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Developing nations should back open access to science

With regard to your news story 'India opens door to foreign science magazines' a few low-cost Indian editions of foreign journals might indeed hit the market and it could have some impact.

However, what would have a greater impact for science in India is a much simpler initiative. If all funding agencies in India insisted that research papers resulting from their funding be archived in an open-access archive, Indian research papers would be more visible and more frequently cited.

In the United Kingdom, for example, the funding agency The Wellcome Trust has already adopted such a policy. In fact, India should have taken a strong position on open access and promoted such initiatives sooner rather than concentrating only on forming library consortiums and subscribing to collections of foreign journals.

Statistics show that articles archived in the Indian Institute of Sciences ePrints archive — which holds in digital format the research output created by the institute's researchers — are frequently downloaded by scientists from more than 100 countries.

Scientists in India and other developing countries should be active in the promotion of open access. Only free and unhindered flow of knowledge can lead to rapid growth of knowledge.