College students in India can soon access online research journals of international repute that, till now, were available only to premier institutes like the Indian Institute of Science.
In the first phase of an ambitious project, starting October, 550 colleges aided by the University Grants Commission (UGC) will be able to download journals, books, biographical databases and reviews published by academic societies for a nominal fee. The first phase will cover Mumbai colleges like Ruia, Jai Hind, Ruparel, HR and Vaze Kelkar.
This means, a student of chemistry will be able to study original work from 1879 by the American Chemical Society. Or, a student of humanities can read journals published by the Oxford University Press.
Called the National Library and Information Services Infrastructure (N-LIST) for scholarly content, the Rs 18-crore project is an initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Ahmedabad’s Information and Library Network Centre, an autonomous inter-university centre of the UGC, will execute the project and be an intermediary between colleges and publishers.
“Most colleges subscribe to a few magazines and Indian journals. Colleges do not buy international journals or opt for online subscriptions a each download costs about $15 (Rs 750),” said Jagdish Arora, principal investigator, N-LIST. Now, an annual subscription to about 3,500 journals would cost Rs 5,000.
The project will initially cover 6,000 UGC-funded colleges, followed by those that are not funded. E-resources will be available in disciplines like pure science, social science, humanities, management and languages. Universities and technical institutes have had access to online resource, but this would be a first for colleges.
“Studies are incomplete without research. Most libraries don’t have journals due to high subscription fees. Online access for a nominal fee will be value-add,” said Suhas Pednekar, principal, Ruia College.