science evaluation methods using open access data (Google Scholar, for example).


  1. Bibliography of open access


  1. Open Access News [a blog maintained by Prof. Peter Suber]


  1. Open Access: Opportunities and Challenges, a Handbook, EUR 23459, European Commission Directorate General for Research, 2008.

  2. The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, a blog maintained by Heather Morrison. http://poeticeconomics.blogspot.com/

  3. John Willinsky: The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA), 2005.

  4. Open Access to Knowledge and Information: Scholarly Literature and Digital Library Initiatives – the South Asian Scenario, by Anup K Das (Unesco Regional Office, New Delhi), 2008.

  5. Richard Poynder's series of interviews with open access experts, Open and Shut.

  6. American Scientist Open Access Form (Listserv) moderated by Stevan Harnad.

  7. Association of Research Libraries SPARC OA Forum

  8. Writings of Stevan Harnad, Alma Swan, Barbara Kirsop, Leslie Chan