Open Access Week – Why should you be excited?


It’s October! For the last seven years and this being the eighth, month of October has been particularly exciting for Open Access lovers, who continue to look forward to Open Access Week.

peerjOpen Access as a movement has been evolving rapidly; many startups are leveraging the movement, some of the significant startups of the last year are an Open Access search engine, Openaccessbutton and Open Access publisher PeerJ.

Open Access Week celebrates the success of the movement and sets the tone. The whole week remains exciting and full of activities which include talks, seminars, symposia, or the announcement of milestones in open access. For instance, the Royal Society chose Open Access Week 2011 to announce that they would release the digitized backfiles of their archives, dating back from 1665 till 1941.

Open Access Week provides an opportunity for Academics, researchers, and curious minds to take positive action and to keep this momentum moving forward and make open access the norm in academic and research.

This year on October 20th, from 3:00 to 4:00pm EDT, SPARC and the World Bank will co-host the official kickoff event for International Open Access Week 2014. Open Access Week is from October 20th till October 26th.

Theme for the year 2014 is “Generation Open”. Discussions will focus on the importance of students and early career researchers in their transition to Open Access and how changes in scholarly publishing affect scholars and researchers at different stages of their careers.

“A truly open research literature and scholarly communication system will not only benefit the individual researchers but society as a whole, inducing the seed of knowledge.” says Neeraj Mehta – Co-Founder of RockYourPaper.

Graham Steel, a tireless advocate for Open Access who believes in sharing information as widely and as easily as possible. He firmly believes that paywalls stifle innovation and progress in science.

“At the very moment that most of us carry access to a global information network in our pockets, our ability to tap into the world’s knowledge is eliminated. And it’s not an accident. It’s on purpose. This situation is known as the “price crisis” in scholarly publishing, and it’s hurting the average citizen.” says Steel.

So let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen. Click here to register with OpenAccessWeek and start contributing.


Nadeera NilupamaliAuthor Nadeera Nilupamali is the Co-founder and the Community Manager of RockYourPaper . She can be reached on


Top 5 Emerging Trends to watch out for… in Academic Publishing in 2014

publishing12013 started on a bad news with the death of  Aaron Swartz’, however was a good year for academic publishing. Many important announcements were made, a lot of things were tried for good or for bad. Take down notice to Academia from Elsevier was one of those attempts where the biggest commercial publisher tried to safeguard it’s commercial interest. It was seen as a bad move, as Elseiver was seen as to curb the free flow of knowledge. However, when you look from another point of view, is also a “for profit” company and by allowing academics to upload their research papers and circulate them publicly (copyright of that was of course with Elsevier) it deliberately (or may be not so deliberately) indulged in a practice which  served it’s profits in a way.  However, towards the fag end of 2013 Elsevier also announced flipping of 7 of it’s subscription journals to Open Access from 2014.

There are occasions which marked significant changes in near future to come. I have compiled few of them, which, in larger prospective gives an inside view of emerging trends in academic publishing world.

1. Decline of Commercial Publishers – Though commercial publishers like Elsevier, Springer etc. will still be the major player and will maintain their monopoly over academic publishing, they will however also begin recognizing the importance of Open Access and will start taking it more and more seriously. Elsevier for example, announced towards the end of 2013, about their decision to flip seven of their subscription journals to Open Access in 2014. 

2. Rise of Academic Collaboration – Research community is perhaps the most apt for collaboration. esy cllbrcnCollaboration among researcher will not only benefit the researchers but the research itself. A better research would mean a better community and a better economy. As we all know, research it engine for economic growth of a region. The two largest economies of the world are also the largest publishers of research papers.

Collaborative websites like Academia and ResearchGate and I am sure many more collaborative platforms would see a phenomenal growth.

3. Rise of Small Publishers – With Digital publishing becoming a norm,and publishing becoming a simple procedure, it will be rather easy for many small publishers to come in. 2014 will see a lot of small publishers coming up, of course most of them will choose to be a part of Open Access.

4. Rise of Open Access – 2013 saw the rise and rise of Open Access, so much so that the movement threatened the existing business model of traditional commercial publishing. Rise of Open Access will give rise to open-access-logoOpen Access Search Engines like RockYourPaper and Repositories  like DAOJ and Arxiv etc. These websites increasingly become relevant to access information on Open Access. 

In February White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy announced that all federal agencies with large research budgets will now need follow the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) lead in providing public access to research publications within one year.

Similar announcements were made by Science Europe, a body representing 51 European Funding agencies.

The year ended on a high note with UNESCO’s release of Open Access Repository.

5. Fall of Impact Factor – Commercial Publishers have long used Impact Factor to their advantage. Academics were forced to follow a process of Impact Factor which has the potential of getting manipulated easily.

ascb_logoOn December 16, 2012, a group of editors and publishers of scholarly journals, including representatives from The Company of Biologists (COB), publisher of Disease Models & Mechanisms, gathered at the Annual Meeting of The American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco, CA, USA to discuss current issues related to how the quality of research output is evaluated, and how the primary scientific literature is cited. It announced The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment . It recommended not to use journal-based metrics, such as journal impact factors as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles

As I mentioned earlier in this article, these are few of the trends and the list is not exhaustive. You are welcome to discuss and add on the trends in the comment section.


