Tag: #nepal

Life

Philosophy is great but “Activism” doesn’t feed you enough

[October 13, 2018] As one of the key festivals of all Nepalese approached, I am already in a holiday mood since a week. Cutting off 75% of regular work and spending a huge amount of time with family making plans of visit, foods and cleaning my room. Which has also gave me enough time to join the informal hangout, sometimes over a bottle of beer and sometimes over a strong coffee.

And summing up all those chit-chats with new peoples, this recently made me realize that the interest of people over the activism is gradually decreasing, which I found very nice and interesting. Maybe because of the sustainability hardship or maybe Activism got a new name in the form of Entrepreneurship. Going back to the past, I used to see lots of faces who used to run campaigns, raise their voice, build products and project voluntary but today’s scenario is changing. Every project now has a Business Model Canvas or Open Canvas as a proof of sustainability. Maybe that our learning, the people don’t mind localizing or modifying the philosophy according to the context.

Yesterday at our Open Knowledge Network hangout while discussing the International Open Data Conference (IODC) 2018, this topic was relatively raised. More people are supporting, exploring and working on open data philosophy because it’s the part of their job. Hardly few are motivated by philosophy and are activist, cuz we all know “Activism” doesn’t pay or feed you enough. So, updating ourselves according to the situation and modifying the philosophy is always a good idea.

This this is more important when it comes to the developing country like Nepal, where the history of “Activist” is worst. We frequently hear the news of money misused by different NGO, sometimes my mind says the Activists people are the most corrupt than others, although I don’t have any pieces of evidence to back it up. While bringing the topics towards Open Philosophy, yes we still meet some people who pass the comment and criticize our work saying we are hurting the core philosophy. In fact, I used to be one of them but I believe it’s a time of us modify our thinking locally and globally because to move forward we need flexibility so that we can empower others to join, collaborate to make an impact.

So, let’s move forward, don’t be scared to modify and crunch the core philosophy and go beyond activism to make business & money. If someone comes to you lecturing about it, don’t hesitate to ask them “Does this lecture feed you?” in his/her face.

Open Data

The ‘Tomorrow of Open Data’ in federal Nepal

Hundred years ago Nepal first started collecting data of population census – the time when data and information used to be hardly shared with the public by authorities. However, the movement of open data after one century became significant in terms of opening up government to some extent that makes data and information open in Nepal. In recent years, base on the philosophy ‘certain data should make freely available to citizens’ emerged in parallel lobbying of Right-to-Information (RTI) – one of the key reasons to realize open and transparent governance for public administrators.

According to its theme ‘, we open governments’, WikiLeaks, an international organization that publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified media suggests that open data is a necessary element of “transparent and accountable government.” As an impact, the uses of ‘Open Data’ in western countries have helped improve the efficiency of public administrations and services as well as the economic growth in the private sector over the past decades. Similarly, there are examples of data-driven watchdog journalism (based on open data) helping reduce corruption in some Latin and African nations in spite of having repressive governments there. To achieve the same, however, Nepal needs to go a long way; where open government bodies from national to periphery levels can share a spectrum of public records to its people as ‘free-to-use information’.

In this connection, Open Knowledge Nepal, an organization led by young people, focusing on ‘knowledge should be liberated for opportunity and prosperity, has recently completed a month-long ‘Open Data Awareness ‘ accompanied by Open Data Hackathon – a collaborative engagement of youths in computer programming.

Organized in seven different districts of Nepal, nearly 400 youths including students were sensitized – those came from a dozen of colleges, school and youth organizations. In a hope to see Nepal’s ‘digital tech-friendly’ future leaders who can better understand the essence of data, participants from a range of backgrounds like computer science, engineering,  management, arts, journalism, social workers were taught digital tools. The awareness program was based on the Open Data Curriculum and Open Data Manual which was developed as a reference and recommended a guide for the people who wants to work and contribute to open data sector.

Though being familiar working with statistics, however, ‘Open Data’ is still a new and unheard term for most of the attendees. It has urged the need of more local level awareness programs to promote open data in grassroots level of Nepal.

Making the data open means it should be accessible in a convenient and modifiable form, reusable and redistributable by anyone without any discrimination or restriction under certain standards.

Do you know about Open Data?

