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Open Access Gains in Recognition as an Innovation and Visibility Factor in China

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The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Science Park, Tai Po Industrial Estates, Tolo Harbour, Hong Kong, March 5, 2013 | © Courtesy of See-ming Lee.

As China seeks to further its innovation orientation, open access in the fields of science and technology has been gaining its attention as a development factor.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


Steadily growing research and development budgets in both public and private sectors that in 2013 have eclipsed those of France and the United Kingdom in relative terms, e.g., in relation to China’s Gross Domestic Product, have made this country second only to the United States in terms of both the number of academic papers published and their citation ratings as of 2014, with a similar trend observed as concerns patents granted. In China, according to a recent report, open access is perceived as relevant for its science, research and development policies, as reflected in the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ signing of Berlin Declaration in 2014, the launch of a Chinese Open Access information portal in 2008, and the implementation of Open Access support policies by its science and research funding bodies in 2014.

These policies indicate a perception of knowledge as a public good, especially when publicly funded research is concerned. Thus, a growing share of research results based on studies funded by the Natural Science Foundation of China are published in Open Access, which has contributed to the visibility of Chinese science in Asia. Likewise, Chinese academic foundations and institutions support Open Access repositories for basic research results, technology report portals and policy coordination. This also contributes to the international integration of the Chinese scientific community, such as through the ORCID registries. Additionally, all major Chinese research funding agencies encourage publication in Open Access journals by covering article processing charges as recognized expenses of grant recipients. This is backed by research output sharing platforms in applied research fields, such as basic, health and material science. This also contributes to information transparency in other domains as well, such as Open Access data portal of the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

At the same time, Open Access policies are yet to be widely adopted by Chinese universities and governmental bodies. Furthermore, Chinese academic libraries only start experimenting with Open Access funding models, even though a transition to Open Access in the publishing sector is likely to be feasible, reduce budgetary outlays, increase research paper output and cut per-article publication costs. Given a steady pace of the internationalization of Chinese science and research activities, such as in regard to research collaborations, the strengthening of Gold and Green Open Access policies and the transfer of scientific journals to Open Access models gains in momentum.

This indicates that, despite remaining challenges, Open Access gains increasing acceptance in China.

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Science Park, Tai Po Industrial Estates, Tolo Harbour, Hong Kong, March 5, 2013 | © Courtesy of See-ming Lee.

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