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The Sci-Hub Effect? Prominent Research Councils Push Open Access

Torrent Freak |  Ernesto | 


This week several prestigious European research councils announced a major push for Open Access publishing. This will limit the influence of major copyright holders and could eventually help to ‘tear down academia’s paywalls.’ The latter is exactly what Sci-Hub, the “Pirate Bay of Science,” has been advocating for years. Little more than three years ago Elsevier, one of the world’s largest academic publishers, took Sci-Hub to court. It was an unfair battle from the start. With a net income of more than $1 billion per year, the publisher could fund a proper case, while its nemesis relied on donations. Elsevier won the case, including millions of dollars in damages. However, the site remained online and grew bigger. Looking back today, Sci-Hub and its founder Alexandra Elbakyan may very well be the moral winner. This week a group of eleven prestigious European research councils announced that they have agreed to give Open Access a massive push.“By 2020 scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants provided by participating national and European research councils and funding bodies, must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or on compliant Open Access Platforms,” they note. In other words, this publicly funded research can no longer be locked away behind expensive paywalls, which mostly benefits wealthy publishers. It should be as open as…Sci-Hub.

This is a massive deal in academic circles. Traditionally, many researchers preferred “high impact” journals as these provide more prestige. However, many of these are not open. This new agreement changes this dynamic. More high-quality research will appear in Open Access journals, which increases their impact and appeal. It’s a major achievement that can be credited to a steadily increasing group of researchers who have promoted Open Access and pushed against copyright’s stranglehold on science.  While there is no concrete proof, there is reason to believe that Sci-Hub played a major role too. Not least since its open nature is widely embraced by researchers and authors around the world.  That brings us back to Sci-Hub’s founder, who recently published a detailed biography. When the Elsevier lawsuit was first announced TorrentFreak was the first English publication to get an interview with Elbakyan, who made it clear that she wouldn’t cave in to the pressure.  “Everyone should have access to knowledge regardless of their income or affiliation. And that’s absolutely legal. Also the idea that knowledge can be a private property of some commercial company sounds absolutely weird to me,” she said at the time.  While Elbakyan is often portrayed as a pirate, many sympathize with her ideas. It certainly doesn’t seem fair to punish researchers by denying them access to knowledge, simply because their University can’t pay the subscription. In fact, copyright in some cases prevents researchers from accessing their own publications, because these are also locked behind a paywall. “The funniest thing I was told multiple times by researchers is that they have to download their own published articles from Sci-Hub. Even authors do not have access to their own work,” Alexandra previously said. This may sound bizarre, but it’s true. For years it has been standard practice to have researchers sign an agreement to transfer their copyrights to the publisher. Without earning a penny, they were ordered to sign away the rights to their work, only to see it disappear behind a paywall. It’s this practice that Sci-Hub and Elbakyan are revolting against. And as this week’s news shows, that hasn’t been without success. While publishers won’t like it, we would argue that there certainly is a Sci-Hub effect on academic publishing. – Courtesy


AICTE bats for engineering books by Indian authors

AICTE Circular |  13 September 2018 |  New Delhi |

Representational Image

AICTE has also given a list of over 500 books ,recommended by a committee of experts, by Indian authors on various engineering subjects for consideration to the heads of higher education institutions. AICTE has also given a list of over 500 books,recommended by a committee of experts, by Indian authors on various engineering subjects for consideration to the heads of higher education institutions. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has moved in to promote academic books authored by Indian scholars in various engineering disciplines. This comes months after the technical education regulator rolled out a revised curriculum for technical education programmes. In its latest communication, the AICTE has asked higher education institutions to consider impressing upon their faculty members and students to refer to engineering books authored by Indians and published in India. It has also given a list of over 500 books,recommended by a committee of experts, by Indian authors on various engineering subjects for consideration to the heads of higher education institutions.