Fig: Participants understanding on open data according to pre-survey

The survey conducted among the participants suggested that sharing of the data isn’t everything. Focusing on other aspects is obligatory that enables people to build innovative products in order to solve the current issues or crisis faced by Nepalese citizens.

Please rate how well you can perform the following acts?

(1 = not aware, 5 = fully aware)

Fig: Participants’ expertise on Data Downloading, Extraction, Analysis and Visualization

Another pure downside, they lack the technical set of skills needed to work with data efficiently like data extraction, analysis, and visualization though they are quite acquainted with downloading data and information from the web.

Call to action

Without any delay, Nepal needs to take open data advocacy in local level at times when notable activities and interest already exhibited by civil society and public agencies, are creating a conducive atmosphere to go further. Despite the leisurely delivery to its citizens, government bodies deciding to use computer technology might help generate digital reports and data – technically shareable information to the public.

Having poor technical skills among citizens to access and use data is making the demand side feeble, one of the major challenges for open data actors and advocates. For this, infrastructures with sufficient technical human resources should be built concurrently that can play the role to manage supply and demand side of data.

Also, if to comply with a federal model of the political system; civil society, open data activists and local government should work together – to spark the consciousness of open data in periphery level.

Mozilla

मोजिल्ला ग्लोबल स्प्रिन्ट २०१७ काठमाडौंमा आयोजना हुँदै

 

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आउदो जेष्ठ १९ र २० गते नेपालमा पहिलो पटक मोजिल्ला नेपाल र विभिन्न खुल्ला समुदायसँगको सहकार्यमा मोजिल्ला ग्लोबल स्प्रिन्ट २०१७ काठमाडौंमा आयोजना हुनेभएको छ। ग्लोबल स्प्रिन्ट मोजिल्लाद्वारा आयोजना गरिने दुई दिने विश्वव्यापी कार्यक्रम हो। यो नेपाल सहित विश्वको धेरै देशहरूमा आयोजनाहुँदै छ।

यो दुई दिने कार्यक्रममा विद्यार्थी, वैज्ञानिक, शिक्षक, कलाकार, ईन्जिनियर र अरु विभिन्न क्षेत्रका मान्छेहरु कार्यक्रम स्थानमै वा अनलाइन भेला भई रमाइलो साथै खुल्ला इन्टरनेटको लागि नयाँ नयाँ परियोजनाहरूको निर्माण गर्छन्। विद्यार्थी, डिजाइनर, विकासकर्ता, अनुसन्धानकर्ता, प्रोग्रामर आदि सबै जाना यस मोजिल्ला ग्लोबल स्प्रिन्टमा सामेल हुन सक्नेछन्।

तपाईंसँग नयाँ वा राम्ररी स्थापित कुनै पनि किसिमको खुल्ल परियोजना छ भने, तपाईंले ग्लोबल स्प्रिन्टमा ति परियोजनाहरुको प्रस्तुति दिएर आवश्यक मद्दत र योगदान सहभागीहरूसँग माग्न सक्नुहुन्छ। योगदानहरु कोड, सामग्री, डिजाइन, सम्पादन, लेखन, परीक्षण, सल्लाह, आदि जे पनि हुन सक्छ तर ती परियोजनाहरू खुल्ला सफ्टवेयरको परिभासा अन्तर्गत पर्नु पर्दछ जो, संसारभरि जहाँसुकै भएको मानिसहरूले प्रयोग, पुनः प्रयोग र पुनः वितरण गर्न सक्छन।

यस वर्ष मोजिल्ला ग्लोबल स्प्रिन्टमा पाँच फरक तर प्रमुख मुद्दाहरुमा ध्यान दीइदै छ। खुल्ला नवाचार, गोपनीयता र सुरक्षा, डिजिटल समावेशता, वेब साक्षरता र ईन्टरनेट दीसेन्त्रिलैज ती पाँच प्रमुख मुद्दाहरु हो। यो मुद्दाहरुले सबैका लागि खुला र पारदर्शी इन्टरनेटको सिर्जना गर्न मद्दत गर्नेछ। काठमाडौंमा पनि ३० भन्दा बढी सहभागी विभिन्न फरक विषयहरूमा मिलेर काम गर्नेछ।

