The University of Delhi has not updated its subscription to more than 40 online databases that grant access to various journals and other resources, thereby taking away essential research materials.
The reason for this drainage of research material in the University has taken place due to two contemporaneous processes.
Initiated in the year 2015, the University of Delhi gradually stopped updating its subscriptions to 29 online databases, it had direct subscriptions to. The inclusions- IEEE Xplore, which provides access to material on computer science, electrical engineering, and electronics, has not been accessible since 2016; Emerald Management Extra, which grants access to management journals, has not been accessible since 2015; and Science Direct which provided research material for students looking for physical science, life science, health science, and social sciences, has not been accessible since 2017.
According to the sources in DU’s library system, the funds used for these databases were provided until 2014 by the university’s administration from various budgetary heads.
Around 39-40 databases continue to be made available through the limited funds which ooze in through a couple of grants. The standing committee on e-resources took a call to renew the subscriptions. For the majority’s interest, those chosen are less costly. Crucial ones such as Science Direct, were around Rs. 90 lakh per year, stated the sources.
Varsity’s vice-chancellor Yogesh Tyagi and registrar Tarun Das did not respond to calls, messages, and e-mails with queries from The Indian Express.
Furthermore, in 2015, the varsity had decided to no longer subscribe to print editions of journals. The situation has become so obscene that even access to the online editions has been denied. The University’s other source of databases used to be through the UGC-run Infonet Digital Library Consortium launched in 2004, that provided free access to 25 databases of e-journal to the Delhi University which was a part of its network.
However, all this was deconstructed and replaced by another consortium called e-Shodh Sindhu. In October 2017, universities received a letter from the HRD Ministry stating that the programme would do “collective bargaining” for these institutes for e-journals required by them. This essentially meant was that the institutes would provide a list of e-journals to its students and faculty need. Besides this, the portal’s Negotiating Committee would negotiate prices on behalf of them and the institutes would pay the negotiated rates directly to the publisher. This requisition list was supposed to be sent by November 10, 2017, but the University never sent one.