Open Access to Sri Lankan Scholarly Publications: a web survey of Sri Lankan Journals Online and e-Repositories

  • Ramanan Thankavadivel Eastern University
  • Norman Ravikumar Muthurajah Eastern University
Keywords: Open Access, Scholarly Publications, Electronic Repositories, ‘Mushroom’ Journals, Sri Lankan Universities


Scholarly publication has still been a challenge to young academics that are yearning for sharing their works in high-impact journals. One of the challenges to access to reputed databases is their high subscription rates. Next discouraging factor is that many of these journals charge article processing fees at varying amounts, which are unaffordable to authors with inadequate income background. In general, universities/institutions do not support to pay the publications fees. Thirdly, not every author is better at his/her first attempt to get their works accepted since they need training and experience to master the academic writing. Although the authors find ways to publish their research in renowned journals, their universities are finding it difficult to subscribe to those expensive information resources. Therefore, open access has become not only an advantage to academic institutions that are deprived of adequate budgetary allocations for subscriptions but also a relief to novice academic writers. In this line, Sri Lankan Journals Online (SLJOL) and the e-repositories of universities in the country are making scholarly publications available as open access. SLJOL is a product of the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) under the joint project of Journals Online. With its inception in August 2008, SLJOL sets its objectives to widen the access to and visibility of research published in Sri Lanka. Since it uses ‘Open Journals System’ that was created by the Public Knowledge Project (based in Canada), journal contents are indexed through Open Archive Initiative that harvest metadata of articles. Thus, SLJOL provides avenue for local authors to have a global audience. Presently, SLJOL provides open access to 60 peer reviewed journal titles published in Sri Lanka, which are covering a wide spectrum of disciplines. Of 60 journals, 36.66% are published by the universities and affiliated institutions, 35% of journals are published by institutes and learned societies, and 21.66% are published by professional organizations and associations, whilst, 6.66% of the publications are contributed by research institutes. The subject coverage of the journals is as follows: Agriculture is 13.33% (8), Architecture, Building and Planning 3.33% (2), Science 10% (6), Education 1.66% (1), Law 1.66% (1), IT and Computer Sciences 1.66% (1), Medicine and subject allied to medicine 40% (24), Multidisciplinary 6.66% (4), Physical Sciences 1.66% (1), Humanities and Social Studies 5 %(3), Management 8.33% (5), Environmental Science 1.66% (1) and Library and Information Science 3.33% (2). Considering electronic repositories, most of the universities, research institutes and other academic societies in Sri Lanka have their own digital collections that are freely accessible. Currently, there are 17 digital repositories are listed on Directory Sri Lankan Institutional Repositories, which contains 53,185 articles in various disciplines. The National Science Foundation (NSF) provides national e-repository, which covers full text scholarly literature of Sri Lankan origin. Research articles and reports, theses and dissertation, conference proceedings, abstracts of research session, and articles authored by academics and researchers of the institutions are stored on these repositories. Finally, the authors intend to kindle awareness about ever proliferating journal business in every nook and corner of academia of the globe. There has been skepticism of these ‘mushroom’ journals for their authenticity and credibility. Eminent academics are hesitant to publish their works in those journals. As a result of which, there has been a gap between knowledge shared on well-known sources and easily-affordable mushroom journals. Therefore, scholarly publications on open access sources need to comply with standards, whilst giving opportunity for research to be available to grassroots level of society.

Author Biographies

Ramanan Thankavadivel, Eastern University
Senior Assistant Librarian, Eastern University
Norman Ravikumar Muthurajah, Eastern University
Senior Assistant Librarian, Eastern University