Open Access Gains Increasing Support in Asia via International Partnerships in a Reflection of Long-Term Trends

As the Chinese Academy of Sciences launches, jointly with the Science Magazine, an internationally oriented Open Access journal, it indicates a wider progress for Open Science in Asia as well.

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On November 2, 2020, one of the Chinese Academy of Sciences institutes has announced a partnership with the reputed Science Magazine, to launch the Open Access, English-language Journal of Remote Sensing planned to publish its first issue early next year. With an editorial board of experts drawn from China, North America and Europe, this journal aims to position itself at the cutting edge of scientific research, also since it focuses on a burgeoning scholarly domain.

This development reflects a larger trend of Open Access adoption for scholarly collaboration in Asia, as part of which, alongside the sector-leading United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and Germany, China, Japan and India have become significant players in the production of openly accessible collaborative scholarly publications by 2016. More broadly as well, it can be maintained that the presence of country-level Open Access policies is positively associated with scholarly collaboration rates with their peers from around the world. In a similar fashion, in the UK, its global positioning in terms of Open Access output has improved from the third place to the second one between 2000 and 2016, likely due to its strong country-level commitment to Open Access, such as via Jisc, strategic policies and funder and institutional mandates.

This has also been accompanied by its growing share of the global scholarly output in Open Access that rose from 6.6% in 2000 to 7% in 2016, which was outstripped by the UK’s spectacular country-level transition from 22.5% Open Access output to 52.5% in 2016. Over the same period, the US, as a global leader in Open Access publishing, has also increased the domestic share of Open Access output from 21.3% to 40.7%, while experiencing a stagnation in its contribution to the output in Open Access published globally from 19.8% in 2000 to 17.7%, despite a high point of 24.8% it attained for this indicator in 2008.

In this respect, whereas Brazil’s country-level share of Open Access publications has continued to increase from 47.5%  in 2000 to 51.2% in 2016, after a high of 58.2% in 2012, its contribution to the global Open Access output has grown only slightly from 2.3% in 2000 to 2.8% in 2016. In contrast, Japan has experienced a steep decrease in its share of the global Open Access output from 7.8% in 2000 to 3.5% in 2016 on the background of only moderate country-level share growth in Open Access output from 25.4% to 35.9% between these years.

While a similar dynamics was observed in Germany and France, China has followed a starkly different trajectory, as only in 2004 it attained global visibility in the Open Access sector with its international share of 2.3%, which corresponded to 13.5% of publications in Open Access domestically. Moreover, it has rapidly increased its global share of Open Access output to 6.8% in 2016, behind the US and UK only, which was matched by the country-level share of Open Access publications of 26.1% for this year. Likewise, though India’s share of the global Open Access output has remained stationary in 2012 and 2016 at the level of 2.4%, it has joined other Asian countries, e.g., China and Japan, among the ten largest global players in the Open Access sector.

Whereas the overall share of Open Access publications in the global scholarly output steadily grew from 19.2% in 2000 to 34.7% in 2016,  in this period the global rankings of top 12 producers of scientific publications in Open Access have transformed significantly with the entry of China and India, the relative decline of the US to the global Open Access output, the strong presence of European Union countries, the continued visibility of Australia internationally and the exit of Switzerland in 2004 and the Netherlands in 2016.

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Northwest Corner of Bright Lake, Shanghai, China, May 6, 2009 | © Courtesy of Jonathan/Flickr.

Pablo Markin

Community Manager, Open Research Community

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Pablo Markin 25 days ago

Since China has become, according to the up-to-date information, the world's largest producers of scientific papers in recent years (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-00927-4), which retroactively refers to its scholarly output performance for 2016, one can also assume that in the domain of Open Access it has continued to improve its global positioning.