Wiley’s First Open Access Agreement in Hong Kong Promotes Research Accessibility

Wiley, one of the world’s largest publishers and a global leader in research and education, today announced a new open access agreement with Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee (JULAC) in Hong Kong, starting January 1, 2023.  

New report provides insights into global OA landscape — and with a focus on China

A new report released today provides insights into the complex and evolving global Open Access landscape — and with a particular focus on China. The report is a product of a collaboration between STM Association and the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) focused on the bilateral sharing of ideas and best practices in OA publishing.

 

Can publishers resist self-censorship in China? | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Five years on from Cambridge University Press’ controversial compliance with a Chinese government request to make more than 300 articles unavailable to Chinese readers, publishers are increasingly self-censoring content on ‘sensitive’ topics….

The issue came to light five years ago, when it emerged in the UK’s national press that Cambridge University Press (CUP) had removed “sensitive” content from its prestigious China studies journal, China Quarterly. Since then, other publishers have faced similar accusations of bowing to pressure from Beijing. Springer Nature has restricted access to more than 1,000 articles, while Taylor & Francis, Sage Publishing and Brill have navigated strict content restrictions.

Although some publishers have found routes to navigate these restrictions without self-censoring their online platforms, others appear to be more deeply enmeshed in China’s censorship apparatus – and in recent years, the access constraints facing so-called controversial papers have gone much further than many believe, straying beyond familiar red-flag topics on an unprecedented scale.

By comparing UK-based and China-based IP addresses and the content discrepancies between the two, I’ve managed to gain some handle on the scale of publication data that is now inaccessible in China. My analysis suggests that more than 28,000 records of publication have been suppressed on publisher platforms accessible by Chinese scholars or the public….”

 

Can publishers resist self-censorship in China? | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Five years on from Cambridge University Press’ controversial compliance with a Chinese government request to make more than 300 articles unavailable to Chinese readers, publishers are increasingly self-censoring content on ‘sensitive’ topics….

The issue came to light five years ago, when it emerged in the UK’s national press that Cambridge University Press (CUP) had removed “sensitive” content from its prestigious China studies journal, China Quarterly. Since then, other publishers have faced similar accusations of bowing to pressure from Beijing. Springer Nature has restricted access to more than 1,000 articles, while Taylor & Francis, Sage Publishing and Brill have navigated strict content restrictions.

Although some publishers have found routes to navigate these restrictions without self-censoring their online platforms, others appear to be more deeply enmeshed in China’s censorship apparatus – and in recent years, the access constraints facing so-called controversial papers have gone much further than many believe, straying beyond familiar red-flag topics on an unprecedented scale.

By comparing UK-based and China-based IP addresses and the content discrepancies between the two, I’ve managed to gain some handle on the scale of publication data that is now inaccessible in China. My analysis suggests that more than 28,000 records of publication have been suppressed on publisher platforms accessible by Chinese scholars or the public….”

 

Crimson Interactive (Enago) acquires The Charlesworth Group, creating a powerhouse in China’s publishing ecosystem | SSP Society for Scholarly Publishing

“The acquisition provides the Charlesworth Group and Enago with the scope to build solutions to successfully address researcher and publisher challenges, in particular, assisting publishers to navigate the transition towards Open Access in China.”

Kahn | Open Access with Chinese Characteristics: Understanding Recent History and Current Practice via Qualitative Interviews at a Large Chinese Research University | Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication

Abstract:  Chinese scholars, administrators, and librarians possess nuanced understandings of what defines open access in China and the barriers that make wider adoption of open access difficult. When we say “open access” in the United States, we imply a complex set of underlying assumptions tied to the history and practice of scholarship. Saying “open access” in China brings with it a similarly complex set of assumptions, which may not be commensurate with the “open access” we speak of, and such 1:1 translation may not be possible or desirable given the unique historical, political, and linguistic differences between the world’s two largest producers and consumers of scholarship. Through a careful analysis of our participants’ observations and a review of the history and context of Chinese academic institutions, we posit that “open access with Chinese characteristics” describes a set of possibilities and constraints that determine how Chinese academics experience both the theoretical project and the practical distribution method we commonly call “open access.” While these multiple understandings of “open access” may not converge on a single, shared meaning, we can endeavor to understand one another better in the service of creating and sharing knowledge.

