OpenMED, an open access Internet archive for research works on medical and allied sciences that is hosted by an Indian government body, has been nominated as a finalist for the prestigious Stockholm Challenge 2006 award.
Backed by the National Informatics Centre, OpenMED allows authors and researchers to self-archive their scientific and technical documents. The Stockholm Challenge is a prominent global networking programme for information and communication technology (ICT) entrepreneurs and its award is given away in the Swedish capital in the summer.
It aims to show how IT "can improve living conditions and increase economic growth in all parts of the world". Over the years, some 3,000 projects have been submitted for this award.
Finalists are still being announced and there is still a long way to go for a win. But the finalist status for the Indian project marks recognition of it being innovative in some way.
To self-archive their scientific and technical documents, the authors and researchers need to register at the site http://openmed.nic.in. Anyone with access to the Internet can search these documents and archives without registering.
OpenMED calls itself a "discipline-based international archive".
Naina Pandita, senior technical director and project coordinator of the ICMR-NIC Centre for Biomedical Information at New Delhi, explained: "It accepts both published and unpublished documents relevant to research in the medical and allied sciences including bio-medical, medical informatics, dental, nursing and pharmaceutical sciences."
OpenMED accepts preprints (pre-refereed journal papers), post-prints (refereed journal papers), conference papers, conference posters, presentations, technical reports and departmental working papers and theses.
In case of non-English documents, descriptive data such as information of the author, title, source and the abstract and keywords are included in English.
"Submitted documents will be placed into the submission buffer and become part of the OpenMED archive on their acceptance," Pandita told IANS.
"We expect it to promote self-archiving and open access to papers or scholarly publications in these fields," said a member of the project team.
But there's a rider: inclusion in OpenMED archive gives no assurance of any kind regarding the correctness or quality of the information or software. The site's disclaimer says so.
"(Our) objective is to encourage the self-archiving culture amongst medical professionals in India. The goal is to preserve valuable research publications for future medical researchers and, side-by-side, to publicise research being conducted in the country," the project's promoters said in the application that made it to the final round in Scandinavia.
This project, argue its promoters, is based on E-Prints, a free downloadable software, and this archive can be easily replicated. In future, the project plans to launch Open Access Journals as a non-commercial venture.
In February, Pandita announced the number of submissions to the OpenMED archive had almost touched the 1,000 mark.