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Teichmiiller Theory and Interfaces with Ergodic Theory and Group Actions

An Orientation Programme on Social Science Research was conducted during 17-19 July, 2013 by the Centre for the Study of Discrimination & Exclusion (CSDE), School of Social Sciences (SSS) with the financial support from the ICSSR Northern Region Centre. The venue of the programme was Committee Room, SSS-I. The theme of the orientation programme was "Social Exclusion and Liberal Democracy".

The Mathematics group at the School of Physical Sciences (SPS) organized an International Conference and workshop in Mathematics on "Teichmiiller Theory and Interfaces with Ergodic Theory and Group Actions" during 28 October - 1 November, 2013 at the School of Physical Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

About eighty mathematicians from various parts of the world participated in this international meeting. More information about this event can be found at the conference webpage: http://www.math.u-psud.fr/~repsurf/ERC/Delhi/JNU.html. Many distinguished mathematicians presented their recent works in the conference and as a part of the workshop, there were three mini-courses offered by experts in order to educate students and faculty about this branch of Mathematics. Also, a public talk on "Moduli Spaces" by Prof. David Dumas from University of Illinois at Chicago was organized on 30 October, 2013 at the convention Centre, JNU.
This meeting was supported by ERC-advanced grant. HighTeich, Department of Science and Technology (DST), the GEAR Network, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the National Board of Higher Mathematics (NBHM).

Riddhi Shah, Professor
School of Physical Sciences

Opening up by Closing the Circle: Strengthening Open Access in India

UNESCO, in partnership with Central Library, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA) organized a National Conference on Opening up by Closing the Circle: Strengthening Open Access in India.To mark the Open Access Week, the event was organized at JNU, New Delhi on 21 October, 2013. The organizers intended to focus on the need to create an enabling environment for open access (OA) in India, promote and upscale existing OA initiatives, and encourage the development of new OA programmes. This was planned to do by 'closing the circle' or linking multiple stakeholder groups, viz. researchers, librarians, archivists, publishers, technologists, authors and policymakers.
Beginning with Saraswati Vandana and lighting of lamp, Prof. Sudha Pai, Rector, JNU, welcomed the guests and the delegates. Prof. S K Sopory, Vice-Chancellor, JNU said "There is sheer need of such models where submission and access to OA journals are free for authors as well as readers". Representing UNESCO, Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, addressed the gathering explaining the UNESCO's objectives and initiatives in holding the Conference. He specifically highlighted the UNESCO's path-breaking initiatives to make the OA movement more popular. Dr. Sanjaya Mishra, Director, CEMCA shared his ideas about the intentions and expectations about organizing the Conference. Dr. Ramesh C. Gaur, University Librarian, Central Library, JNU shared the OA initiatives of JNU's Central Library. To mark the Open Access Week, JNU's Central Library presented the package of 5000 ETDs (Electronic Theses and Dissertations) of JNU research scholars to INFLIBNET. Dr Sopory handed over the ETDs to Dr. Jagdish Arora, Director, INFLIBNET, Ahmedabad and the delegates applauded with cheers. The Inaugural Session ended with proposing vote of thanks by Dr. Ramesh C. Gaur.

The conference began with the Keynote Address on The Importance of Being Open by Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hyderabad. Dr. Ramaswamy said "though OA movement has a global devoted following, in recent times, the debate has gotten complicated". He also expressed his displeasure over poor peer-review processes and growing trend of plagiarism. He said "an unreviewed (or poorly reviewed) work is potentially dangerous".

The first Panel discussion on Why Open Access? was chaired by Dr. Usha Mujoo Munshi, Librarian, Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), New Delhi. The discussion began with Mr Sanjiv Goswami's presentation on Open Access and Its Positive Impacts. Mr. Goswami, Managing Director of Springer India Pvt. Ltd. highlighted the importance of publication units and their relation with the authors, librarians and readers. Dr. Hirwani, Head, CSIR Unit for Research and Development of Information Products, Pune said, "CSIR will lead the OA movement within the country and take on board other scientific agencies to form a National Open Access Policy, including legislation, if necessary to mandate the availability of output of publicly-funded research in public domain". Dr. A R D Prasad, Professor and Head, Documentation, Research and Training Centre (DRTC), Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Bangalore presented his ideas on Open Data Repositories (ODRs).Speaking about the importance of data transparency, he said, "Data transparency supplements the objectivity and self-corrective characteristics of Science". Another invited speaker, Dr. Nehaa Chaudhari, Programme Officer, The Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore shared her thoughts on Pondering Copyright and Recasting Openness. She underscored the value of open licensing in view of the IPR issues. She also spoke on alternatives to copyright and ways to recast openness. Later Dr. Usha Mujoo Munshi, presented her ideas on Open Data, Open Licensing, and Open Data Policy before sharing her remarks. She expressed that there was a need of a robust data policy.

