Workshops on Electronic Publishing
Bangalore, March 2002


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Workshop One Participants

Workshop Two Participants

Resources on Electronic Publishing

E-mail discussion forum


A suggestion for a workshop on electronic publishing for Indian science, technology and medicine editors was first formally made in April 2001 at a meeting of editors of Academy journals and a few other invitees. One of the invitees was Prof. Subbiah Arunachalam of the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai. This meeting was called by Prof. N. Mukunda, Editor of Publications and a Vice President of the Academy, to apprise Academy editors of the highlights of the Second ICSU-UNESCO International Conference on Electronic Publishing in Science, which took place in Paris in February 2001. Prof. Mukunda attended the Paris meeting as a member of the ICSU Committee on Dissemination of Scientific Information, and Prof. Arunachalam was an editor of the proceedings of the meeting.

At the Academy meeting both Prof. Mukunda and Prof. Arunachalam drew attention to two regional electronic journal server initiatives. These are SciELO, Scientific Electronic Library Online, a service delivering full text of journals from several Latin American countries, and AJOL, African Journals OnLine. The Academy's own beginning in providing its journals free on the Internet was reviewed. And, while there was no proposal for Academy to create an electronic journal service for Indian journals, the suggestion was made that Academy could promote the practice of electronic publishing to other publishing organizations in India through a workshop. Subsequently, Arunachalam did the required groundwork of identifying resource persons and funding agencies.

Two workshops were proposed, one in Bangalore (South India) and one in another city, preferably in North India. We looked for a facility with at least 20 Internet-connected PCs. The idea was to take maximum advantage of the workshops and the expertise of the resource persons, and have 20 participants in each workshop. Bangalore has had such a facility in the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) for some years now. This is the Internet School in the Digital Information Services Centre of IISc. Academy then explored the possibility of holding the second workshop at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics / University of Pune in Pune, and the National Institute of Science Communication (NISCOM) in New Delhi. But neither had a facility that could accommodate 20 participants, and it was decided that both workshops would be held at IISc in Bangalore.

Four persons were identified and requested to conduct the workshops. All agreed, and Academy wrote to several funding agencies for financial support. Academy obtained financial support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada, for the travel of Prof. Leslie Chan of the University of Toronto, Canada, and Bioline International. The British Council offered financial support for the travel of Barbara Kirsop of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development in the UK. It took a while to find travel support for Dr Abel Packer of BIREME, Brazil, and SciELO, but eventually Dr Packer could not come owing to other engagements. Dr Packer did send a PowerPoint file on SciELO, which was presented by Chan and Kirsop. Prof. Kapil Paranjape of The Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai, and a member of the Committee on Electronic Information Communication (CEIC) of the International Mathematical Union, also had pressing academic engagements that forced a last-minute search for a replacement for him. Prof. Gadadhar Misra and Prof. V. Pati of the Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore, and Prof. D. P. Patil of the Indian Institute of Science then offered to present the topics that Prof. Paranjape had originally planned. Dr T. B. Rajasekhar of the National Centre for Science Information of IISc also gave a presentation on metadata in the second workshop.

Academy also received financial support from INASP (International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications), plus some literature for distribution to participants. We also received financial support from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Department of Biotechnology of the Government of India.

The workshops were intended primarily for editors / editorial support staff / computer support support staff of Indian nonprofit science, technology and medicine journals and publishing organizations. The workshop announcement and invitation were sent to about 70 journals and organizations. Each journal/organization was invited to nominate up to four persons or ask their staff to apply directly on an application form that was sent with the announcement. More than 50% of the journals invited were medical. The response was much less than we expected, and there was no need for selection from among the applicants. However, in two cases we had to restrict the number of participants from the same journal/organization to two. Eventually there were a few cancellations, which allowed participation of three Academy staff in each workshop.

The aim of the workshops was to address issues that relate to establishing electronic editions of journals in parallel with existing print editions, and to make participants aware of the rationale, economics, procedures and technologies of electronic publishing. Open archives was also part of the content. Considerable time was to be devoted to hands-on sessions at PCs for creating electronic versions of journal papers, metadata templates, and some site management. Participants were asked to bring along an electronic word processor file of a submitted manuscript for use in the hands-on sessions. At the end of the workshops it was expected that participants would have the ability to produce a searchable electronic version of their journal. The overarching concern behind the idea of the workshops is the urgent need to increase visibility of Indian journals by making them available on the Internet in formats that take advantage of search and retrieval procedures.

Please send comments, suggestions to N. A. Prakash at the Indian Academy of Sciences.

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