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Challenges and Opportunities for Open Assess Journals in Asia

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Singapore Management University, Singapore, September 22, 2012 | © Erwin Soo.

Asian universities increasingly implement open access mandates and repositories, in an effort to increase the accessibility of research results.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.

Over three-quarters of Taiwanese research institutions and universities have chosen to cease subscribing to Elsevier’s journal access packages, in their efforts to adopt open access as the format that sustainably enables local and international scholars to access publicly-funded scientific output. This is likely to be of more importance for the Asian scientific community than for its Western counterpart, as in the long term open access can level the global playing field in terms of research result accessibility by removing financial barriers to academic journal access. While this is contrary to the business models of large journal publishers, such as Elsevier, that prefer maintaining high profit rates over a broader adoption of open or hybrid access options. On the one hand, maintaining the quality of scientific journals, such as via rigorous peer review and editorial processing, has traditionally entailed the deployment of paywall-based journal access models. On the other hand, in Asia, such as in Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, voices that advocate open access publishing are increasingly heard.

This is especially important from the perspective of journal accessibility, since in many South and East Asian countries, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar, where the implementation of open access models can significantly contribute to the accessibility of latest research to local scholars. As the Asia Open Access Summit that took place in November 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, indicates, regional bodies, e.g., the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, leading scientific publishers, e.g., BioMed Central, and open access-related organizations, e.g., Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, are keen to make available and exploit open access resources. While the adoption of open access has a financial rationale, as it eliminates journal access fees, it also demands a reorientation away from a narrow focus on impact factor metrics to a wider range of estimates gauging the prominence that published articles have in scientific communities. Especially for Asian countries, both publishing in and mandating open access can foster scientific collaboration and findings’ communication.

As large journal publishers, such as Wiley, are increasingly heeding the calls for a greater presence of open access journals among their offerings. Not infrequently backed by scientific societies, open access journals can combine high peer-review standards with collaborative initiatives, while offering Asian scholars additional venues of research dissemination. Likewise, the Chinese scientific community increasingly accepts open access journals and open data repositories, even though open access-oriented policies remain to be formulated in this country.
Thus, while open access journals can significantly reduce barriers to scholarly publication accessibility in Asia, comprehensive policy-making frameworks are yet to develop in this region.

By Pablo Markin

Featured Image Credits: Singapore Management University, Singapore, September 22, 2012 | © Erwin Soo.

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