Chinese Research Funding Agencies Adopt Open Access Policy

On 15 May, 2014 two major Chinese research funding agencies made a bold move which calls research fund recipients to make their research output available on open access platforms. The agencies are Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and Chinese academy of science (CAS). The NSFC is one of the two leading research funding agencies in the country whereas the CAS is visible in more than 100 institutions through providing funding and conducting its own research. According to these two agencies researchers who got support should deposit their scholarly output into online open access repositories and make it accessible and available for everyone with internet access within 12 months from the date of publication.

This policy decision has far reaching effect. This is mainly due to increasing number of research articles coming out of China; most of them receive funding from these agencies. For instance in 2012 there were more than 186,000 articles indexed by Science Citation Index (SCI) database alone; more that 100,000 (55.2%) of them got some kind of funding from the NSFC. At the same period, researchers of the CAS published more than 18,000 and more than 12,000 SCI and domestic journal articles respectively. Similarly, the National Ministry of Science and Technology is working on how to adopt open access policies.

This kind of open access policy shifts, not only in China but also in many countries, emanate from genuine realization of how open access is imperative both for scientific community and tax payers who are exempted from paying subscription fees for the research themselves funded. See Nature

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