Some years ago, Prof. Shalini Urs of the University of Mysore made a concerted effort to aggregate one aspect of Indian scholarship through the Vidyanidhi project. Vidyanidhi (Meaning ‘Treasure of Knowledge’ in Sanskrit) is India’s premier Digital library initiative to facilitate the creation, archiving and accessing of doctoral theses. Vidyanidhi is an information infrastructure, a digital library, a portal of resources, tools and facilities for doctoral research in India. Vidyanidhi is envisioned to evolve as a national repository and a consortium for e-theses through participation and partnership with universities, academic institutions and other stake holders. Vidyanidhi enhances access to Indian theses and enlarges the reach and audience for Indian doctoral research works.
Sadly, this has not worked as well as it should have. Most Universities did not, as a matter of policy, join the effort, citing any number of reasons, some of which were anything but reasonable. There is a plaintive plea on the Vidyanidhi site,
We welcome and encourage universities to participate in this collaborative initiative. Our initiative will be strengthened only by your cooperation and participation. Please do join us.
- Vidyanidhi will archive your theses. Vidyanidhi Server is your Dissertatations Server.
- Vidyanidhi will help your doctoral students to write better thesis.
- Vidyanidhi will help you improve the quality of your doctoral programme by developing common frameworks and standards for theses.
- Vidyanidhi will enhance your institution’s visibility in the academic milieu
- Vidyanidhi will help to get your theses be part of Global ETD collection.
- Vidyanidhi will train your doctoral students in E-thesis and E-Publishing, helping them to transit to the emerging new E-Paradigm of academic work and scholarship
- Vidyanidhi will help your students to reinforce their e-publishing knowledge and skills through our online tutorials and manuals.
However, the UGC has now stepped in, and made it mandatory that University theses be made available online, though not necessarily in one place, thereby (and as usual) frittering away our scholarship in dribs and drabs.
- his scholarship was funded by the public and therefore deserves to be made known to them, and that
- he has a moral obligation to make it widely known, and further, that
- this openness enhances his visibility, and therefore his relevance.
“The University hereby authorizes each member of the faculty to exercise any and all copyrights in his or her scholarly articles that are subject to the terms and conditions of the grant set forth above. This authorization is irrevocable, non-assignable, and may be amended by written agreement in the interest of further protecting and promoting the spirit of open access.”
Where do we stand on the issue of Open Access? I believe that it would be useful to evolve a policy on this matter since- as we so often proudly proclaim- our intellectual output grows each year and has increasing impact. It should be possible to safeguard our intellectual properties while sharing the fruits of this largely public funded research.