ग्लोबल स्प्रिन्टमा कोडिङ सँग फरक विषय मा प्रस्तुति पनि हुनेछ। जहाँ परियोजना नेतृत्वहले आफ्नो परियोजना बारे प्रस्तुत गर्नेछन र विश्वभरिका भइरहेको ग्लोबल स्प्रिन्टको प्रत्यक्ष प्रसारण पनि देखाइने छ। मोजिल्ला ग्लोबल स्प्रिन्ट २०१७ रियल टाईम सोलुसन्स, धोबिघाट, ललितपुरमा आयोजना हुँदै छ।

Code for Nepal

Twitter thread turns into impactful project

Last week we the team of Open Knowledge Nepal and Code for Nepal launched the first Beta version of Election Nepal Portal. It’s a crowdsourced open portal that brings all kind of Data related to Nepal’s Local Election together in Open and Visual Format. Election Nepal project will contain data forms various sources which are accumulated in the local election which is due on 31st of Baisakh, 2074 (14th May, 2017).

Today I this post, I wanna share how it all started and the awesome story behind it. Personally, I consider this as one of the cool examples of working openly. On 20th March 2017, I started this discussion of Twitter quoting “Let’s run an #LocalElection data camping for a month, visualizing data and publishing facts at the newspaper, who is with me, let’s discuss” and shared the same post on Facebook too.


The response was simply amazing, within 3 days more than 15 volunteers who were interested in contributing were already with us. Sad part none of them were girls and good part many of them were also new to me. Once again we failed in making the diverse team in terms of gender. But, that didn’t stop us, the process of asking email address for starting email thread started.

Introduction Session
Introduction Session
Portal MockUp Discussion
Portal MockUp Discussion
Project Name Voting
Project Name Voting

And from there we didn’t look back and we never met physically for discussion. Everything we did was completely online and collaborative. We made the best use of technology, using Slack for discussion and introduction, GitHub for code collaboration, Google Docs for content collaboration and Google Hangout for virtual discussion. Yes, try everything and this thing worked. I think 2 weeks were enough for us to partially complete everything with showable results. Project name, mockup discussion everything 🙂

All these things were possible because of the contribution of many on the same project. We used the partially open methodology for it and today there are people who contribute data, code and contents with regular feedbacks about improving it. There is still some question about making the project sustainable but we will constantly work on it and I am super proud of those open minded people who were part of this journey.

Let the world know, what we had built: http://electionnepal.org

Election Nepal Portal
Election Nepal Portal
Open Access

Open Access and Open Data gaining momentum in Nepal

For the 5th time in a row, Open Knowledge Nepal team led the effort of organizing International Open Data Day in Nepal. This year it was a collaborative effort of Kathmandu Living Labs and Open Knowledge Nepal. It was also the first official out of Kathmandu Valley event of Open Knowledge Nepal. Organizations like Code for Nepal, Gandaki College of Engineering and Science and Open Access Nepal were the partners for the event. In Nepal, the event aims to served as a platform for bringing together open knowledge enthusiasts from different backgrounds, and support a series of collaborative events for enhancing knowledge and awareness about free and open source software, open data, open content, and various open knowledge technologies. There were 4 different major activities of the event: Presentation Session, Open Street Mapathon, Open Research Data Hackathon and Treasure Hunt.

The check in started around 10:30 AM (NPT), with the participants, slowly joining the venue and with some informal discussion having around and was formally started by Mr. Ashok Raj Parajuli, Vice-Principal of Gandaki College of Engineering and Science at 11:20 AM (NPT) by giving brief introduction of Open Data and why it is important for the country like Nepal. After him, Nikesh Balami from Open Knowledge Nepal gave an event orientation. He shared how Open Data Day was started and history of Open Data Day celebration at Nepal. After having a brief orientation about major activities, the presentation session was started.

Mr. Ashok Raj Parajuli starting the event

Gaurav Thapa from Kathmandu Living Labs was the first presenter of the event. He gave the presentation about Open Map Data and the concept of 2C (Secondary City) Pokhara. He also demonstrated the work done by Kathmandu Living Labs in Pokhara with the help of other organizations and asked participants to join them for contribution and collaboration. He also shares about the app “Prepare Pokhara”, an app which uses the data of OpenStreetMap with different kinds of filtering techniques, by using that app user can easily filter and navigate all kinds of important places and destination of Pokhara in Map.

