"Samviti.com -India’s first network for scholars, and as an integrated portal possibly the first of its kind in the world, is scheduled for launch of second phase in 2016. Samviti.com is a platform for researchers to know who are working in related fields and to collaborate with them, provides a virtual workspace to researchers wherever they may be based, and systems for managing projects and conferences.
Six months from its launch, Samviti has 1,074 registered users, and profiles are being created every day, with an average user spending over 10 minutes at each session, and making three repeat visits a month. The scope of the portal will keep expanding as its membership keeps growing, and it is set to define new possibilities for research, for opening conversations across disciplines, regions and domains, and potentially for deepening the impact of academics on policy, practice and the public.
The first version of Samviti was launched on April 14, 2016, as a conference management system, which within 24 working hours activates a conference website enabling one person to handle the entire logistics, from correspondence, fee submission, facilitating visas and producing a book of abstracts, to arranging accommodation, local transport and keeping delegates updated about changes in the programme. Five conferences, three of them international, have been convened since October 2015.
This is the starting point for a larger vision of bringing together researchers and creating an enabling environment for them. A department, laboratory or other centre for research can use the portal to manage the members’ work calendars, announce events and report news. Samviti.com has tools to facilitate the management of projects by tracking the amount invested in persons or equipment and filing bills and documents. Societies with a digital profile on Samviti can send members notices of conferences, publications as well as minutes of meetings, so as to include them in day-to-day activities and decisions. The payment gateway streamlines the collection of the society’s subscription fees, and the issue of reminder letters and receipts are also automated.
Scholars who register on Samviti.com for a conference get to create their profile, listing publications memberships and affiliations, which are then reflected in a live CV which will automatically assimilates additions or changes. If their co-authors or referees are registered on Samviti, their live profiles are linked. Registered scholars have one-point access to announcements from all institutions registered on Samviti whose events they want to follow. They also have the facility of a dashboard, recording the status of any work in progress, allowing them to stay updated on the work of students or reports from co-workers while they are travelling or on sabbatical. They can use their personal web-page to share images or video.
Samviti will allow senior academics to connect with those who can contribute to individual or group projects, be invited as guest lecturers for co-curricular courses, or to speak at colloquia and conferences. It is working towards developing features to aggregate information on available fellowships or vacancies, and to allow teachers to share reading lists, and exchange books or articles from personal collections.