Students will be befitted by these books as they are in sync with the new model curriculum that we notified in January this year for all technical programmes, an AICTE official said. I believe that these books drawing the experience of Indian authors and contextualized to Indian settings will definitely aid the students in better learning of the concepts and in turn improve their quality, the AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe said in his letter to all university vice chancellors and heads of engineering colleges. The AICTE chief also urged the deemed-to-be-universities, offering technical programmes, to consider referring the Indian authors’ books to their students and faculty members. You will agree that these books by Indian authors and publishers need more encouragement among students and teachers. I request you to impress upon the faculty and students in your university/ institution to refer to the books by Indian authors and publishers, he said. This would also prompt many Indian authors to pen new technical books and in new areas too, augmenting the horizon of technical education “in the Indian scenario,” he added. Many universities offering technical programmes have already adopted the model curriculum from this academic year while the rest are expected to adopt it from the next academic session starting 2019.  – Click here to download the  AICTE circular, 1 page, pdf      /         Click here to download the List of Suggested Books of Indian Authors & Publishers for UG Degree Courses in Engineering & Technology (Feb 2018), 28 pages, pdf

Mobile app and 2.7 lakh computers for free practice for JEE, UGC tests

17 September 2018 | NTA | National Testing Agency | New Delhi |

The National Testing Agency (NTA) has launched a mobile application to enable the JEE aspirants and the UGC-NET candidates prepare for their tests. The National Testing Agency (NTA) has launched a mobile application to enable the JEE aspirants and the UGC-NET candidates prepare for their tests Engineering aspirants can prepare for the upcoming Joint Entrance Examination-Main (JEE-Main) by taking mock tests on their smartphones. Higher Education students gearing up for the University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) can also take mock tests ahead of their examinations to be held in December this year. The National Testing Agency (NTA) has launched a mobile application to enable the JEE aspirants and the UGC-NET candidates prepare for their tests using their mobile phones. The mobile application can be downloaded from the play store. Students, who do not have any smartphone or computer at home, can also practice for the two competitive examinations at the test practice centre, set up by the NTA in a total of 622 districts across the country. The test practice centres will remain open for the JEE aspirants on every Saturday and Sunday free of cost. To take the mock tests at these centres, candidates will have to register themselves through the NTA website. The candidates will receive the date and slot for practice at the test practice centre through SMS /registered e-mail Id, 48 hours before the scheduled slot in the centre. The same SMS will be valid for their entry at the Centre. You can practice for the entrance test at the centres in your vicinity on every Saturday and Sunday for four months. No fee will be charged for it, Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar said, announcing the setting up of a total of 3500 test practice centres across 33 states and Union Territories. Out of 3500 test practice centre, a total of 181 practice centres have been set up in 29 districts of Karnataka. These test centres are equipped with a total of 13,679 computers. The government has made these arrangements for the students to take mock test ahead of the JEE-Main and UGC-NET as the entrance tests will be computer-based from now on and held in multiple sittings at a number of examination centres across the country. The ministry has phased out the system of holding pen and paper mode test. The computer-based mock test facilities have been brought in to benefit students, particularly those coming from a rural background or underprivileged sections of the society. At present only one mock test is available. The number of the mock tests will gradually be increased, Javadekar said. The NTA is scheduled to conduct the JEE-Main twice a year from 2019. While the first JEE-Main will be held in multiple sitting from January 6 to January 20, 2019, the second JEE-Main will be held from April 6 to April 20, 2019. The results of the first JEE-main will be announced on January 31, 2019 while the results for the second test will be declared on April 30, 2019. Best of the two test scores of the students will be considered for admission to various centrally funded technical institute, a ministry official said. JEE Main UGC-NET National Testing Agency HRD Ministry.

National Testing Agency (NTA), Click here for Registration and more details——>   https://www.nta.ac.in/

NTA Student is a Mobile App by National Testing Agency for Students who are participating in entrance examinations for admission / fellowship in higher educational institutions to select the exam centre of their choice with exam schedules. – Click here to download the Mobile App

Peer-reviewed journals get UGC approval

The Hindu |  Vikas Pathak |  NEW DELHI, September 12, 2018 |

Move will help teachers enhance their research scores   /

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In a bid to make it easier for university and college teachers to earn points to enhance their research score for recruitment and promotion, the University Grants Commission has decided to treat all peer-reviewed journals at par with its own list of approved journals.  The recently-notified UGC minimum qualifications regulations make the point amply clear. The methodology for calculating academic/research score offers points for “research papers in peer reviewed or UGC listed journals”. For each such paper in science, engineering, medical, agriculture and veterinary sciences, a college or university teacher will earn eight points.