Gaurav Thapa from Kathmandu Living Labs presenting about Open Map Data

After the presentation of Gaurav Thapa, Kshitiz Khanal representing Open Knowledge Nepal participated in presentation session, where he presented about Open Access, Open Science, and Open Research. He started from the basic introduction of OPEN and highlighted the condition of Open Access in Nepal. He also demonstrated, how Nepal government and others different bodies of Nepal government are creating Open Access barriers for users. He shared about Open Science Taxonomy and talks a little about the Open Science and Research practices in Nepal. He motivated the participants to read research article frequently so that we can make the best use of publicly funded research. His presentation can be accessed from here.

Kshitiz Khanal from Open Knowledge Nepal presenting about OA, OS and OR

There was a small break after the completion of Presentation Session and the rooms for Open Research Data Hackathon and Mapathon was divided after that break. Participants interested in joining Hackathon moved towards the Lab and those who were interested in Research Data Hackathon stayed in the same room.

Open Research Data Hackathon

Open Research Data Hackathon

Open Research Data Hackathon was facilitated by the team of Open Knowledge Nepal. Nikesh Balami from OKN started the hackathon by giving a short presentation about Data and demonstrating different kinds of tools they can use during Hackathon. After an orientation, the group was divided. There were 4 groups, who worked and brainstorm different kinds of ideas for the entire day. A group pitched a project twice, in the first pitch, they share the brainstormed idea and in the second pitch, they share about how they are doing that project, possible partners, challenges, and opportunity. The proposed idea of all 4 team was entirely different from each other, some work in Election Data and some work in using Machine learning to extract research data from users search queries. Some team worked in the use of data disaster prediction and some in Blood data.

It will be interesting to see the progress of their projects in coming days.

Mapathon

Mapathon

Mapathon was facilitated by the team of Kathmandu Living Labs. In Mapathon participants used satellite image to map Bardiya district of Nepal at OpenStreetMap, where participants got an opportunity to play with Open Map Data and OpenStreetMap. The team of KLL also led Treasure Hunt in-between to make Mapathon interesting and interactive, where participants went to the fields in the search of treasures which was hidden at different places by the KLL team. Participants used OpenStreetMap for this and enjoyed the activities so much. In fact, Mapathon was interactive where participant got hands-on training on how to contribute at OSM, did some contribution and also tried using it in their real life.

The whole event was closed at 04:30 PM by thanking participants and supporters. The promise of organizing this kind of International events outside of the main valley of Nepal was made by the representation of Open Knowledge Nepal and Kathmandu Living Labs. This year International Open Data Day 2017 was organized at four different places of Nepal. Two inside Kathmandu, one by YoungInnovation Pvt. Ltd. and one by Accountability Lab. In Pokhara, it was organized by Open Knowledge Nepal and Kathmandu Living Labs. Kathmandu University Open Source Community (KUOSC) also organized ODD first time in Kavre. This clearly shows that the momentum of Open Data is increasing in Nepal, which we (Civil Society Organization) can take it as a plus point.

Group photo and selfie 🙂

 

Event Page: https://oddnepal.github.io

More photos from our Facebook page here.

Life

Tough decision: Demolishing our old house

Tough decision but we made it, Almost after 2 years of devasting April earthquake 2015, we decided to demolish our old damaged house, looking at the security of our neighbors living around. Controlling our emotional feelings and memories attached to that house was difficult but finally, we thought to move on was the right decision. We (me and my sisters) all spent our childhood there, which makes it more special for us. A bunch of good memories attached…

Here are some photos:

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Nepal

Today’s Tea discussion: Stable Government and Strong Bureaucracy for…

The process of a constitutional amendment for the second time without being implemented is one the way and the power fight between the political parties are growing day by day. Some had already planned strikes and some had decided to vote against the amendment. The citizens of the Eastern region looks completely out of the amendment and had started to show their anger through strikes and Andolan. Citizens of Terai region are still saying that the second amendment still doesn’t solve the citizenship problem.

So, who is wrong, why this amendment. Because we all know everyone can’t be right, some had to be wrong or some are doing it in a wrong way. Currently, everyone is blaming Prime Minister and Indian Government. Question is? Are they the one who are creating confusion. Peoples are discussion lots about it and most of the time this kind of discussion can be found in morning Tea shop, where people gathers after exercise and morning walks.

Today by chance I was also involved in one Tea discussion with retired school professor and lawyer. We discuss different kinds of hot topics and most of them were about the current political situation of Nepal. Both of them blame normal citizens for supporting political parties for all kinds of bad and unwanted activities. They mostly highlighted that the bureaucracy of Nepal need improvement cuz according to their view bureaucracy is playing the main role behind.

