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Free Access To Academic Papers For Everyone In India: Government Proposes 'One Nation, One Subscription' Approach As Part Of Major Shift To Openness

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Techdirt has been following the important copyright case in India that is about how people in that country can access academic journals. Currently, many turn to "shadow libraries" like Sci-Hub and Libgen, because they cannot afford the often hefty frees that academic publishers charge to access papers. If a new "Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy" (pdf), just released as a draft by the Government of India, comes to fruition, people may not need to:

The Government of India will negotiate with journal publishers for a "one nation, one subscription" policy whereby, in return for one centrally-negotiated payment, all individuals in India will have access to journal articles. This will replace individual institutional journal subscriptions.
That's just one of the bold ideas contained in the 63-page document. Here's another: open access to all research funded by the Indian taxpayers.
Full text of final accepted author versions of manuscripts (postprints and optionally preprints) along with supplementary materials, which are the result of public funding or performed in publicly funded institutions, or were performed using infrastructure built with the support of public funds will be deposited, immediately upon acceptance, to an institutional repository or central repository.
Similarly, all data generated from publicly funded research will be released as open data, with a few exceptions:
All data used in and generated from public-funded research will be available to everyone (larger scientific community and public) under FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) terms. Wherever applicable, exceptions will be made on grounds of privacy, national security and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Even in such situations, suitably anonymised and/or redacted data will be made available. In all cases, where the data cannot be released to the general public, there will be a mechanism to release it to bonafide/authorised researchers.
All publicly funded scientific resources will be made shareable and accessible nationally through digital platforms, including laboratories, supercomputing and AI facilities. Publicly funded open educational resources will be made available under a "minimally restrictive" open content license. Libraries at publicly funded institutions will be accessible to everyone, subject only to "reasonable security protocols".Another idea is the creation of a dedicated portal (remember those?), the Indian Science and Technology Archive of Research, which will provide access to all publicly fundedresearch, including manuscripts, research data, supplementary information, research protocols, review articles, conference proceedings, monographs, book chapters, etc. There will also be a national science, technology and innovation "observatory", which will establish data repositories and a computational grid, among other things.It's an incredibly ambitious program, with an ambitious goal: "To achieve technological self-reliance and position India among the top three scientific superpowers in the decade to come." The other two superpowers being the US and China, presumably. Whether that program is implemented, wholly or even just in part, is another matter, and will depend on the lobbying that will now inevitably take place, and the usual budgetary constraints. But it is certainly impressive in the completeness of its vision, and in its commitment to openness and sharing in all its forms.Comments on the proposals can be sent to india-stip@gov.in until Monday, 25 January, 2021.Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter, Diaspora, or Mastodon.

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posted at: 12:01am on 20-Jan-2021
path: /Policy | permalink | edit (requires password)

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Illinois Legislature Sends Massive Police Reform Bill To The Governor's Desk

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A serious set of police reforms has passed through the Illinois legislature and is headed to the governor's desk. You can tell it's a good set of reforms because the police union hates it.In the final hours of the legislative session, state senator Elgie Sims did no one any favors by introducing a 764-page amendment to the reform bill that had already passed. That's not a cool move, no matter what the ends are. No one can possibly hope to read and comprehend something of that size with only a few hours left in the session, as another state senator pointed out on his Facebook page.But it's not as if the state senators had no idea what was contained in the bill. More than a week earlier, one of the state's police unions was already complaining about its contents and asking legislators to vote the bill down. The union's list of complaints looks like a comprehensive set of reforms -- something almost any other person or entity in the state would view as positives. Here's the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police's bitch list about the earlier, 611-page police reform bill, followed by commentary:

