CNKI free services during COVID-19 and OA long-term practice

Abstract

Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), initiated in 1999 by Tsinghua University and Tsinghua Tongfang Co., Ltd., is both the largest institutional repository in China and a near-monopoly provider of for-pay academic databases with a higher profit margin than Elsevier or Wiley, among other services. With promotion and support from the government, CNKI keeps developing its track towards open access [1]. CNKI offers free access to millions of documents ranging from dissertations and academic articles to popular and party journals. The COAA, Chinese Open Access Aggregator, launched in 2019, makes available more than 10,000 open access journals, although foreign scholars may find it difficult to benefit from this due to the language. CNKI has played an important role in making works on COVID-19 freely available, as well as in expanding access to subscribers at home during lock-down.

Details

CNKI stands for Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure, it was initiated by Tsinghua University and Tsinghua Tongfang Co., Ltd. and was founded in June 1999. According to Tongfang ’s annual report, the company officially opened the world ’s largest Chinese knowledge portal ‘CNKI (cnki.net) database’ in 2004, informally known as ‘Zhiwang’. CNKI is currently China’s largest integrator of academic electronic resources, including more than 95% of officially published Chinese academic resources.

At the end of 2017, CNKI had more than 20,000 institutional users, more than 20 million individual registered users, full-text downloads amounted to 2 billion pages per year and more than 150,000 online users. The market share of CNKI in Chinese undergraduate colleges is 100%. [2]

As most students know, the best way to access databases outside school is VPN. However, in some inconvenient situations like during the COVID-19 lockdown time in China, you cannot use VPN in some places. Some major Chinese database vendors provided recent limited-time free services. According to the Central China Normal University Library announcement, during the COVID-19 epidemic period (the service period is tentatively from February 1 to March 3, 2020), CNKI provides 4 free services including CNKI database literature acquisition, research learning, and collaborative scientific research services (CNKI OKMS platform). (English translation by the author) At the same time, the school’s students are offered a new online entrance to access CNKI database.[3]

For Chinese readers, CNKI developed a special database online platform to release and promote the latest COVID-19 related study results. You can notice the platform name in red font on the homepage. The platform includes 2,256 journals in total, including 23 non-Chinese journals.[4]

Source: print screen from https://cnki.net/

At the same time, CNKI announced that there is free access given by the CNKI OKMS platform, helping uninterrupted research team communication during the special times. The “OKMS Huizhi” is an Office Software for Collaborative Research.

Ms. Dai also stresses that the “OKMS Huizhi” platform was launched in May 2019, and it is now free because of the COVID-19 epidemic situation so that everyone can research from home. Before June 1, the “OKMS Huizhi” platform will be open for free. (English translation by the author) [5]

Besides the limited free access due to the COVID-19 pandemic period, CNKI started to open a variety of continuous services, for example, full-text open access to some Chinese published literature.

The target of this service is the whole country of China, which started in November 2015. The types of documents served include academic journals, conference papers, doctoral dissertations, master’s theses, and newspapers.

The free service scope of 2020 is all documents published by CNKI in 2011 and before, including 40.89 million articles published in 11,402 journals from 1911 to 2011, accounting for about 59.8% of all documents. These include academic journals; culture, art, and other popular journals; party construction, political newspapers, and other party and government journals; higher education, vocational education, and other educational journals; economic information journals. From 2000-2011 CNKI published 188,000 doctoral dissertations, 1.51 million ancillary papers, 4.17 million conference papers, accounting for 45.6%, 38.1%, and 67.4% respectively, as well as, 18.15 million articles from more than 400 newspapers from 2001 to 2019, totaling 64,908 million articles. (English translation by the author) [6]

For Chinese authors, there is a free service that started in September 2019, aiming at the authors who have Chinese publications collected in CNKI database. On this online free author service platform, authors can download own published documents for free, manage academic achievements, obtain academic evaluation reports, track academic frontier developments, and achieve online journal submission.[7] For English readers, CNKI keeps updating its oversea website. At the time this blog post is written, the open-access (OA) online-first publishing of COVID-19 platform is officially online to serve [http://new.oversea.cnki.net/index/] which includes 2,288 China journals and 25 foreign journals.

Source: print screen from http://new.oversea.cnki.net/index/
Source: print screen from http://en.gzbd.cnki.net/GZBT/brief/Default.aspx

What is more, CNKI Open Access Aggregator (COAA) is introduced to foreign scholars. CNKI Open Access Aggregator, COAA in short, was launched in 2019 and currently has more than 10,000 open access journals covering all fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and humanities.