The conclusion of discussion is, we need to act and try every possible solution. Let’s hope for something good!!

AskNepal

Rebooting AskNepal initiative

October 17th, 2016 – A day when I messaged Mr. Ravi Kumar Nepal, Co-founder of Code For Nepal showing my interest in leading and contributing AskNepal initiative and within a day my meeting was fixed with him for October 22nd, 2016 where we discuss the different possible ways of my engagement. Today right after one week of that meeting, here I am writing this post with the possible Project Plan, Admin Access, Project Lead tag. Unbelievable, Isn’t it a super fast way of joining a community. Yes, it is and thanks to Ravi and team for accepting me as a C4N family.

So, What are the possible next steps and how we are doing it?

Like every others project, AskNepal initiative also needs multi-stakeholders, supporters, collaborators to make a greater impact and easy outreach. So, our next step is to search for possible organizations and civil society organization (CSO) who can help us. Our initial discussion with some RTI Activist of Nepal had found that there is more than 10 organization working all around Nepal for the betterment of Right to Information Act with greater implementation and impact. At first stage, we will be starting this discussion with two organization of Nepal, Citizens’ Campaign for Right to Information (CCRI) and Freedom Forum because this organization has great experience of working in RTI field and human resources who believes in technological solution. We will keep searching others possible organization. We want these kinds of CSO, who understand technology to be our collaborators because AskNepal initiative is all about increasing citizen’s reach of Access to Information through the use of technology.

We will be taking feedback and suggestion from this two organization (CCRI Nepal and Freedom Forum) regarding site customization so, that we can make it more user-friendly because the current version of the site is the replicate of the global initiative https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/. Where you choose the public authority that you would like information from, then write a brief note describing what you want to know. Then we will play the intermediary role where we will send your request to the respective public authority or officer. Any response received is automatically published on the website for you and anyone else to find and read.

But we plan to localize the site according to the local context and needs to increase our chances of reaching local citizens from all around the country. We will implement and try all kinds of suggestion regarding site customization because, at the end of the day, all we want is to make the site user-friendly.

After making site perfect, our next step is to discuss initiative with a government organization in search of help. For this, we will follow Top-Down approach and will directly start from National Information Commission (NIC) because when it comes to working with government, Bottom-Up approach never works and I personally have a good experience about this. We also believe our chances of getting positive responses from government officials is high and after getting linked with government and CSO, the project outreach is just a matter of time.

Last but not the least, the site is still empty, what about data, where are the list of public authorities?

The answers are clear and simple, we will search and crowdsourced it. National Information Technology Center (NITC) already have this data because all the (.gov.np) domain are control and maintained by them. We will ask those data with them by using RTI Act and the ongoing project of Open Knowledge Nepal, PublicBodies Nepal can be another possible source of data.

The outreach and frequent maintenance of site will be done by the team of Code for Nepal and Open Knowledge Nepal. More importantly, If the initiative got selected for Accountability Lab Incubator, all the implementation of this plan is going to be easier.

Want to join or support AskNepal initiative, contact project lead Nikesh Balami (nikesh@codefornepal.org)

Open Access

QA with Open Access Activist of Nepal

Open Access Week, a global event now entering its eighth year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.

It’s one of our favorite global event, We the team of Open Knowledge Nepal always love celebrating and organizing it because we believe Open Access and Open Research field need more advocacy and awareness in Nepal. We joined this momentum in 2014 with the help of Open Access Nepal and lead that momentum in 2015. This year to mark this global celebration, We did QA with some Open Access Activist of Nepal. The aim of doing this QA was to generate resources regarding Open Access and Open Research so, that newcomer entering this field can find and know about the momentum running in Nepal easily.

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We ask three Open Access Activist regarding their work, organization, and vision. Thanks to all three of them for giving us their valuable time and replying our question.

nepal-countryMr. Jagadish Aryal

Country Coordinator | EIFL and Secretary | NeLIC

1) Brief about Nepal Library and Information Consortium (NeLIC)?

The Nepal Library and Information Consortium (NeLIC) was established by a group of institutions with the idea of facilitating access to electronic resources to Nepali educational institutions. Its core area of activities is Open Access, Free and Open Source Software, Intellectual Property Rights, & Sharing of the available e-resources. More information can be found at www.nelic.org.

