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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 RockYourPaper.org 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 nadeera@rockyourpaper.org



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


Finding a Phd Topic

Phd TopicFinding a Phd topic is one of the most difficult thing even for the most successful students .

Why? Because it is very important! It’s the next two, three or sometimes more years of your life. It will define the area for your job search, you may be working in the same area (or a derivative) for years after

There are lot of things to consider when it comes to finding a topic

* Whether you have pre assigned supervisor in your mind or you have to find one

* What kind of job you are interested in future for ex : Teaching, Government , Industry

* What are the strength and weaknesses of yours ex: programming, data analysis , designing

* What drives you or bores you to do a Phd ex: technology , puzzles, problems, applications

If you have a supervisor it is important to get to know that the supervisor understands the topic. And what is supervisor’s style and is he or she having any funding to do research in that area? And also it is important to know you can work as a team or you are more comfortable working alone.

It is difficult to find supervisors who agrees to work on your idea , most of the time your supervisor has a list of topics and they suggests one (or more!) that you can work on and it can save you a lot of time.

But it is very important to remember that you should not work on something you find boring, fruitless and demotivating.Bored

Sometimes you work on some projects and think very hard about what you’ve done looking for insights you can re-implement in a common framework and identify an algorithm/proof problem inside and the topic emerges from your work, but bad thing about this is you may be working without “a topic” for a long time

Some people work on a number of small topics that turn into a series of conference paper and they figure out somehow how to tie it all together, create a chapter from each paper, and put a big staple through it , problem with this is at times you might find difficult to tie things together

The other thing is you can read some papers from other subfields in computer science/engineering or a related field (e.g., biology) and look for places to apply insight from another (sub) field to your own but there are times you may not find any useful connection.

Best thing is read papers in your area of interest, write an annotated bibliography, read a PhD thesis or two (or three), read your supervisor’s grant proposal(s), take a project class with a new perspective, serve as an apprentice to a senior PhD student in your group, Keep working on something , get feedback and ideas from others, attend a really good conference in an area of interest , Do a industry/government lab internship and you will find the best topic to do your Phd.

Online or Invisible?

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 I came across this wonderfully written article from Steve Lawrence of NEC Research Institute and decided to repost it here as a blog with my views…

“Articles freely available online are more highly cited. For greater impact and faster scientific progress, authors and publishers should aim to make research easy to access.”

Scientific literature typically far exceeds the ability of scientists to identify and utilize all relevant information in their research. Developing methods to improve accessibility of scientific literature, allowing scientists to locate more relevant research within a given time, have the potential to dramatically improve communication and progress in science.science_on_internet_by_cobalagi-d5dnw0y11

With the development of web, scientists now have very convenient access to an increasing amount of literature that previously required trips to the library, inter-library loan delays, or substantial effort in locating the source. Studies shows that usage increases when access is more convenient, and maximizing the usage of the scientific record benefits all of society.

Although availability varies greatly by discipline, over a million research articles are freely available on the web. Some journals and conferences provide free access online, others allow authors to post articles on the web, and others allow authors to purchase the right to post their articles on the web.

Free online availability facilitates access in multiple ways, including online archives, direct connections between scientists or research groups, hassle-free links from email, discussion groups, and other services, indexing by web search engines, and the creation of third-party search services. Free online availability of scientific literature offers substantial benefits to science and society. To maximize impact, minimize redundancy, and speed scientific progress, author and publishers should aim to make research easy to access.

My views

In today’s world of publishing it is true. It is highly unjustified that a researcher should pay to publish his own article and question is why? We should aim to have a system where knowledge is free, access to research article is free, and publishing research article is free. After all, the author spends a tremendous amount of his time and effort researching and writing about his research.

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Free access gives an opportunity of free collaborations amongst the researchers, which in effect will result into better research and better writing and hence a better community. We all should all aim towards free access to knowledge.

Open Access: What is it?

Open  Access is  free,  immediate,  permanent  online  access  to  the  full  text  of research  articles  for  anyone, web wide, without  the  severe  restrictions  on  use  commonly imposed by publisher copyright agreements.

There are two roads to open access:

·          the “green road” of open access self-archiving, where authors provide open access to their own published articles, by making their own e-prints (the final accepted version) freely available to all by placing them in institutional or central repositories;


 the “golden road” of open access journal-publishing, where journals provide open access to their articles (either by charging the author/institution, a publication or processing fee instead of charging a subscription fee from the user/institution, or by simply making  their  online  edition  free  for  all  and  recouping  the  publication  and  production  costs from other source).

An Open Access Publication is one that meets the following two conditions:


The  author(s)  and  copyright  holder(s)  grant(s) to  all  users  a  free,  irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit  and  display  the  work  publicly  and  to  make  and  distribute  derivative  works,  in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship, as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.


 A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of  the  permission  as  stated  above,  in  a  suitable  standard  electronic  format  is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences, PubMed Central is such a repository).

The  two  roads  to open  access,  viz. open access self-archiving  and open  access publishing, are complementary. Normally, by open access we mean open access to refereed research papers. But open access does not exclude other forms of scholarly material such as preprints, theses, conference papers and reports.

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