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Seminar on Accessible Science: Fostering Collaboration

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As a precursor to the 4th Education G20 Working Group Meeting taking place in Pune during June 19 to 22, 2023, the Department of Higher Education (DoHE), Ministry of Education, Government of India, hosted a 1-day seminar on “Accessible Science: Fostering Collaboration” at IISER Pune on June 16, 2023. This event was organised by the Department of Higher Education in partnership with Elsevier and IISER Pune.

Hon’ble Minister of State for Education Dr. Subhas Sarkar, Shri K. Sanjay Murthy (Secretary, Higher Education, MoE); Dr. Nick Fowler (Chair of The International Association of STM Publishers, and Chief Academic Officer, Elsevier); and IISER Pune Director Prof. Sunil Bhagwat conducted the inaugural session and set the stage for the topics to be discussed later in the day as part of the Seminar. A report titled, ‘The status and relevance of research collaborations for development, considering G20 nations’ was launched on the occasion.

Inaugural session of the 1-day seminar on “Accessible Science: Fostering Collaboration” at IISER Pune on June 16, 2023: (Left to Right) Prof. Sunil Bhagwat (Director, IISER Pune), Dr. Subhas Sarkar Hon’ble Minister of State for Education) , Shri Sanjay K Murthy (Secretary, Higher Education, Ministry of Education), and Dr. Nick Fowler (Chief Academic Officer, Elsevier). A report titled, ‘The status and relevance of research collaborations for development, considering G20 nations’ was launched on the occasion.

Dr. Subhas Sarkar, spoke on the fundamental principle behind accessible science, emphasising the sharing of academic findings, methodologies, and data by removing barriers to knowledge and democratising knowledge. He gave the examples of the Genome India Project and the e-Shodhganga repository of PhD thesis, as open sources of knowledge.

In his introductory speech, Dr. Nick Fowler (Chair of The International Association of STM Publishers, and Chief Academic Officer, Elsevier) highlighted the strides made by India as part of the global scientific endeavour. “If scientific findings become more accessible to the world, this inevitably leads to higher citations and usage of academic research at global scale. And research collaborations are a key component of accessible science,” Dr. Fowler said. 

Following the inauguration of the event, a session to discuss ways to foster collaborations to meet U.N. Sustainable Development Goals was held. Perspectives of various contributors to the research ecosystem were sought, and this offered viewpoints pertaining to government policies, funding agency policies, institutional policies, professional societies, and publishers support system.

Participants at the discussion session included Prof. S. K. Satheesh (IISc Bengaluru and Chief Editor of Current Science (Indian Academy of Sciences); Head of G20 (Research and Innovation) Mr. Piers Purdy, Dr. Ravindra Utgikar (Vice President Corporate Strategy & Marketing at Praj Industries Ltd, Pune); Mr. Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz (SVP, Research Networks, Elsevier, Professor Emeritus, of Campinas, Unicamp, Brazil);  Prof. Amit Agarwal (Dean, International Relations, IIT Bombay); Mr. Mudit Narain, (Formerly Program Director at the Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog and Director, Foundation for Advancing S&T); and Mr. Kaspar Meyer (Head of S&T, German Embassy in India). This session was chaired by Prof. Sunil S Bhagwat (Director, IISER Pune) and Co-chaired by Dr Ayesha Chaudhary (Advisor, Stanford University, Stanford Byers Center for Bio-design, India program; Consultant, World Bank and Adjunct Faculty, IIT Jodhpur)

A panel discussion moderated by Dr. Nagaraj Balasubramanian (Faculty member, IISER Pune) with the above participants was held where aspects related to growth in capacity in terms of infrastructure and human resource were discussed along with inputs from the audience. The importance of interactions among researchers at the global level and various models to achieve this was discussed in this session. 

Panel discussion on identifying ways to improve interactions among members of the researcher community at the global scale was held as part of the one-day seminar on Accessible Science.