Vikramshila: making research journey more transparent, efficient and affordable
In ancient times, India was the center of Higher Education and Learning where scholars from across the globe came to be enlightened. Years of foreign invasion, occupation and colonization destroyed this age-old rich tradition of imparting knowledge. Today, dissemination of knowledge is becoming segmented, selective and unaffordable. Vikramshila Education is trying to fill this gap. Let’s see how.
Shafina Segon is the Co-founder and CMO of Vikramshila Research Pvt Ltd. She has been a part of the Education Industry for the past 30 years, having worked with many leading publishers, taking the front seat in marketing & sales.
Vivek Mehra is the founder of Vikramshila Research Pvt Ltd. He is the former CEO and MD of SAGE Publications India and has been engaged in supporting Higher Education for twenty plus years. Vivek is the recipient of many awards in the field of leadership & education. He serves as the honorary Council Member and Member of Board Studies for the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers’ (ALPSP) journal, Learned Publishing. He currently teaches the paper Research Publishing and Ethics to PhD students at various Indian universities. He is also currently pursuing his own PhD in Management.
India’s research, like that of the developing world, is important for local researchers.
For too long, the West has dominated the research output with its agenda of research being relevant first for their markets. India’s research publishing seems to have been systematically side-lined and this needs to change. With this concept in mind, Vikramshila Education, a start up in Higher Education debuted in January 2023.Vikramshila aspires to be a contributor to the transformation of India into a ‘knowledge superpower’ and a global leader in Higher Education.
“Over the decades, we have handed over India’s publishing decisions to multinational publishers. The result is that core Indian research doesn’t fit in with foreign owned publisher priorities. The case of book publishing is stark with many leading MNC publishers either completely stopping book publishing or publishing Indian content from overseas. We are equally to blame since we see more prestige in publishing overseas than in building indigenous entities. Vikramshila Research is focused completely on the research domain for now. It is an honest attempt to build India’s research publishing infrastructure. The question isn’t about being successful or failing, the most important issue for us making an attempt to set things right. Time will tell if we are successful or not,” says Vivek Mehra, Founder, Vikramshila Research Pvt Ltd.
Vikramshila is committed to providing transparent, credible, and affordable publishing outlets primarily to Indian researchers and researchers from the developing world. The dream is to see India become the frontrunner in scientific research output. “We break barriers of exclusion, regionalism and discrimination faced by scholars and researchers across the globe. Technology is at the heart of all that we do without losing sight of a researcher’s objective to be published.We remain committed to being inclusive, affordable and Open for All,” shares Vivek.
Vikramshila aims to be the Open Access platform of choice for institutions, researchers, academics, professionals and students.“Our key aim is to make access to information free as freedom so that it is seamless and connected,” he adds.
This will be achieved by launching a series of subject specific Mega Journals, , which will be published under the umbrella of brand Aakashganga. Researchers and professionals can get their findings published here. “We also plan to launch an open access platform for books called Kaashi,” adds Vivek.
Besides this, Vikramshila Education has also created a portal for freelancers to register. This portal (in creation), is called Seva Haat, which translates into a marketplace providing services. Seva Haat aims to be the largest network of independent professionals. “The thought was to support the many professionals, who were overnight made redundant, and were/are not able to find work. Currently, we are limiting to publishing services only,” shares Vivek.
Making publishing easy for researchers…
“There is little effort in building researchers and simplifying their publishing journey. Complex legacy processes and practices will not work to fulfil India’s growing demand to showcase its research. Vikramshila is technology driven to rationalize processes and most of all bring transparency to otherwise ‘secretive’ practices. The case of Anonymous Peer Review is one such burning issue. No one knows how this works; publishers claim they are service providers. Societies claim to have processes that identify reviewers. The fact remains India’s research community doesn’t benefit from these practices. Vikramshila will introduce Triple Blind Peer Review and Post Publishing Open Review where researchers can directly engage with the community in a transparent manner. We are excited about what the future holds; the mission though is clear, it is Atmanirbhar Bharat and India first,” adds Shafina Segon, Co-founder and CMO of Vikramshila Research Pvt Ltd..
“Infact, we would like to represent every research scholar who feels he/she isn’t given a fair chance to present his/her case for publishing his/her research,” concludes Vivek.