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The Indian government has decided to reverse a 50-year-old policy banning foreign ownership of scientific, technical and medical journals, part of a broader prohibition on all foreign-owned publications, including newspapers.

In a move that reflects its commitment to globalisation, the government has agreed that in future up to 74 per cent of the capital of such publications can be held outside India. As a result, foreign publishers with minority Indian partners will be able to take advantage of the cheaper production costs in India.

India’s relatively large scientific community already offers a ready market for such publications, while many Indian scientists hope that the government’s move will give them greater access to journals they are currently unable to afford.

N.K. Gupta, director of the state-owned National Institute for Science Communication, the largest publisher of Indian science journals, describes the move as “a positive step”. P. Balaram, editor of Current Science, published by the Indian Academy of Sciences in Bangalore, says that the additional funding for technical publication will be very welcome.

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