Chinese agencies announce open-access policies : Nature News & Comment
"China has officially joined the international push to make research papers free to read. On 15 May, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), one of the country’s major basic-science funding agencies, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), which funds and conducts research at more than 100 institutions, announced that researchers they support should deposit their papers into online repositories and make them publicly accessible within 12 months of publication. The policies, which went into effect the same day they were announced, are similar to the mandate set by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Xiaolin Zhang, director of the National Science Library at the CAS in Beijing, says that another major research-funding agency, the national ministry of science and technology, is also researching open-access policies. He expects that its policy will take a similar line. (The ministry had not provided comment by the time this article was published.) The announcements could see tens or even hundreds of thousands more papers made open access. Zhang says that, according to data from the Science Citation Index (SCI) database maintained by Thomson Reuters, Chinese research output has swelled from 48,000 articles in 2003, or 5.6% of the global total, to more than 186,000 articles in 2012, or 13.9%1. Of those, more than 100,000, or 55.2%, involved some funding from the NSFC, says its president, Wei Yang. (The agency has a US$3.1-billion budget this year.) And CAS scientists published more than 18,000 SCI articles in 2012, and more than 12,000 articles in domestic Chinese journals, says Zhang. Both agencies plan to release more detailed guidelines on implementation. In particular, the NSFC will establish a repository into which researchers must upload papers, possibly modelled after the NIH’s PubMed Central. CAS started developing a network of repositories for its institutes five years ago, says Zhang, and has a central website (IR GRID) for searching them. By the end of 2013, more than 400,000 articles had been deposited, accumulating 14 million downloads (half of those in 2013)1. The announcements last week came ahead of a meeting, opening 26 May in Beijing, of the Global Research Council, a discussion forum for heads of funding agencies around the world. On the agenda is the review of an open-access action plan agreed at the 2013 meeting ..."