Disrupting the monopoly of bigger commercial publishers in scholarly publications


Academic publishers charge vast fees to access research paid for by us. Down with the knowledge monopoly racketeers 

Who are the most ruthless capitalists in the western world? Whose monopolistic practices make Walmart look like a corner shop and Rupert Murdoch a socialist? You won’t guess the answer in a month of Sundays. While there are plenty of candidates, my vote goes not to the banks, the oil companies or the health insurers, but – wait for it – to academic publishers. Theirs might sound like a fusty and insignificant sector. It is anything but. Of all corporate scams, the racket they run is most urgently in need of referral to the competition authorities” – The Guardian

Accessing research papers have not been easy and have been exploited and monopolized by bigger commercial publishers.

Imagine a researcher or a post graduate student from Africa or South Asia trying to access a research paper which costs around $30 – $40 USD. With less than $250 USD as their monthly stipend, it is not sufficient to cover even 10 Articles. This is a scenario when they spend their entire stipend on research articles and on nothing else.

High cost of accessing these papers especially for emerging regions like South Asia, Africa and Latin America have severely affects new innovations and discoveries from these regions, slowing their development and restricting access to basic knowledge.  This halts progress on all levels — even things crucial to survival, like cures for diseases.

open-access-logoOpen access has emerged as a strong alternative and have granted access to cutting edge peer reviewed research papers, fostering research and development and being a catalyst in the scientific growth of these regions.

Facing the problem of exorbitant cost of research articles and taking a cue from the emerging trends in Open Access development, three researchers from India and Sri Lanka decided to solve the problem, not only for themselves but for millions of students and researchers from these regions and built a search platform for open access research articles .

Our solution is simple and effective; taking the road of Open Access, they created a platform where students and researchers can get access to relevant articles for free. While having options to their affordable services.

Our unique platform not only helps you search through open access research articles but also helps to manage your searches.

Rockyourpaper is a platform for researchers and students to discover and manage relevant research articles in an affordable way. 


About RockYourPaper – Started by three researchers from India and Sri Lanka, RYP aims to bring free access to research articles. If you would like to know more details about the project, send an email at 

From Problem to a StartUp

RyP-Logo-FinalWe have been working towards making access to knowledge affordable. So after few delays, we are now ready to release our beta for testing… Can you guys please check? Give feedback… We are restricting the beta with only search function. Search research article on any subject, if it’s on internet it’s with us, and we guarantee it’s for free!!! We invite you to test and encourage you to use FB login… Thanks… do check. Again, it is…

How Rock Your Paper came in to existence because of a personal problem I faced how I was determined to solve it not only for myself but for millions of researchers just like me with the same problem.

As a student from developing country accessing knowledge was the greatest challenge I faced.  When I start doing the literature review for my PhD, I started searching for research articles. Interestingly Google Scholar gave me enough and more articles I wanted, but then comes the sad part, when I click on links it took me to the articles, I had access to read only abstract or sometimes just the topic, to read further  I needed to pay 30-40$. Then I realize my PhD stipend is not enough to download even 10 articles.  And my University Library had access to few International Journals, so the condition worsens because I had no clue how can I get what I need.

This is where the story of “Rock Your Paper” begins.

I started searching more and more about scholarly publications, how and why it is so expensive and what are the problems? I realized there were so many open access journals which gives free articles, but the problem with them, they work in silos, so you cannot access all the articles in one platform, and some platforms they produce less than 25 articles per year, some charge 1500-3000$ from the authors, which is  exorbitant for a researcher.

In some of the developed countries’ Universities digital libraries with large repositories give access only to the students


of the same  university. I realize the Paradox of commercial publishing, we researchers work hard to write articles and give the copy write to large publishers, people review articles for free for these commercial publishers, basically everything comes for free for a commercial publisher, then why they charge so much?? The question lies there… We need to buy entire journal to refer few articles.

RockYourPaper came up with solutions for the above problems .Why buy an entire journal, when you need to refer to only one Article?  I wanted to help  15 million knowledge seekers  like students, universities, businesses, governments and the media around the world who download 300 articles every minute to discover, engage & get inspired by cutting edge wisdom, that makes it more than 400,000 Articles everyday.

Here’s what Rock Your Paper is all about…

Our solution is simple and effective, Rock Your Paper break down the journals into units and let you pay for what you need. For an example you need to refer to one particular article in a journal ABC, you can download only that one, by simply paying 5 dollars rather than paying 40 dollars.

Rock Your Paper  allow the Author publish for free and let the peer, review and rate it, all in public, we let peer – peer review become more transparent.

Not only we let you download or publish, but we let you do a peer to peer contact, so someone sitting in US doing a research on Cancer and someone sitting in India doing a research on Cancer, can find each other, share their

Knowledge and Collaborate in their research. Collaboration in knowledge will benefit the researcher and the research itself!

