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DU hasn’t paid for online journals and portals, can’t access them from home, say teachers

Teachers allege they are having trouble teaching or researching due to lack of resources. DU’s own online library hasn’t subscribed to important journals.

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New Delhi: Teaching or doing research from home has become troublesome for faculty members in Delhi University colleges — they complain that some of the online resources suggested to them by the university have become inaccessible as it has not paid for the subscription of e-journals and some paid portals.

With the 21-day nationwide lockdown due to Covid-19 in place, most educational institutions have asked their teachers to work from home, including taking classes and working on their own research projects.

However, teachers say portals such as N-List (National Library and Information Services Infrastructure for Scholarly Content), which has peer-reviewed journals, e-books and other research material for college and university teachers, is inaccessible, while a lot of e-journals are also unavailable because the university has not paid for them in a long time.

Delhi University vice-chancellor Yogesh Tyagi did not respond to calls and text messages from ThePrint asking about the unavailability of e-resources.

Also read: This is how Modi govt plans to resume classes in schools in April despite lockdown

Teachers’ complaints

“Me and some other teachers have not been able to access portals like N-List and some material in ShodhShala because they are paid,” said Manoj Kumar, assistant professor at Satyawati Evening College.

“The responsibility for the payment lies both with the college and the university, and both have shirked it. The other portals that the university has suggested, like SWAYAM, have very little or no relevant information for teachers at the college level. There is nothing that I can use for my research,” he said.

Premchand, a member of the faculty at Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College, said: “Of all the things that the university has suggested, N-List is the only portal which has quality journals, and they are all inaccessible to us.”

Rajesh Jha, who teaches at Deshbandhu College, added: “Going online for teaching and learning as a part of the regular teaching process is fine, but once the entire system is shifted online, things become difficult.”

Also read: Govt asks researchers to develop mathematical models on Covid-19 spread, will fund studies

Old problem magnified

Another issue the teachers are facing is the unavailability of e-journals on the Delhi University’s own online library. This is an old issue, but has become more troublesome because of the lockdown. The university has allegedly not paid for subscription of many international journals of law, science, humanities and economics since 2016.

Journals like Science Direct, Emerald and Bloomsbury, which are referred to by teachers and students alike, have not been available to those in Delhi University for a long time.

“The issue of unavailability of journals at the DU library is an old one. I had been fighting for it since 2016 until the time I retired in mid-2019,” former DU Librarian D.V. Singh told ThePrint. “The university was supposed to pay money to continue getting access to international journals, but it could not be done despite various attempts.”

Singh added that to continue getting subscription to the journals that the university earlier had, an amount of Rs 5 crore would be required annually.

Another DU teacher, who did not wish to be named, said: “Unavailability of e-journals was always a hindrance for researchers, but we would manage somehow when the libraries and colleges were opened. But now that we are supposed to work from home, this is becoming a major issue.”

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