China and open access: Sciencepaper Online

Abstract

During the lockdown of the entire country, China is bravely fighting against COVID-19. Many database vendors, publishers, and Internet companies announced to offer free access to academic resources to help students and researchers get the resources they need from home. Most of the publishers offered free access to everyone for a limited time and to decide whether to extend the period or not depend on the COVID-19 situation while some publishers announced open access from the announcement date indefinitely. At the same time, they are using technology to provide a convenient communication platform for researchers and provide an effective channel for up-to-date publication of results and new ideas of COVID-19 for the public.

Here we use the open-access platform ‘Sciencepaper Online’ [http://www.paper.edu.cn/] as a case study. The review and release period of papers online related to COVID-19 has been significantly reduced to 3 working days and all documents have been open for free in full text indefinitely from the start of February. Meanwhile, it works with other publishers and opens a separate area for Novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP), providing preprinted copies of relevant research results for free submission, publishing, browsing, downloading.

Detail

The outbreak of pandemic caused by COVID-19 has already affected people’s daily life worldwide. On January 27th, 2020, the Chinese Ministry of Education decided to delay the start of the spring semester in 2020. Due to the lockdown, all the universities and schools in China have closed. However, all the classes and teaching still need to continue at home. Classes from primary schools to Universities are all changed to online teaching. Limited resources and communication channels put great pressure on students, teachers, and researchers. According to the guidance and organization of the Ministry of education, lots of databases, publishers, and internet firms were offering free access to their website or launching a mobile application to giving academic resources for a limited time. However, open access has been going on in China for a long time. As a leading provider of open access in China, Sciencepaper Online is playing an important academic intermediary in this incident.

Brief introduction

According to the Sciencepaper online website, Sciencepaper Online is an academic institutional repository established in 2003 initiated by the Ministry of Education and hosted by the Science and Technology Development Center of the Ministry of Education. This platform is dedicated to providing scientific researchers with rapid paper publication and free access services. It is the first online academic open-access (OA) journals platform in China and the leading international peer-reviewed platform for online preprinted papers. (English translation by the author)

Since its publication in August 2006, Sciencepaper Online opened its Weibo account to give more up-to-date information about the platform for more people in 2011. Weibo is a popular social media platform in China similar to Twitter. According to the ASKCI Consulting company report, Weibo has more than 330 million users by the end of 2018. In 2016, Sciencepaper Online launched a mobile application to help scholars have more flexible access to open access resources the platform offers. On March 27th,  2019, Sciencepaper Online formally signed ‘Expression of Interest in the Large-scale Implementation of Open Access to Scholarly Journals’ The signing of OA 2020 initiative is not only an affirmation of the open-access concept but also a mark that China Sciencepaper Online will contribute to the open-access of global academic scholarly journals.

According to the Sciencepaper online webpage—introduction, the four main purposes of Sciencepaper Online are elaborating Academic Views, Exchanging Innovative Ideas, Protecting Intellectual Properties, and Fast Sharing Science Papers. After several years of development, it became a one-stop scientific research service platform with papers, journals, scholars, and communities as the four core sections, and rapid positioning of resources through disciplines, institutions, full-text search, and other methods. The submitted papers are reviewed and released on the site after 7 business days (start from the date of the last submission) if the paper is within the scope of Sciencepaper Online’s subject categories, in-line with the national laws/regulations and meeting our formatting requirements. No Service Fee Is Charged for releasing on this site. Today the website hosts 39 specialized fields according to the Classification and code of disciplines. According to standards press of China, Classification and code of disciplines specify the principles, basis, and coding methods of subject classification. The classification objects of this standard are disciplines, which are different from professions and industries. It also specifies that this standard cannot replace various viewpoints in literature, information, book classification, and academics. (English translation by the author) [http://openstd.samr.gov.cn/bzgk/gb/newGbInfo?hcno=4C13F521FD6ECB6E5EC026FCD779986E]

Contribution

In the view of the difficulty in publishing papers in general, the communication among scholars of different languages is narrow, Sciencepaper Online creates a fast, convenient communication platform to promote the latest study results and communication between scholars without delay. After the outbreak of COVID-19 in China, the Sciencepaper Online platform promises to significantly shorten the review and publication time from 7 business days to 3 days for papers related to the COVID-19 epidemic for basic medicine, clinical medicine, biology, pharmacy, Chinese medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine, preventive medicine, hygiene, and other disciplines.  Sciencepaper Online releases relevant research and shares the research results as quickly as possible. Together with other publishers, a special website releases to the public providing relevant study results about COVID-19 [http://cajn.cnki.net/gzbd/brief/Default.aspx]. The site offers three versions which are simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, and English. Considered some people may have no access to computers during the self-quarantine time, it launched the mobile application simultaneously. Meanwhile, as the first preprinted scientific paper and open access website in China, the platform has over 100,000 preprinted papers and a total of 1.2 million-plus scientific papers in the library. All documents are open for free in full text indefinitely from the start of February 2020.

http://[http://www.paper.edu.cn/community/wesciDetail/NQj2Y9wNMbDVgV0u

Challenges

It is a good strategy to open full-text access during the urgent worldwide pandemic time. However, open access (OA) as a long-time movement needs more detailed consideration. Although the site has both the Chinese and the English versions, the English version contains around 5,900 English papers (5,992 papers) which are quite small compared to the 1.2 million-plus scientific papers in the Chinese version. Another challenge is that much of China’s scientific output is still locked behind paywalls.

” The Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) funds about 70% of Chinese research articles published in international journals, but China has to buy these back with full and high prices,”

Schiermeier, Q. (2018). China backs bold plan to tear down journal paywalls. Nature, 564(7735), 171+. Retrieved from https://link-gale-com.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/apps/doc/A573293271/AONE?u=otta77973&sid=AONE&xid=e7ceabd1

Zhang said at the Open Access 2020 conference (Harnack House, Berlin, 3–4 December 2018). It would take a lot of effort to deal with the copyright issues both nationally and internationally.

Conclusion

During the COVID-19 epidemic, more and more scientific research workers joined the epidemic prevention and control actions, with a rigorous academic attitude to study prevention and control strategies and measures, hoping to use the “Sciencepapers Online” platform for fast and free publication. Making the latest research results publicly available and sharing them with relevant people who are concerned about the epidemic nationwide and even worldwide. Through the efforts of each of us and each department, we will accelerate the study of effective methods to contain the epidemic, improve the knowledge level of virus awareness, reduce panic among the people and contribute meager to epidemic prevention and control.

References

Sciencepaper online: http://www.paper.edu.cn/ (Chinese version) http://en.paper.edu.cn/ (English version)

Description of Science paper online: http://en.paper.edu.cn/en_about_us

OA2020. “Expression of interest in the large-scale implementation of open access to scholarly journals.”  https://oa2020.org/mission/. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.  

Ministry of education guidance of organization and management of online teaching during the pandemic: http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/zhengceku/2020-02/05/content_5474733.htm

Announcement of free access during COVID-19 pandemic: http://www.paper.edu.cn/community/wesciDetail/NQj2Y9wNMbDVgV0u

Schiermeier, Q. (2018). China backs bold plan to tear down journal paywalls. Nature, 564(7735), 171+. Retrieved from https://link-gale-com.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/apps/doc/A573293271/AONE?u=otta77973&sid=AONE&xid=e7ceabd1   

Cite as: Shi, A. (2020). [China and open access: Sciencepaper Online]. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons. [https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2020/04/23/china-and-open-access-sciencepaper-online/].

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