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MHRD stops access for BDU researchers to 3,000 e-journals

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 In an unexpected development, research students as well as teachers of Bharathidasan university have lost access to 3,000-odd e-journals in various disciplines with the ministry of human resources and development blocking as many as 10 of the 19 e-resource databases. These knowledge sources that were accessed free of cost by the students and research scholars at the university were allegedly blocked as part of a cost-cutting exercise.
BDU now has access to only 1,500 e-journals that are offered through Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET) Centre. It is an autonomous inter-university centre (IUC) of UGC involved in sharing information resources and services among academic and research institutions. These international e-journals were sources of information for students and faculty members for their research papers apart from scholars for their MPhil and PhD research activity.

Universities are categorised as phase I, II and III by MHRD based on the usage of e-resources with Bharathidasan University falling under Phase II. A section of faculty members related the MHRD’s decision to the NIRF ranking as Bharathidasan couldn’t make it to the top 50 in the university category. However, university sources say it is a cost cutting measure by MHRD. “It is unfortunate that MHRD failed to realise that this was an investment towards students and researchers,” said an official.
“Library resources or infrastructure in centrally-funded institutions run into crores of rupees but it is only a few lakhs that state-run universities get. That’s why such e-resources are significant for state-run universities which also have to cater to the knowledge requirement of teachers and students in their affiliated institutions,” said a senior faculty member of BDU. Saying that BDU had been one of the leading universities in terms of e-resources usage, another faculty member said that over 2 lakh e-files had been downloaded in the last one year alone, as per the usage data.
“But denying access to half of the e-resource accessed so far is a significant loss in terms of research activities at the institute. The university is also not in a position to renew the subscription as it would cost the exchequer over Rs 1.5 crore,” added the faculty member.
“Access to such e-resources is also a reason for BDU being much sought-after in terms of research activity, says S Rajesh, a research scholar from BDU. Asking the university administration to carry on talks with MHRD to get back the access, he said that gone were the days when students were referring books as such e-contents of international repute were the order of the day.

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