The second Panel discussion, titled The Open Access Environment in India was chaired by Dr. N V Satyanarayana, Chairman and Managing Director, Informatics India Ltd., Bangalore. There were five invited speakers who shared their views on the theme of the panel discussion.

Prof. Uma Kanjilal, Director in-Charge, Advanced Centre of Informatics and Innovative Learning (ACIIL), IGNOU, New Delhi spoke on Open Educational Resources: Indian Perspectives. She introduced the concept of OER, its advantages, some popular OER initiatives and OER search engines. Speaking on Open Access Initiatives in India, Dr. Pratapanand Jha, Director (Cultural Informatics), Indira Gandhi National Council for Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi, highlighted the major initiatives of IGNCA. He assured that majority of the digitised resources would be made available openly online. Dr. Rameshwar Singh, Project Director of Directorate of Knowledge Management in Agriculture, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi shared his experiences of OA and the policy implemented at ICAR. Another invited speaker, Dr Sukhdev Singh, Technical Director, National Informatics Centre (NIC) spoke on Open Access to Indian Bio-Medical Literature. He gave an overview of online access to OA data of pre-Internet and post-Internet phases of India. He said that there was a need to promote OA repositories and self-archiving of research papers among the authors. Mr. Vivek Mehra, MD and CEO, Sage Publications India Pvt. Ltd. expressed his concern over the rise of predatory publishers in the OA domain. Dr. Satyanarayana speaking on OA Publishing in India: Need for Quality Benchmarking appreciated India's contributions to a steady growth of scholarly OA journals. However, he said "A global quality policy is an urgent need to keep the OA movement clean and relevant."

The deliberations of the Round Table (RT) meeting on Towards a National OA Policy: Forging the Missing Links was preceded by Rapporteur's brief summary of the key issues emerged from the two panel discussions. Dr. Sanjaya Mishra chaired the RT with the participants viz. Dr. Gautam Bose, Head (Social Development), NIC, Dr. N V Sathyanarayana, Dr. Ramesh C. Gaur and Mr. Vivek Mehra. The participants of the RT recapped and addressed the selected issues discussed in the panel discussions. Dr. Mishra, highlighting the issues discussed in both the Panel discussions and the participants' remarks made in RT, requested the floor to give their suggestions too.

After a day long successful deliberations and active participation of the delegates, Ms. Iskra Panevska, Adviser for Communication and Information for South Asia, UNESCO, New Delhi gave concluding remarks. Dr Ramesh C. Gaur thanked profusely the co-hosts, UNESCO and CEMCA for their determination to make OA popular in India through the Conference and also his colleagues and delegates for their active participation.

Ramesh C. Gaur
Librarian, Central Library

Training Programme on Assistive Technologies and Library Orientation for Students with Visual Impairment

Two training programs were conducted by the Central Library for the benefit of students with visual impairment on 30-31 October, 2013. The events were conducted with an aim to familiarize the students with latest assistive technologies that would be useful in academics and daily living. The first one was a day long training program on assistive technologies wherein experts from Saksham were invited. The second day there was a session to familiarize the students and research scholars with the e-resources available at JNU.

The training program on assistive technologies covered a wide range of topics. The various options of mobile phones available for persons with visual impairment were explained. Some of the ongoing research for making maps accessible for blind and for introducing new features in canes that are being undertaken by different organizations were discussed. There was a detailed session on the various options and the latest developments for reading, recording and accessing books. There was also a demonstration of the dragon naturally speaking software, a software that writes as the person dictates to it. Other talking devices like Hindi OCR scan, instrument for taking blood pressure, calculator, thermometer for the purpose for independent living were also displayed. On the whole it was a very informative and interactive program.

The library orientation program was held on 31 October, 2013 to give training to the visually impaired students and research scholars on accessing the e-resources available at JNU. This too was a good session where the students came to know various new things. Also certain requirements for making study material and sites more accessible came forth which would help the library in making the experience of studying and researching more enjoyable for persons with visual impairment.

On the whole it was a wonderful initiative by the Central Library to enable persons with visual impairment to be independent.

Pragya Deora
Research Scholar
Centre for study of Social Systems, SSS

Contemporary Saudi Arabia and the Emerging Indo-Saudi Relations

Gulf Studies Programme (GSP), Centre for West Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University organized a one day seminar on Contemporary Saudi Arabia and the Emerging Indo-Saudi Relations on 16, November 2013 in JNU. The seminar began with the keynote address by former diplomat Shri Rajiv Sikri. Delegates from Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), Shiv Nadar University, Jamia Millia Islamia as well as from Jawaharlal Nehru University presented papers. The seminar was broadly divided into two themes; the first session on Saudi Arabia: Internal Issues was chaired by Prof. A.K. Pasha and the second session on External and Bilateral Relations was chaired by Prof. A K Ramakrishnan. Both the sessions were followed by an Q&A session. The seminar ended with a vote of thanks from Prof. P.R. Kumaraswamy, Director, GSP.

Tsupokyemla (Ayem)
Gulf Studies Programme
School of International Studies


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