For each paper in languages, humanities, arts, social sciences, library, education, physical education, commerce, management and other related disciplines, the teacher will earn 10 points. The regulations say: “Assessment must be based on evidence produced by the teacher such as copy of publications…” The higher education regulator had earlier come out with an exhaustive list of publications with a view to count papers published in these alone for award of points for academic recruitments and promotions. The new step, sources say, has been taken to make recruitment and career growth easier for college and university teachers. The UGC had first come out with a list of journals and then with a list of ‘removed journals’ to weed out sub-standard journals. However, the list of removed journals, released in May 2018, had drawn flak as the 4,305 removed journals included prestigious ones like the Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies and Harvard Asia Pacific Review. – Courtesy

Implementation of Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 in AICTE Approved Institutions

AICTE Circular | 11 September 2018 |

Implementation of Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 in AICTE Approved Institutions

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Letter to all Directors / Principals of AICTE Approved Institutions.

It is brought to the notice of all technical institutions that Government of India has amended the Maternity benefit act, 1961 through Maternity benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 provisions of which are effective from 1st April 2017 and are to be implemented in letter and spirit.  As per the act, it is mandatory to grant maternity leave to women employees and other facilities like creche etc. to be created. You are therefor, requested to comply with all  the provisions of the Act in letter and spirit.

The details of the Maternity benefit Act are available on the government web portal, http://egazette.nic.in/   and https://labour.gov.in/

Click here to view / download the AICTE Circular, 1 page, pdf – Implementation of Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 in AICTE Approved Institutions

Click here to view / download the Gazette Notification : Maternity Benefit Amendment Act,2017 – The Ministry of Labour & Employment, 4 pages, pdf

Fuel to be produced from plastic – Technology to convert waste plastic into fuel

Mathrubhumi News | K M Baiju | 09 September 2018 |

Lisa Sreejith

Kozhikode: The scheme to produce petroleum products from plastic waste will become reality. National Institute of Technology (NIT) and Kochi Fact Engineering and Design Organization (FEDO) signed the Memorandum of Understanding. NIT chemistry department professor Lisa Sreejith and team had developed the technology to convert plastic to fuel. In the beginning, they succeeded in cooking gas similar to biogas from plastic. In further experiements, they could produce petroleum, kerosene and diesel. They have requested for patent in this invention. Lisa Lisa Sreejith The speciality of the scheme is that any kind of plastic can be used for the production and the process never results in pollution. If this project becomes success, the pollution created by plastic can be prevented to a great extent. Furthermore, petroleum products can be produced in low budget. If the pilot plant installed in the NIT campus is found effective, the scheme will be extended to other places as well. It will be executed by NIT and FEDO. The central government had allotted Rs 75 lakh for the scheme from their Swachatha Action Plan project. The construction of the plant will be completed within 6 months. The scientists have claimed that 89 per cent of the plastic can be turned into petroleum products. Ash and tar can be produced from the remaining 11 per cent. Ash can be used as fertilizer in plants. – Courtesy

NIT-C partners with FACT for the pilot plant – The Hindu, 08 September 2018

How often have you given a thought to recycling of plastic waste into fuel? Well, a technology developed by the National Institute of Technology, Calicut, (NIT-C), to convert assorted plastics to useful petroleum products is bringing the idea to fruition.  The NIT-C and the FACT Engineering Design and Organisation (FEDO), the consultancy division of Kochi-based FACT Ltd, have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the design and implementation of a pilot plant for converting waste plastic into energy.  “We have already made a prototype. Nearly 89% of conversion is possible with this technology and the residue is equivalent to ash. Petrol is extracted from the plastic oil,” Lisa Sreejith, professor of chemistry, NIT-C, told The Hindu on Saturday. She said the FEDO would execute the project on the NIT-C campus within a year. Prof. Lisa, who has developed a technology for converting plastics into energy, said the project would be implemented under the Swachhata Action of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. She said normally seven types of plastics with numbers ranging from group 1 to group 7 are found in the market. Group number one is Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) used for making bottles for soft drinks and containers for jams while group 2 is High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and group 3 is Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC).