2) How is NeLIC using and promoting Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)?

NeLIC is promoting the use of ICT in libraries for better service and modernizing the library according to global trends. For that we recommend FOSS. Presently Koha, PMB, DSpace, GSDL, etc. are the FOSS being used in Nepalese library.

3) Brief about NeLIC Open Access Repository?

Central OA Repository is a web archive run by Nepal Library and Information Consortium (NeLIC) for the collection, preservation, and dissemination of intellectual outputs of an institution or an individual. Outputs may be journaled articles, research reports, and conference papers in a digital form. Researchers and students will have access to these materials through a single-point open access system.

4) How can libraries be used by businesses to provide professional development opportunities?

Libraries can be used by any professionals to enrich their professional knowledge and sharpen them by getting exhaustive and up to date information in the particular field.

5) How many institutes are currently the member of NeLIC and is the number increasing?

Currently, there are 56 members in NeLIC. The number of members is open to all Nepalese institutions which have a library and /or which are involved in learning, teaching and research activities. So it is growing continuously.

9ugrps-rMr. Kshitiz Khanal

Open Science & Research Team Lead | Open Knowledge Nepal

1) Brief about Open Knowledge Nepal?

A working group of Open Knowledge in Nepal. An open network of mostly young people working towards increasing openness in data, education, science, and other and increasing opportunities for many people.

2) Brief about Open Science & Open Research working group and their interconnection?

Science is advanced by research. Research is a methodology with which all science progresses. These two are always interconnected.

3) When does a researcher satisfy the requirement for Open Access?

Most important thing, at first, is a commitment by researcher themselves. But that can only the cause of open access so far. The researcher can study more about types of open access, find open access journals in their domain, talk about open access with their colleagues.

4) How do you see the current open science practice of Nepal?

At least all journals in Nepal are Open access. However, there is no culture of sharing research data among Nepali researchers. Practice is influenced by culture, and culture by practice. We need to sensitize researchers and academics about open access and open science in Nepal. If all government funded research in Nepal mandates publication as open access and sharing of raw data in an open license, it will increase open science practice. Movements take time and we have only just begun. There’s a lot to do.

5) What are the expected challenges?

  • Researchers want to publish data in the most reputed journal that they can publish, and most such journals are not open by default.
  • Publishing in Nepali open access journals is frowned upon. The quality of paper matters more than the ranking of journals.
  • We should push for raising the standard of Nepali journals. More rigorous peer review.
  • Very few researchers of Nepal publish papers and conduct academic research. The potential of students and academics is wasted in Nepal.

dr_karnDr. Roshan Kumar Karn

Director | Open Access Nepal

1) Brief about Open Access Nepal?

Open Access Nepal is a non-profit and non-governmental organization and was established in March 2014. OANepal is the affiliate chapter of U.S. based organization “Right to Research Coalition (R2RC)”. The main objective of Open Access Nepal is to advocate and promote the policies and principles of Open Access, Open Education, Open Data and Open Repository in Nepal. It aims to nurture potential researchers with unrestricted access to scholarly articles. The activities of OANepal are supported by EIFL, INASP, R2RC and OCSD NET.

2) Brief about Open Access Button and Open Access Journals?

Open Access Button: OA Button is a browser bookmarklet which registers when people hit a paywall to a scholarly article and supports these researchers in 3 ways:

  • Finding available research: OA Button searches thousands of sources with millions of articles to find legal access to research articles for the researchers.
  • Requesting Research: OA Button was designed as a transparent and effective request system to help make more research accessible. If you are unable to get access, you can quickly create a request with the OA Button.
  • Making Research available: Request for articles are sent to the author and other Button users can support your request. Together we strive for more accessibility to research.

The motto of OA Button is: Push Button. Get Research. Make Progress.

Open Access Journals: Open Access journals are the scholarly journals and publications that are available to the readers online without any financial, legal or technical barriers. OA journals are freely accessible to the readers. It essentially removes the price (licensing fees, subscription) and permission (copyright issues) barriers to a scholarly publication. Some OA journals are subsidized and are financed by an academic institution, foundation, or government itself while others are operated by the article processing charges (APC’s) obtained from submitting authors which are usually provided by their respective institutes.

3) What are the main factors that have led to the steady growth of OA publishing in Nepal?