 

Global impact or national accessibility? A paradox in China’s science | SpringerLink

Abstract:  During the past decades, Chinese science policy has emphasized the international dissemination of research. Such policies were associated with exponential growth of English-language publications and have led China to become the largest contributor to international scientific literature. However, due to the paywalls and language barriers, China’s international publications are less accessible to local Chinese scholars, which suggests that the dissemination to the international scientific community may come at the expense of dissemination to the local Chinese community. This paper investigates the local accessibility of China’s international publications and finds that publishing internationally limits the visibility of Chinese research for the national Chinese scientific community, and the restriction is even worse for immediate access.

 

The impact factors of social media users’ forwarding behavior of COVID-19 vaccine topic: Based on empirical analysis of Chinese Weibo users – PMC

Abstract:  Introduction

Social media, an essential source of public access to information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, has a significant effect on the transmission of information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines and helps the public gain correct insights into the effectiveness and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. The forwarding behavior of social media users on posts concerned with COVID-19 vaccine topics can rapidly disseminate vaccine information in a short period, which has a significant effect on transmission and helps the public access relevant information. However, the factors of social media users’ forwarding posts are still uncertain thus far. In this paper, we investigated the factors of the forwarding COVID-19 vaccines Weibo posts on Chinese social media and verified the correlation between social network characteristics, Weibo textual sentiment characteristics, and post forwarding.

Methods

This paper used data mining, machine learning, sentiment analysis, social network analysis, and regression analysis. Using “???? (COVID-19 vaccine)” as the keyword, we used data mining to crawl 121,834 Weibo posts on Sina Weibo from 1 January 2021 to 31 May 2021. Weibo posts not closely correlated with the topic of the COVID-19 vaccines were filtered out using machine learning. In the end, 3,158 posts were used for data analysis. The proportions of positive sentiment and negative sentiment in the textual of Weibo posts were calculated through sentiment analysis. On that basis, the sentiment characteristics of Weibo posts were determined. The social network characteristics of information transmission on the COVID-19 vaccine topic were determined through social network analysis. The correlation between social network characteristics, sentiment characteristics of the text, and the forwarding volume of posts was verified through regression analysis.

Results

The results suggest that there was a significant positive correlation between the degree of posting users in the social network structure and the amount of forwarding. The relationship between the closeness centrality and the forwarding volume was significantly positive. The betweenness centrality was significantly positively correlated with the forwarding volume. There was no significant relationship between the number of posts containing more positive sentiments and the forwarding volume of posts. There was a significant positive correlation between the number of Weibo posts containing more negative sentiments and the forwarding volume.

Conclusion

According to the characteristics of users, COVID-19 vaccine posts from opinion leaders, “gatekeepers,” and users with high-closeness centrality are more likely to be reposted. Users with these characteristics should be valued for their important role in disseminating information about COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, the sentiment contained in the Weibo post is an important factor influencing the public to forward vaccine posts. Special attention should be paid to the negative sentimental tendency contained in this post on Weibo to mitigate the negative impact of the information epidemic and improve the transmission effect of COVID-19 vaccine information.

Asia tipped to follow US lead on open access | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Asian research powerhouses will introduce open access (OA) mandates within the next “two to three” years, experts have predicted, in the wake of last month’s landmark order by the Biden administration.

Under the US decision, the published results of federally funded research must be made immediately and freely available to readers, starting from 2025. This follows the introduction of similar rules across Europe and the UK, spearheaded by the Plan S initiative.

Home to four of the top 10 research-producing countries – China, Japan, South Korea and India – Asia now appears poised to become the next battleground….”

Tackling the politicisation of COVID-19 data reporting through open access data sharing – The Lancet Infectious Diseases

“Regression analysis of country-specific death rates among 137 countries, showed that approximately 400?000 deaths were estimated to be unaccounted for during the first year of the pandemic, most likely among autocratic governments.

 During the early stages of the pandemic, the Chinese Government limited knowledge of the emerging disease and downplayed its severity. The Chinese Government did not allow the media to use terms like fatal and lockdown. Houthi rebels in Yemen relied on under-reporting cases to avoid accountability and maintain economic activity, leading to the reporting of only four COVID-19 cases and one death in the highly populated Sana’a City over the first year of the pandemic. Most countries report cases and deaths that are both probable and confirmed by testing. However, in Russia, only COVID-19 confirmed deaths are included in official counts, despite low supplies of PCR tests, leading to vast under-reporting of deaths. Similarly, some Brazilian hospitals have been implicated in the under-reporting of COVID-19 deaths in response to government pressure to avoid triggering the apparent need for lockdown measures. When official and aggregate sources were available, the JHU CSSE team overcame such challenges by implementing innovative anomaly detection processes and data fusion approaches in the data coalition process.