“The technology developed at the NIT-C is for all types of plastics. Besides, it is cost-effective without the generation of any type of pollutants,” said Prof. Lisa, who had earlier carried out research on converting plastics to cooking gas. The MoU was signed by Sivaji Chakravorti, Director, NIT-C, and B.K. Geetha, general manager, FEDO, on Friday. Already Prof. Lisa has filed a patent for getting an exclusive right for the technology developed by her. Previously, the Hyderabad-based CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, under the Ministry of Science and Technology, had developed a catalyst that could be used for conversion of waste plastics to fuel oils. Likewise, the Dehradun-based CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum in collaboration with GAIL (India) Limited had developed a process by which waste polyethylene and polypropylene type plastics can be converted into petrol and diesel. – Courtesy

India-born woman student Rajalakshmi Nandakumar to get ‘Young Scholar’ award in US

PTI | Washington |  September 11, 2018 |

Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, an India-born woman scholar in the US, has been chosen for a prestigious award for her work to help detect potentially life-threatening health issues using smartphones.

Rajalakshmi Nandakumar

Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, an India-born woman scholar in the US, has been chosen for a prestigious award for her work to help detect potentially life-threatening health issues using smartphones. Nandakumar, studying at the University of Washington, has created a technology that turns an ordinary smartphone into an active sonar system capable of detecting physiological activities, such as movement and respiration, without requiring physical contact with the device. She has been selected for the 2018 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar award. She took inspiration from bats, which use sonar technique to navigate in the dark by sending out acoustic signals and using the reflections to identify objects.  Her system works by transmitting inaudible sound signals from the phone’s speaker and tracking their reflections off the human body. The reflections are then analysed using a combination of algorithms and signal processing techniques, a media release said. Nandakumar received her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Chennai.

She worked for Microsoft Research India before beginning her graduate work at the University of Washington in 2013. Her Madurai-based parents founded a company for distribution of diagnostic medicines to hospital laboratories in Tamil Nadu. Young scholars are selected by an international panel comprising engineers from leading universities and companies and receive a USD 5,000 prize plus expenses to attend the annual awards event. Three other young scholars were also selected this year. Being named ‘Young Scholar’ brings valuable mentorship and guidance by Marconi Prize winners who include some of the world’s leading scientists and researchers. “I always wanted to find a way to detect physiological signals, like breathing and heart rate, because they are the most commonly used signals for healthcare applications,” said Nandakumar. Her system is disrupting the sleep industry by creating a non-intrusive, low-cost application ApneaApp for detecting sleep apnea, a breathing disorder affecting millions of people worldwide that often goes undiagnosed, a media release said. “Rajalakshmi has a knack for selecting problems with high social impact,” says Dr Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor at the Allen School. “Our Young Scholar award attracts the world’s brightest young communications researchers,” said Dr Vinton Cerf, Chairman of the Marconi Society and ‘Father of the Internet’. – Courtesy     /     Read more——>  http://marconisociety.org/young-scholars/

Indian Researchers Develop World’s Strongest 4D Printed Parts

Above: Prototype being 4D printed in an FDM 3D printer/Image Credit: Bijaya Bikram Samal

Two Indian researchers from the Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology, Burla, Odisha, have developed two 4D printed prototypes, which the researchers claim, are the world’s first & strongest prototypes built to date. The prototypes are made from PLA material which is embedded with shape memory alloys (SMA) Ni-Ti and fabricated using FDM 3D printing technology. The Ni-Ti sheet adds strength to these 4D printed parts. A strength report of these parts shows that these 4D printed parts have a compressive strength of 150MPa which is closely equivalent to high strength concrete. The researchers Bijaya Bikram Samal and Anita Jena under the guidance of Prof. Debadutta Mishra of the Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology have created prototypes of biocompatible and biodegradable materials and they actuate when put in hot water. The first prototype is a simple “self-folding origami structure” with some design considerations, which successfully actuated to form the final part. The second one is a practically usable prototype “3 Jaw robotic gripper” which has been used to pick an object in hot water without using any bulky motors. The remarkable results obtained from this research can have a paradigm shift in the way we manufacture products.

What is 4D Printing?

4D Printing
Above: Image shows the differences in one, two, three and four-dimensional objects/Image Credit: Sculpteo

4D printing relates to an advanced version of 3D printing where the fourth dimension is Time. This fourth dimension refers to the concept of self-assembly wherein the 3D printed object can reshape or self-assemble itself on the application of an external passive energy like heat, gravity, magnetics, or simply hot water.


