Sunday, 1 January 2012

EPT OA AWARD 2011- announcing the winner!

Press Release January 1st 2012


The Electronic Publishing Trust for Development is pleased to announce the winners of a new annual award to be made to individuals working in developing countries who have made a significant personal contribution to advancing the cause of open access and the free exchange of research findings.

We received 30 proposals from organisations in 17 developing countries on four continents, naming individuals who have worked hard to promote Open Access and who have achieved substantial progress. The selection of a single winner was extremely difficult as we received nominations for so many individuals who have made impressive strides by any or all of the following means:
  • establishing OA institutional repositories;
  • setting up or encouraging conversion to OA journals;
  • achieving establishment of OA mandates requiring research to be OA on  publication, or other policy developments;
  • advocating OA via seminars, publications, workshops, videos;
  • training others in the technology of setting up IRs;
  •  preparing and establishing e-learning projects;
  • working towards the acceptance of Creative Commons licensing arrangements for research publications;
  • developing software for use in OA practices.
Because of the high standard of the applicants, we have decided to name a single winner, but also to recognise three other individuals who were very close runners-up. All will receive a certificate and the winner will receive in addition an engraved plaque in the next few weeks.

We are very happy to announce that the winner of the inaugural award is Dr Francis Jayakanth of the National Centre for Scientific Information, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.  Dr Jayakanth played a significant role in the establishment of India’s first institutional repository (IR) ( He now manages the IR and has provided technical support for establishing IRs in many other universities and institutes in India. He has been the key resource person at many events to train people in setting up IRs and OA journals. He has delivered presentations on IRs, OA journals, the OAI protocol, OAI compliance, the benefits of OA to authors and institutions and the role of libraries. He has developed a free and open source software tool (CDSOAI), which is widely used. 

The Indian Institute of Science is the most prestigious institute in India and its IR now holds >31,400 records, making the century-old institute's research far more globally visible than before. The University Grants Commission in India has been impressed by the IISC’s IR and has directed all universities in India to replicate this effort.

Francis Jayakanth can indeed be considered an OA ‘renaissance man’, an advocate and technical expert in all aspect of Open Access development and an inspiration to all, both at the research and policy level.

The EPT is proud to congratulate Dr Jayakanth as our first Award winner. We believe this Award and the example of our first winner will inspire many others and lead to similarly impressive nominations  in 2012.

The runners-up for this award were (in alphabetical order): 

  - Ina Smith, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa;
  - Tatyana Zayseva, Khazar University, Azerbaijan;
  - Xiaolin Zhang
, National Science Library,
Chinese Academy of  Science.

The EPT wishes to congratulate them and all who have been proposed, since without exception they have made a significant personal contribution to the sharing of research findings across the world.  We will be sharing some of their stories and successes on our blog over the next few weeks.

Electronic Publishing Trust for Development


Dr Francis Jayakinth 

We wish to stress once more that the selection of a single winner was exceedingly difficult since all nominees were very worthy and their work of such a high standard. Nominees ranged from those working on long-established developments to those setting up new ‘starter’ efforts, making progress in one or all of the aspects of Open Access, listed above. We were very encouraged to learn how much impressive work is underway around the world to achieve equitable access to research findings and hope that this Award will encourage further developments in the years ahead.

While established efforts in the ‘North’ now debate the finer points of Open Access and are frustrated at the too-slow speed of adoption, the developing world is marching ahead with establishing essential infrastructure, recognising the great benefits that OA can bring to authors, their institutes and indeed to the progress of research in their regions.

We will be posting further details of the excellent work of some of our nominees in the weeks ahead. 

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