Political polarisation has threatened the reliability of data supplied by US Government agencies. The Trump White House Administration advised hospitals to send data on SARS-CoV-2 and intensive care unit capacities to a private company, bypassing the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Concerningly, a relationship was exposed between the private contractor and the Trump family’s corporation. The switch to sending data to a private contractor led to a hiatus in publicly available data from the US CDC. Moreover, the transition was accompanied by sporadic updates, with many irregularities in the data and inconsistencies in the definition of metrics from the contracted private company….”

Uses of the Journal Impact Factor in national journal rankings in China and Europe – Kulczycki – Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  This paper investigates different uses of the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) in national journal rankings and discusses the merits of supplementing metrics with expert assessment. Our focus is national journal rankings used as evidence to support decisions about the distribution of institutional funding or career advancement. The seven countries under comparison are China, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway, Poland, and Turkey—and the region of Flanders in Belgium. With the exception of Italy, top-tier journals used in national rankings include those classified at the highest level, or according to tier, or points implemented. A total of 3,565 (75.8%) out of 4,701 unique top-tier journals were identified as having a JIF, with 55.7% belonging to the first Journal Impact Factor quartile. Journal rankings in China, Flanders, Poland, and Turkey classify journals with a JIF as being top-tier, but only when they are in the first quartile of the Average Journal Impact Factor Percentile. Journal rankings that result from expert assessment in Denmark, Finland, and Norway regularly classify journals as top-tier outside the first quartile, particularly in the social sciences and humanities. We conclude that experts, when tasked with metric-informed journal rankings, take into account quality dimensions that are not covered by JIFs.

 

SciOpen, an international digital publishing | EurekAlert!

“On June 24, 2022, the 5th Forum for World STM Journals, hosted by the Chinese Association for Science and Technology (CAST) and the People’s Government of Hunan Province, opened in Changsha. SciOpen (https://www.sciopen.com/home), an international digital publishing platform for STM journals independently developed by Tsinghua University Press, was officially launched at the opening ceremony of the forum….”

Early firm engagement, government research funding, and the privatization of public knowledge | SpringerLink

Abstract:  Early firm engagement in the scientific discovery process in public institutions is an important form of science-based innovation. However, early firm engagement may negatively affect the academic value of public papers due to firms’ impulse to privatize public knowledge. In this paper, we crawl all patent and paper text data of the Distinguished Young Scholars of the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) in the chemical and pharmaceutical field. We use semantic recognition techniques to establish the link between scientific discovery papers and patented technologies to explore the relationship between the quality of public knowledge production, government research funding, and early firm engagement in the science-based innovation process. The empirical results show that, first, there is a relatively smooth inverted U-shaped relationship between government research funding for scholars and the quality of their publications. An initial increase in government research funding positively drives the quality of public knowledge production, but the effect turns negative when research funding is excessive. Second, government research funding for scholars can act as a value signal, triggering the firm’s impulse to privatize high-value scientific discoveries. Hence, early firm engagement moderates the inverted U-shaped relationship such that at low levels of research funding, early firm engagement can improve the quality of public knowledge production, and at high levels of research funding, early firm engagement can further reduce the quality of public knowledge production.

 

Should open access lead to closed research? The trends towards paying to perform research

Abstract:  Open  Access  (OA)  emerged  as  an  important  transition  in  scholarly  publishing  worldwide during the past two decades. So far, this transition is increasingly based on article processing charges (APC), which create a new paywall on the researchers’ side. Publishing is part of the research  process  and  thereby  necessary  to  perform  research.  This  study  analyses  the  global trends towards paying to perform research by combing observed trends in publishing from 2015 to 2020 with an APC price list. APC expenses have sharply increased among six countries with different  OA  policies:  the  USA,  China,  the  UK,  France,  the  Netherlands,  and  Norway.  The estimated global revenues from APC among major publishers now exceed 2 billion US dollars annually. Mergers and takeovers show that the industry is moving towards APC-based OA as the more profitable business  model.  Research publishing will be closed  to  those who cannot make an institution or project money payment. Our results lead to a discussion of whether APC is the best way to promote OA.