The research was undertaken to find the solutions to some of the underlying problems of the 3D printed parts. The components can change their shape when heat is provided to it which paves its application to environments where maintenance is very difficult like space and biomedical engineering where stents can be manufactured using this technology which can save millions of lives. It has its application in piping, earthquake-resistant building and structures, soft robotics and what not. Future products will be self-assembling, self-healing, self-replicating and reconfigurable which will provide all materials the ability to cope up with the changing and challenging environment. In this research PLA based 3D printed parts with embedded Ni-Ti SMA sheet were fabricated using 4D printing technology.


This research focuses on the basic capabilities of the emerging 4D Printing technology. Among various methods of getting 4D printed components, 3D printing with embedding smart materials has been utilized in this work. For embedding the SMA sheet into the PLA based 3D printed objects, the Ni-Ti SMA sheet has to be cut and micro-drilled. Therefore three different machining operations have been performed using Wire EDM, LASER, and ECM. Optimization of the three processes has been done based upon which confirmation test is conducted and the material is prepared. After that 3D printing process is used and the sheet is embedded within it during the printing hence giving 4D printed components.

4D Printing
Above: 4D printed parts show shape changing capabilities when immersed in hot water/Image Credit: Bijaya Bikram Samal

From the above images, we can clearly see that the 4D printed prototype, when inserted in a tank of hot water quickly, changes its shape. The first row of the image shows the origami prototype which joined together to form a strong bond. The second row of the image shows a 4D printed prototype which when immersed in hot water changes its shape to form a strong robotic gripper which can lift heavy items.

A subsequent compression test was also carried out and the results can be seen as below.

Compression test

4D Printing
Above: 4D printed sample before and after compression test/Image Credit: Bijaya Bikram Samal

The image shows the sample part before and after compression test. It compressive strength of the parts is easily visible in the image by the deformation of the metallic strip. It is a visual indication of the strength of the 4D printed parts.

4D Printing
Above: Compression test result graph/Image Credit: Bijaya Bikram Samal

In the above image of the compression test report, you can clearly see that the compressive strength of the Indian 4D printed prototype is more than 150MPa which is quite high close to any high strength concrete. This suggests that the prototype can take high loads when used as a mechanical component in any mechanical systems.

Why is this research unique?

A lot of research on 4D printing is being carried out across various universities of the world but let us explain why this research is unique:

Firstly, an increasing number of researchers are carrying out research on 4D printing around the world but none of their prototypes exhibit a high strength product which can be used as a mechanical component.

Secondly, none of them have a practical application.

Thirdly, no research has ever used shape memory alloy with PLA material for 4D Printing.

And lastly, no other research has claimed their 4D Printed prototype as fully bio-degradable and bio-compatible. Both the prototypes in this new research are bio-degradable and bio-compatible so that can be used further in making user-friendly and user-safe prosthetics and stents.

Major challenges in 4D Printing

No simulation software and API: There is an absence of a simulation software which can clearly show how the 4D printed part will behave when it comes in contact with an external stimulus like heat, gravity, magnetics, etc.  Such a unique software can help in overcoming a big hurdle. This will not only quicken the pace of research but also save a lot of costly resources. It will help in optimising the complete process. There is no separate API (Application Programming Interfaces) which will enable the designers to define the characteristics of the materials they are made from.

High initial cost: 4D printing demands heavy initial monetary resources. As compared to the western countries where there is a dearth of funding for research. In the Asia Pacific region, and especially in India, research is mostly seen as an activity for large corporations and funding is always in short supply. 4D printing, no doubt, has high initial cost compared to 3D printing but given the fact that it also provides better functionalities, high productivity, reliability & high product life, it actually offers a better trade-off than 3D printing. Moreover, products made using this technology unlike 3D Printed objects are not static and hence can have unprecedented applications in all fields of science and engineering.

Future Implications

This is just a beginning to understand the capabilities of 4D printing which will enable the design of a completely new system. This is an emerging technology having a lot of possible future applications like as follows:

Soft Robotics: Robotic grippers, like the ones created in this research, for use in industries can have a significant impact on the functionality.

Aerospace and Aviation

Space: In environments and conditions where access for manual repair is limited, conditions which are hostile like space it can be used for self-healing of materials. 4D printing with origami and kirigami will enable us to make anything in 2D shape easily carry it to space then add hot water or provide heat by electrical resistance to it and it will transform into a 3D object of your use.