Eliminates Qualified Immunity for police officers, making them civilly liable to siren chasing trial lawyers
Qualified immunity needs to go. It has encouraged bad behavior by cops by making it almost impossible for them to be held accountable for their actions. As one Appeals Court judge recently pointed out, qualified immunity turns civil rights litigation into a rigged game citizens almost always lose.
Eliminates Officer’s rights to Collectively Bargain, creating a “special class” of public employee who does not have these rights in Illinois
A step towards eliminating police unions is a step towards accountability. This point can't be argued. History has proven this much.
It Eliminates impartial arbitration over burdensome residency requirements
Asking cops to live near the people they serve shouldn't be burdensome. When cops are commuting from distant suburbs and neighboring towns to protect and serve, it's pretty tough for them to feel any empathy for the people they police or contribute to any sense of community.
Allows for unrestricted and ungoverned disciplinary policies of law enforcement officers
Likely hyperbole, just like the line that opens the FOP's post:
Late on January 5th, the Illinois General Assembly filed a 611 page bill that eliminates law enforcement as we know it from every community in the State.
LOL. Ok.
Prohibits departments from taking advantage of cost-saving federal surplus programs
An less-dishonest phrasing would explain that this bill prevents cops from acquiring military gear like assault rifles, grenade launchers, and armored vehicles. The Defense Department's 1033 program has driven a wedge between the police and policed, and has delivered no measurable improvement to law enforcement safety or crime reduction.
Allows officers to be punished or fired based on anonymous and unsubstantiated or unverifiable complaints
Oh, I doubt that.
Mandates that those unsubstantiated and unverified complaints be kept to be used against officers forever, with no destruction and no limits on how they can be utilized to inflict harm on officers
Stop your crying. Arrest records are permanent, even if arrestees are never convicted of the alleged crimes. There's no reason officers shouldn't have a permanent record that reflects their years of service -- both the good and the bad. Files will note claims that are unsubstantiated and unverified. Those won't hurt officers because, well, verified/substantiated complaints rarely have a negative effect on law enforcement officers' careers.
Substantially increases both initial and ongoing education requirements with no money to pay for the increased costs and no assurances that the courses will even be offered
That's a problem that needs to be addressed. But dismissing it out of hand because all the details aren't in writing yet is counterproductive.
Mandates the use of body cameras by all departments for every officer with no money to pay for the cost of those cameras
Pretty sure the police will pay for the cameras. They'll pay for it the way they pay for everything else: tax dollars. Or, if money's tight, maybe cops could free up some of their asset forfeiture funds to buy this equipment.
Defunds any department that does not comply 100% with the draconian requirements of the legislation
Again, hyperbole. There should be consequences for not complying with [checks notes] state law, but very few local governments are actually willing to defund police departments. Losing some of your budget because of compliance failures is not "defunding."
Eliminates funding for law enforcement agencies
LOL. No.
Eliminates Cash Bail
Cash bail simply allows the less fortunate to see their fortunes suffer even further. It's pretty difficult to keep your life running while in jail and it's impossible to earn money to pay bail while behind bars.
Enacts multiple benefits for felons
Who even knows what the FOP is saying here. The FOP might be referring to the felony murder rule, which is curtailed by this legislation. Felony murder is a hell of a thing, allowing people to be charged with murder if some act they committed resulted in the death of a person -- even if they never directly interacted with that person. For instance, selling drugs that later result in someone's fatal overdose can trigger the felony murder rule.
Prohibits use of force in almost all situations, and makes officers criminally liable for virtually any use of force
No. It doesn't. It tempers the use of force by ensuring it's justifiable. And when it isn't, it can result in criminal charges. The implementation of standards for force deployment is not a "prohibition" just because it eliminates some officer discretion.
Removes prohibitions against obstructing police officers
It doesn't do anything of the sort. It simply makes it a misdemeanor not punishable by more than 48 hours in jail or 100 hours of community service. This makes it less likely obstruction charges will be used to punish people for not being sufficiently deferential to cops.
Charges officers with Official Misconduct, a class 3 felony, for banal and incidental issues
One man's banal is another man's egregious offense. What cops may think are "banal" violations are actually disturbing to those outside of law enforcement and often surface indicators of systemic problems departments aren't dealing with properly. Increasing the severity of the punishment is a good deterrent.That's the FOP's take. And the FOP really didn't need to be so worried about it. No one was going to be able to pass a bill with all of this included. The last-second amendment stripped out a bunch of the really good stuff.
Some more controversial elements were eliminated from the final version of the bill to secure its passage. One would have reduced the power of police unions to bargain over disciplinary procedures. Another would have ended qualified immunity for civil rights violations, which would have made individual officers — instead of taxpayers — financially liable if a court found they intentionally violated the constitution.
Dammit. Passing a qualified immunity ban somewhere in the nation would be a great start -- a test case to see if it actually would result in the parade of litigation horrors cop officials claim it would. That will have to wait for another day and another legislature.But a lot of good stuff remains. The passed version expands the state's officer misconduct database and lengthens the retention of disciplinary records. It gives the state board more power to strip misbehaving officers of their certification. It forces police officers to provide more details on arrests whenever resisting arrest is one of the charges. It adds a duty to intervene when officers witness other officers violating rights. It enacts new procedures for no-knock search warrants. And it mandates body cam use across the state by 2025.The governor has stated he will sign the bill. This is good news for Illinois residents. And it should be good news for cops… at least the good ones. This doesn't change anything good cops already do. It only makes things worse for bad cops, despite the FOP's hysterical claims about it being the end of law enforcement. It should be a new beginning -- one that can be used to rebuild failing agencies and help them rid themselves of their worst components.

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posted at: 12:01am on 20-Jan-2021
path: /Policy | permalink | edit (requires password)

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