According to the COAA platform introduction on their webpage, it will continue to expand the coverage of open resources from now on, increase open access books, papers, conference papers, etc., to provide users with a large number of open access resources. The journal covers 100 countries and regions on five continents, covering 100 disciplines and covering 70 languages. (English translation by the author) [8] Unfortunately, the homepage and all the instructions are in Chinese. The language barrier could be a difficulty for non-Chinese scholars.

Besides all the effort CNKI has made to develop open-access (OA), there are many challenges it is facing. One survey of Chinese readers conducted by Wen revealed the fact that 94.5 percent of the respondents were ignorant of the existence of OA journals.[9] As we mentioned before, the market share of CNKI in Chinese undergraduate colleges is 100% which keeps CNKI the Chinese world of academic publishing in a monopolistic stranglehold. According to Wang Yiwei’s article on July 24, 2019, CNKI has posted an average annual profit margin of nearly 60%in the past decade which almost doubled the figure of Wiley [10].

https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1004345/publish-or-perish-how-chinas-elsevier-made-its-fortune

At the end of 2018, the Taiyuan University of Technology, a university located in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, China, put a notice regarding the suspension of access to “CNKI” in 2019 on their school website[11] and the next day the school library published that the budget for the usage contract with CNKI was 588,000 yuan (about $85,500). [12]

The cancellation due to high fees happens around the world. For example, SUNY (State University of New York System) subscribed to approximately 250 titles in Elsevier instead of the whole database in 2020 and this approach will save SUNY institutions $7 million annually. [13]

CNKI, which has been developed with the strong support of the government, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and other departments, could assume more social responsibilities through open-access (OA) instead of taking advantage of its leading enterprises to gain more economic benefits. As the quick development of online services is being promoted by the national government during the COVID-19 pandemic period, it is believed that open-access (OA) is to become the future of academic library exchanges in China.

References:

[1] Zhong, Jing, and Shuyong Jiang. 2016. “Institutional Repositories in Chinese Open Access Development: Status, Progress, and Challenges.” The Journal of Academic Librarianship 42 (6): 739–44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2016.06.015.

[2] 谭捷,张李义 & 饶丽君. (2010).中文学术期刊数据库的比较研究. 图书情报知识(04),4-13. doi:10.13366/j.dik.2010.04.015. https://kns8.cnki.net/KCMS/detail/detail.aspx?dbcode=CJFD&dbname=CJFD2010&filename=TSQC201004005&v=MDAwNDFyQ1VSN3FmWStSbUZpL2tVcjNOTVQ3YWJiRzRIOUhNcTQ5RllZUjhlWDFMdXhZUzdEaDFUM3FUcldNMUY=

[3] Central China Normal University Library Announcement (2020). 疫情期间限时免费数据库使用攻略. http://lib.ccnu.edu.cn/info/1071/4595.htm

[4] CNKI 2.0 homepage. https://kns8.cnki.net/nindex/

[5] 本王整理(2020-02-04). 刚刚!中国知网道歉了,并对免费服务项目做出说明. http://www.ecorr.org/news/industry/2020-02-04/176080.html

[6]《中国学术期刊(光盘版)》电子杂志社有限公司(2020-02-01). 关于中国知网免费服务项目的说明. https://piccache.cnki.net/index/images2009/other/2020/freeservice.html

[7] open-access author service platform. https://expert.cnki.net/Register/AuthorPlat

[8] COAA platform introduction (2019). http://coaa.discovery.cnki.net/public/about

[9] Wen (2008) citation: as cited in Hu (2012).Hu, Dehau. 2012. “The Availability of Open Access Journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences in China.” Journal of Information Science 38 (1): 64–75. https://doi.org/10.1177/0165551511428919.

[10] Wang Yiwei(2020-06-24). Publish or Perish: How China’s Elsevier Made its Fortune. https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1004345/publish-or-perish-how-chinas-elsevier-made-its-fortune

[11] Zhang shumei (2018-12-28). Notice on suspending access to “CNKI series database” in 2019 http://www2017.tyut.edu.cn/info/1026/11127.htm

[12] Tendering and Procurement Center (2018-12-29). 2019 Electronic Periodical Database Renewal Service Project Transaction Announcement http://cgzb.tyut.edu.cn/info/1076/3542.htm

[13] Big Deal Cancellation Tracking. https://sparcopen.org/our-work/big-deal-cancellation-tracking/

 

Cite as: Shi, A. (2020). [ CNKI free services during COVID-19 and OA long-term practice ]. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons. [https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2020/05/05/cnki-free-services-during-covid-19-and-oa-long-term-practice/].

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/].