Morphing Aircrafts: Since birds are the source of inspiration for airplane development, airplanes should, supposedly, look more like birds in order to become more energy efficient. However, airplanes today look quite different from birds in many aspects as through experiments and comparison between airplanes and birds, researchers have found that airplanes can achieve better efficiency if they can “behave” more like birds in flight, and morphing technology makes it possible.

It can be only possible by 4D printing technology as this provides a very good chance for us to make things that can change its shape and size according to a specific stimulus.


Stents: This technology can be used in healthcare for advanced nanoscale stents and drug delivery system. The 4D printed stent can be maneuvered to a spot and then made to change form by application for a stimulus. For example, 4D printed stent that is introduced into an artery and when ultrasound energy is applied it balloons up to its needed configuration

Better Prosthetics: Electroactive components for artificial limbs. An applied voltage changes the configuration of the 4D printed part so that it expands, contracts or bends. The motion is smoother and more lifelike than movement generated by mechanical devices.

Consumer Goods

Transformative Shoes or Garments:

Imagine a single shoe which can be used for multiple activities. If you start running, it adapts to being running shoes, if you play basketball, it adapts to support your ankles, if you walk on grass, it grows cleats, and if it is raining, it becomes waterproof.

Adaptable Tyre Compound: These tyres will be all water tyre which can change according to different road conditions.

Piping: Current pipe system is very rigid. To cater for higher flow capacity, we have to replace the whole pipeline. An adaptive 4D manufacturing capability to produce capacity adaptable pipes pipping with a variable diameter as per demand can significantly increase the flow efficiency.

This technology provides a lot of flexibility and customization to a product in a very short manufacturing lead time with the dynamic characteristics of changing its structure, functionality and adaptable to the environment that can be utilized to achieve maximum efficiency in any field of its usage.

The research paper will soon be published in reputed international journals.

About Researchers:

Prof. Debadutta Mishra:

He is a professor at the Department of Production Engineering, Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology, Burla. He is also the Dean (Students Welfare) at the institution. He has about 27 years of experience in academia and research. He has completed many research projects funded by UGC, DST and other reputed organizations. He has many publications in reputed journals and conferences. He is also the head of Idea and Innovation club of the institution, which has made significant developments under his able guidance in different fields of engineering.

He did his Ph.D. from Sambalpur University, Odisha, M.Tech from National Institute of Technology, Rourkela and B.Tech from College of Engineering and Technology, Odisha.

Bijaya Bikram Samal:

He is presently a Ph.D. scholar working on 4D printing and micro manufacturing at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. He is an M.Tech Gold medalist from the first engineering college of Odisha i.e Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology (Formerly University College of Engineering) Burla during which he worked on novel 4D Printing technology to make two important prototypes. He did his B.Tech from the Biju Patnaik University of Technology, Odisha during which he worked on making a low-cost FDM 3D printer.

Anita Jena:

She is presently a Ph.D. scholar working on micro machines at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. She did her M.Tech from the Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology, Burla, Odisha during which she actively worked on many smart materials especially shape memory alloys and had developed an engine, which uses SMA to produce power from waste hot water. She completed her B.Tech from the Biju Patnaik University of Technology, Odisha during which she worked on making a low-cost FDM 3D Printer. – Courtesy

Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship (PMRF) open to all science and technology graduates

Deccan Herald | 09 September 2018 | Prakash Kumar |

A science and technology graduate from any higher education institute in the country, who has secured a minimum 8.0 CGPA (cumulative grade point average) in his BTech, will be eligible to apply for the Prime Minister Research Fellowship (PMRF) from 2019. Students, who are in the final year of their four-year B Tech programme, as well as those pursuing M Tech from any university or engineering college after clearing the GATE (graduate aptitude test in engineering), can also join the race. The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry will open the process for registration of students in February 2019 for selection of the fellows under the scheme. Students to be awarded with the PMRF will be enrolled to PhD programmes at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER). They will have to conduct research in various cutting edge science and technology domains at these premier technical institutes with focus on national priorities.