Nikesh, I think rather than taking about the steady growth of OA publishing which is not true anymore. If you see the recent entries in DOAJ, there has been a dramatic increase in open publications in the last couple of years. Therefore, here I have discussed why OA publishing is important to different groups. But I have also answered your exact question at the end.

Open publishing seeks to return scholarly publishing to its original and core purpose viz to spread knowledge and allow that knowledge to resonate and be built upon. There are several factors in play that has led to the growth of OA publication in the past few years.

For Students:

  • Open Publications provides a complete education to students by providing them access to the latest research.
  • With science advancing at an ever increasing pace it is crucial that professors have access to cutting edge research so students’ education is not outdated before they even finish a course. OA publishing has given the professors access to these cutting-edge researches and advancements.
  • It provides research for your papers.
  • OA gives the opportunity to the students to be innovative and conduct researches beyond their degree.

For Researchers:

  • Better visibility and higher impact for the scholarship.
  • No researcher wants to waste time and money conducting a study that has already been done. Open publication helps researchers to avoid duplication.

For Doctors:

  • Opening access to research will allow doctors access to all relevant information, enabling them to make better decisions – decisions based on the most up-to-date medical knowledge, leading to more effective treatment and better outcomes.

For Patients:

  • Open publishing provides patients and their advocates the access to the corpus of medical research.

For Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses:

  • Access to the latest research speeds innovation.

For the public:

  • Return on public’s investment as most research are funded by the taxpayers’ money.
  • Exercising the right to research: as taxpayers who pay for much of the research published in journals, the public has a collective right to access the information resulting from their investment.

For Publishers:

  • Demonstrated benefits: numerous publishers, both non-profit and for-profit, voluntarily make their articles openly available at the time of publication or within 6-12 months. Many have switched from a closed, subscription model to an open one as a strategic business decision to increase their journal’s exposure and impact, and have done so with great success

The reasons for steady growth in OA publishing could be:

  • Lack of awareness, advocacy, knowledge and benefits of OA publishing amongst the researchers.
  • Issues related to impact factor of the open journals.
  • The reluctance of PI to opt in for the open model of publishing.
  • The poor government policy of making public funded researchers available publicly.
  • Lack of repositories.
  • Lack of funding.
  • Inadequate development of the R&D sector of Nepal.
  • Overindulgence and extremely powerful lobbyists for the traditional model of publishing.
  • Lack of adequate investment from the government in the development of research and laboratory facilities.
  • Researchers are not yet totally convinced that open publication will be advantageous for their careers the same as subscription journals.
  • Fear of loss of credibility among the peers.

4) How do you think this trend will develop over the next decade, and explain why?

The gradual trend of OA publishing has been increasing over the years now and I am confident that we will witness a significant rise in OA publication over the next decade for the reasons mentioned above (People will eventually understand the benefits of Open publishing and how OA will help each group of people like students, researchers, entrepreneurs, doctors, patients and public).

However, the recent statistics also reveal a dramatic growth of Open Access. Globally the collections of open access archives are now collectively an order of magnitude larger than the 10 million articles and this is just from Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE). DOAJ showed an amazing 11% growth in the past in articles searchable at the article level – about half a million more articles today than a year ago. This past quarter DOAJ showed a healthy growth rate of 135 titles or added 1.5 titles per day. The internet archive now has more than 3 million open audio recordings. The Directory of Open Access Books added over 2 thousand titles in the past year for a current total of over 5,000 titles (60% annual growth rate) from 161 publishers (41% annual growth rate in publishers).

The number of journals actively contributing to PubMed Central continues to show strong growth in every measure: there are 212 more journal active participants in PMC today than a year ago, a 10% growth rate; 170 more journals provide immediate free access, an 11% growth rate; 113 more journals provide all articles as open access, a 9% growth rate; and the number of journals with some articles open access increased by 123, a 31% growth rate.

These statistics reveal that researchers and the general public are gradually being aware of the impossible subscription fees and the nobility Open Access brings into the lives of individual, family, society and a nation. People gradually understand that the fundamental aspect of education is sharing and locking knowledge and education will only harm. Researchers now realize that their work will be more recognized only if they prefer OA journals, they now realize that catastrophes like Ebola and Zika could be prevented with open access to research. The steep growth in the statistics is just the beginning and I am sure that we will see some serious hikes in a decade from now.

