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One Nation, One Subscription (ONOS) UPSC NOTE

 "One Nation, One Subscription" (ONOS) model

  •  ‘One Nation, One Subscription (ONOS)’ proposes a centralised model of subscription to scientific journals, making them universally available to all publicly funded institutions

  • It is costly to get access to these commercial journals

  • It is estimated that institutions in India annually spend ₹1,500 crore to access journals and databases

  • But the fruits of this expenditure are reaped by only the top few institutes. 

  • ONOS negotiation by the government is currently underway with the five major commercial publishers who dominate the market.

Accessing scientific literature outside

  • Currently, there is a strong push for Open Access (OA) by the U.S. and European Union.

  • The U.S. released its updated OA policy in 2023 that mandates immediate open accessibility of all publicly funded research articles by 2025

Challenges in accessing scientific literature in India

  • Considering this trend, it is reasonable to argue that we should be paying less than before. 

  • The oligopolistic academic publishing market, dominated by a handful of powerful publishers in the global north, allows these publishers to set stringent terms, making any negotiation on ONOS a challenge. 

  • The entrenched reputation and authority of these publishers also stymie any discussion of alternatives.

  • If significant portions of research are already accessible without cost, the rationale for a unified, costly subscription becomes less compelling

  • It is also important to note that ONOS will not help make Indian research globally accessible; rather, it primarily facilitates access for Indian researchers to journals owned by big publishing oligarchs

  • Even if one pays and subscribes to the journal, there is no guarantee of continued access

  • Today, most academic journals are only digitally available

  • Most articles have a digital object identifier (DOI), but DOI does not ensure long-term preservation

  • A recent study highlights that “approximately 28% of academic journal articles with DOIs appear entirely unpreserved.” 

  • This finding suggests that millions of research papers risk vanishing from the Internet.


  • To become atmanirbhar (self-reliant), India needs to make its own journal system better, with no burden of payment to authors or readers

  • Further, with its capabilities in digital technology, India should also become a pioneer for the global south by creating and sharing digital public infrastructure for low-cost, high-quality scientific publishing.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: One Nation, One Subscription (ONOS) UPSC NOTE
One Nation, One Subscription (ONOS) UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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