The PMRF selections (to be announced in May 2019) will be open for all the eligible students from the recognized universities and the institutes of science and technology in lndia from next year,an official said. The central government, which rolled out PMRF earlier this year only for the students of the premier centrally-funded technical institutions like IITs, IISERs and IISc, recently decided to open the scheme for meritorious science and technology students of all higher education institutions in view of “the growing demand” from the students community. The PMRF turned out to be a popular scheme among the students, within a few months after its launch in February, as it provides for the award of highest amount of research grants offered under any of the regular fellowship schemes and enrollment to PhD at country’s premier technical institutes. Under the scheme, a student is entitled for a fellowship of Rs 70,000 per month for the first two years, Rs 75,000 per month for the third year, and Rs.80,000 per month in the fourth and fifth years of their PhD programme. In addition to this, students are also entitled for a research grant of Rs 2 lakh for a period of five years to cover their foreign travel expenses for presenting research papers in international conferences and seminars. The selection process for the PMRF will be a rigorous process consisting of screening by the reviewers, and final selection by the selection committee for each research vertical to ensure competition, standardization, transparency and selection of the best talent. The process may also include written test and/or discussions, if necessary,” a ministry official said. The central government has earmarked a total cost of Rs 1,650 crore for implementation of the scheme for a period of seven years beginning 2018-19. A maximum of 3000 fellows would be selected in the first three-year period.

Application window for PMRF December 2018 will be open till 11 pm on 30 September 2018.


Google Dataset Search engine launched for researchers and data journalists

Google Introduces ‘Dataset Search’, A Search Engine For Researchers And Data Journalists

The internet has a wealth of information. With search engines, people can find almost anything, but far from everything. One of which, is data for research, or simply datsets. Datasets are different from regular web content that users of the web and Google can read. “In many cases, information about these datasets is neither linked nor has it been indexed by search engines, making data discovery tedious or, in some cases, impossible,” said Google. Because datasets exist across thousands of repositories, researchers and scientists looking for datasets to use in their research, can’t just use search engines with normal queries to find those information. What’s more, there are also organizations that curate and publish their data on a regular basis, but only through dedicated data portals. Those who want to get access to that data, should be familiar with the process of locating the data via those portals, for example. And because the internet has lots information, researchers have to also locate the right sources, and get the right data from those sources.

This is not an easy task. Wouldn’t it be much easier if they could just use one search engine and just find everything out there, just like when normal people search for something on the web? Well, Google is making that process possible. The search engine attempts to understand the web by using structured data and semantics have become fruitful. The key element here is, schema.org. Using Schema.org’s controlled vocabulary that describes entities in the real world and their properties, Google can better understand the context of contents. So for example, when something described in schema.org is used to annotate content on the web, it lets search engines know what that content is, as well as its properties. According to Google’s blog post, the search engine giant started the project by creating guidelines for dataset providers to ensure Google could understand the content of a dataset. For example, Google suggested that providers should include particular information in the dataset’s metadata, such as how the provider collected the data and who can use it. The first step was to make it easier to discover tabular data in search, which uses this same metadata along with the linked tabular data to provide answers to queries directly in search results. This has been available for a while. What happened in Google is that, it turned on the support for dataset entities in schema.org, officially. Data that follows Google’s guidelines enables the search engine to index those datasets so that the search engine can show relevant ones in users’ search queries. – Courtesy

Google Dataset Search engine launched for researchers and data journalists – First post

Google on 6 September launched a new search engine for the scientific community that will help them make sense of millions of datasets present online. The service, called Dataset Search, will help scientists, data journalists and geeks find the data required for their work and their stories — or simply to satisfy their intellectual curiosity. The new search engine will work like Google Scholar, the company’s popular search engine for academic studies and reports. “Dataset Search lets you find datasets wherever they’re hosted, whether it’s a publisher’s site, a digital library, or an author’s personal web page,” Natasha Noy, Research Scientist, Google AI, said in a blog post. To create Dataset search, Google developed guidelines for dataset providers to describe their data in a way that the company (and other search engines) can better understand the content of their pages.

“These guidelines include salient information about datasets: who created the dataset, when it was published, how the data was collected, what the terms are for using the data, etc,” Noy said. Google then collects and links this information, analyses where different versions of the same dataset might be, and finds publications that may be describing or discussing the dataset. “We encourage dataset providers, large and small, to adopt this common standard so that all datasets are part of this robust ecosystem,” said Google. People can find references to most datasets in environmental and social sciences, as well as data from other disciplines including government data and data provided by news organisations, such as ProPublica. Dataset Search works in multiple languages with support for additional languages coming soon, said Google. – Courtesy      / Google Blog Article   /   Take a Look at ——>  https://toolbox.google.com/datasetsearch

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