5) What will happen if a researcher does not make his work immediately Open Access accessible?

  • Decreased visibility, usage and impact of their work.
  • Open access increases the impact of research in which public money is invested and therefore publishing in a closed model is a bad return on taxpayers’ investment.
  • Society as a whole will be barred from the benefits of their research as open research is more efficient and more effective, delivering better and faster outcomes.
  • Obstruction in the nation’s’ technological advancement and economic growth.
  • Students and researchers from a developing country like Nepal will never be able to read and use world class literature because of the high subscription fees if researchers don’t make it openly available.

6) Where will the funding for OA publishing come from?

Obtaining research grants from funding agencies is crucial for researchers to continue their work, supervise students and career advancement. Obtaining grants is directly linked to the researcher’s performance, mainly publications. Besides public funding, institutional and private foundations, opportunities dedicated specifically to fund – and reward – open research, open data and open software have emerged, especially in recent years. They are traditional funders, such as Wellcome Trust, NIH, and SPARC, which are allocating funds to open research, or new initiatives especially created with this view, as the Shuttleworth Foundation (established in 2007) and Mozilla Science Lab (2013), among others.

The notion that research funded with public resources should be made openly available to society has been consolidating in recent years and, consequently, public funding agencies are not only preferring but mandating the results to be published in open access. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have pioneered in 2008 to implement the open access policy, followed by Harvard University in the same year, the National Academy of Sciences of China (2009), and the National Science Foundation (2011). Next, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Defense Department and the space agency NASA, implemented in 2015 open access mandates. That same year, France launched the bill “For a Digital Republic”, and submitted it to public consultation. Funding agencies such as Wellcome Trust, CERN, UNESCO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and many others have established similar mandates. Many of them still determine that the contents published in OA shall be governed by the Creative Commons attribution license CC-BY, the least restrictive of all. Despite these international agencies, the Nepal government should also play a pro-active role in the open movement, invest more in R&D, nurture young researchers, develop a culture of research among the students and provide funding to new ideas and researchers leading to new innovations.

College + Education

“Acme” My Lucky Charm

After the gap of one and half year, everyone welcomed my decision of continuing my further study & guess what I decided to pursue Bachelor degree in Computer Engineering, although lots of my friends suggested me to join computer science course, which suites my area of interest but ignoring all of that suggestion I joined B.E, maybe because I want to write “Er.” in-front my name or maybe because I wanna fulfill my family dream. But sorry to say, still I don’t know the particular reason or answer of “why I decided to join B.E”.
Joining B.E after a long gap was another challenging task for me and guess what I failed to complete those task. I failed the entrance exam of all three universities in the first attempt (Kathmandu University, Tribhuvan University, Purbanchal University). But I have good answers for all of them, who asked me how I failed all of those entrance exams. I failed because I didn’t read or learn anything for an entrance & I didn’t read because Bachelor in Engineering was never my interest. Haha, how confusing life is, A guy who always used to teach others about the steps of taking decisions & planning, Today got an opportunity to taste the flavor of failures. How disappointing?? What a waste of money, time & energy??

But being hopeless, that’s not inside my blood. After discussing the situation with my family & friends, I decided to attend the second entrance of Purbanchal University and guess what I got a special recommendation of Acme Engineering College from my father. Don’t know why my father always loves Acme College. “Acme” a college where I pursue my Diploma in Computer Engineering & a place where I used to sit and dream of being a superstar in the field of Technology with my friends. To say it clearly, I have lots of sweet memories engaged with that college.
Yeah, Once again I gathered all my power to enter the college premises and passed the entrance exam of Purbanchal University in the second attempt. This time the scenario was different, I worked and read hard to be pass because I was scared of losing that last opportunity of reading further & I was determined in my decision of becoming an Engineer.
Today, If I look back to those 6 silly months journey, I can realize that taking the decision immediately was always my weakness and “Acme” was always my lucky charm. Don’t know why, lots of innovative ideas come to mind whenever I entered the college premises, which always boost my determination & motivate me to go further. Maybe that’s what we call the magic of college environment. Same things used to happen to me when I used to study Diploma in that college, and guess what today I am the mature guy with capabilities of converting those ideas into good projects. From now onwards I will not care about the decisions and outputs, all I will do is keep moving forward & will see where this life will take me.
Game On!!
Thank You, Acme!!