Our Mantra is to make knowledge affordable, let the research community and industry flourish by collaboration and sharing of knowledge.

I hope all the knowledge seekers all over the world will visit and see the features and use our vast repository of more than a million articles in various subjects. Your research and quest for gaining knowledge will only increase with Rock Your Paper.

What is Research and How to do it?

Research scientistWhile doing a research it’s very import to prepare yourself psychologically

Some people think  being a top student enough but that is either necessary nor sufficient. And  you should  know your intellectual or mental limit and be  ready for failures? If you are you extremely motivated , that is all you need you need passion to do research. Research is not a job, and is more like a hobby!

What is Research?

Except for your fear there is no  difference between a homework problem and a research problem, research is anything but homework. Finding a good problem to study is part of research too. Research is all about pushing the limits, dismiss the problem if the solution is not interesting enough. Research is a game for which you get to set the rules, but it cannot be a trivial one!

What is Good Research

  1. Novelty (better if you were not able to publish it at first)
  2. Simplicity (better if your advisor refused to grant you a degree)
  3. Universality (better if others found it trivial at first sight)

research_0You recognize a great research result if it keeps you up all night, feeling like your first date.

The Common misunderstandings you make during research

You think research is only for genius , and you think yourself is a genius, think you need to know everything about the subject in advance. Sometimes you think you should wait for the most important problem to work on and also think a solution is correct just because you cannot find anything wrong.

How to Do Research?

You should always be both confident and humble, both critical and collaborative. And also ambitious, realistic, proactive and willing to take a chance!

The only way you can improve yourself is to learn things that you are the most afraid of!

When you do research  you feel like it’s an endless cycle between excitement and depression, an endless cycle between sense of success and failure, an endless cycle between over-confidence and self-doubt

Research needs faith in there are always interesting new things for you to discover and by doing so you can make the world a better place


The Belly and the Members

I came across this interesting story and thought of sharing it with you. It’s one of  the Aesops fables.

One day the various parts (Aesop says ‘members’) of the human body, including the brain, arms, legs, eyes, feet, hands, lungs, etc., got together to discuss the body’s belly and what they thought about its contribution to the group efforts on behalf of the body.

The body parts were all unhappy and resentful for various reasons, and chose to target their collective anxieties at the belly, in a rather bullying way.

The unhappy body parts decided that the belly was not doing enough towards maintaining the body’s operations, and accused the belly of spending its time lazily consuming food and allowing other members to do all the work.stomach

“We have decided that we will no longer do what we need to do in order to feed you,” they said to the belly, “Because you do nothing to help us, and you are lazy and unproductive.”

No foodAnd they stopped feeding the belly. The belly soon starved. But then so did the body and all of its parts starve too. The unhappy body parts now realized – too late unfortunately to save themselves and the body – that although the belly seemed to be doing nothing, it had in fact been fulfilling a vital function necessary for the well being of the body and all of its parts.

Moral: Often group efforts include certain members whose contributions may seem inconsequential or less valuable than others, and whose behaviors may seem different and less worthy than other louder more obvious contributors, but it is not generally such a simple matter.

Group dynamics are complex, and it is easy to misinterpret and undervalue other members efforts when we do not understand the entire situation, and particularly when we do not understand how individual members might be crucial to overall teamwork and results. singers clipartWhen we target and victimize group members we weaken the group, and all of its members.

Why do a PhD?

Phd in my mindBack after a longtime 🙂 after all even I am doing my doing my PhD  So, I have been thinking a lot about what to write, and now I know what I should. So, a lot of us are not able to decide whether we should really pursue PhD or not? I have tried to give my own logic and justification on why one should do a PhD, however I welcome a different point of view also.

A PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) is an in depth research of chosen topic.  The work produced for the PhD must fundamentally be original, in other words written by only you, containing your thoughts and findings. Once all the research is complete, it is presented in a thesis.

Some reasons behind doing a PhD ..

  • Sometimes people are fascinated by a particular topic
  • Some people do it because they know that they want to work in academia
  • Some just want to stay at university 3 more years
  • Some people are good at doing research and they want to become experts
  • And some just want to be called Dr!
  • Some consider it as a need
  • Some people end-up doing Phd just because they have done well in their degree and asked to do

Some people enjoy  understanding things and also enjoy very much explaining things to other people, so they feel  much comfortable in the academic environment and they think Phd is the right thing to do.

When you do a Phd you should expect to motivate yourself, to be proactive, to be initially overwhelmed and keep that spirit through out , to keep on top of current literature, 2-3 weeks holiday although more offered!, spending long hours but flexible and to think about nothing but your PhD…especially when writing up!

Doing a Phd is getting chance of 3 years to develop skills including team working, project management, presentation skills etc and it is extremely fulfilling when you finish! Get Dr. before your name.

On the same time there are reasons not to do a Phd . Academia is extremely competitive and not that well paid most of the time there are more PhD graduate than posts available. Sometimes difficult to convince employers that you are not too specialised ,have to put focus on transferable skills. Also it takes three years of life…could be learning on the job skills and sometimes you  feel  ‘too specialised’ at the end.

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