Vitayard is a research-sharing platform of the ‘scavenging’ type, aiming to make the process of disseminating scientific research more open. Is is a completely crowd-sourced platform, where researchers themselves pick up research content (papers and data) from Open Access repositories. Vitayard aims to incorporate not only Open Access but also Open Research into the whole process of publication of scientific research. Over some years now, the push has been towards making the process of dissemination of research more open. Scientists feel the need to have a more efficient model and Vitayard comes in here. It crawls research that is shared through the Open Access Repositories and brings out monthly issues with the selected entries.
As more and more researchers embrace Open practices, irrespective of the influence of any kind of authority and affiliations, a new free world of debate and discussions will truly open up.
In the words of Erasmus, a Latin scholar and a Catholic reformer, ‘To what corner of the world do they not fly, these swarms of new books? It may be that one here and one there contributes something worth knowing, but the very multitude of them is hurtful to scholarship, because it creates a glut, and even in good things, satiety is most harmful…(printers) fill the world with books, not just trifling things (such as I write, perhaps), but stupid, ignorant, slanderous, scandalous, raving, irreligious and seditious books, and the number of them is such that even the valuable publications lose their value.’
Erasmus’s fear pretty much sums up the apprehensions of today’s ‘intellectual elites’ and ‘printing powerhouses’. In todays world too, the Internet has brought about a transformation of the society. This is a tool that can be used for free dissemination of knowledge and of research. However, a few people even today tend to believe that free dissemination of research (that results in free and fair debates and discussions of the works) would bring about a ‘end of the world’ situation for science. They are of the opinion that they ought to have as much control as possible over the dissemination of research works in order to keep the flag of science flying. These handful of people have the audacity to believe that they must be the ‘chosen ones’ to boss over the whole of the scientific community. These are the people who oppose Open Science and Open Knowledge movements.
–What change do we want to make? (A description of what we want to change about the status quo, in the world, your personal vision for this area)
–Vitayard is a research-sharing platform of the ‘scavenging’ type, aiming to make the process of disseminating scientific research more open. Vitayard aims to incorporate not only Open Access but also Open Research into the whole process of publication of scientific research. The researchers themselves choosing researchoutput (alongwith their comments and observations) in a truly democratic way, eliminates the need to spend heavily on the ‘Peer Review’ process. Over some years now, the push has been towards making the process of dissemination of research more open. Scientists feel the need to have a more efficient model and Vitayard comes in here. It crawls research that is shared through the Open Access Repositories and brings out monthly issues with the selected entries.
What do we want to explore? (A description of the innovations or questions we would like to explore)
–Various governments, universities, scientific groups and even publishing houses have been trying to make the world of dissemination of research outputs more open. arxiv is an Open Access repository run by the Cornell University. OpenDepot is another, run by the University of Edinburgh. The Macmillan publishers have let Mark Hahnel to form Figshare. Figshare in particular looks the most promising as it lets scientists to share
all of their research (not only papers, but also research data, including negative reselts). The Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) is a public statement of principles relating to open access to the research literature. It arose from a conference convened in Budapest by the Open Society Institute on December 1–2, 2001 to promote open access – at the time also known as Free Online Scholarship.
–What we aim at is fast change by using these already existing and vastly successful Open Access repositories as the driving engines. As the Vitayard platform becomes successful in pioneering posititive changes towards a more Open World of knowledge, the future generations will benefit as they will have better access to knowledge than we have. Scientific progress will gain impetus as scientists and researchers will have truly free access to cutting edge research, with a greater chance to collaborate with each other and work together. Citizen Science too will get a boost as more and more people, outside the existing scientific community, have access to all this knowledge and are encouraged to participate in science (the Galaxy Zoo project is one example of how great an impact Citizen Science can have.). Citizen Science will become of greater importance as our knowledge of the universe piles up (for example, the classification of galaxies, nanoparticles, data analysis etc., will require the help of Citizen Scientists). In the next five years, the impact that Vitayard has on the way science is done will be measurable.
What are we going to do to get there? (A description of what we actually plan to do)
–We aim to have more editors ( or free users) on board, who will continuously pick up research items of their choice from the Open Access repositories mentioned earlier. This way, there will be a seamless marriage between such repositories and the new Vitayard system. Once successful, this is sure to disrupt the existing monopoly of the handful of publishing houses over research dissemination and bring about positive change. Scientists and researchers will have free access to the outputs of Vitayard and this way they will have even better chances of collaborating with their peers. Participation of the universities and research concerns will help in making the change faster. The numbers of our editors will not be limited as this would be a completely democratic and crowdsourced process. Besides this, we also plan to launch a research search engine in near future that will crawl the traditional journals and open up their content for the scientific community.
A truly democratic, crowdsourced process for Open Access and Open Research.
Who will benefit from what you propose? What have you observed that makes you think that?
The research community and the public in general. It will be a great step towards realizing the dream of Open Knowledge for everyone. It is about time that the whole world has Open Access to all research output. We have been beta-testing this idea for some time.
What progress have you made so far?
We have been testing the waters for the last few months and it has been a great learning-curve for us. We have a website and a blog and the largest community of researchers in India, who support Open Access to research.
What would be a successful outcome for your idea or project?
A success would mean a fruitful marriage of the ‘journal system’ and the ‘open repository system’, resulting in cutting costs that are spent on the ‘peer review’ process severely. It would also mean that a truely democratic process of publishing, crediting, and measuring the impact of research is finally achieved. Anybody (connected to the internet) would be able to have free and complete access to all the research output that is produced around the world.
Who is on your team, and what are their relevant experiences or skills?
We have die-hard enthusiasts, who have been fighting for Open Access over the years. Researchers themselves are our stakeholders and every single one of them (real ones and not fake ones though) will be an owner.