Monday, April 07, 2008

Publishing and Communication of Chinese Scholarly Journals - Ruoxi Li, Chongqing Normal University

Ruoxi Li will be talking today both to let the international scholarly publishing community know more about the Open Access Archive Initiative.

Growth & Development Context
Over last 10 years there have been huge changes in the publishing of scholarly works in China.

  • 405,000 STM papers were published developed in 2006
  • 172,00 papers produced in China were included in SCI, EI and ISTP in 2006 (second ranked country in world)
  • 5387 STM journals registered in China by 1st May 2005 (number only second to US publishing number).

Many of the Chinese universities have moved from pure teaching to teaching and research type institutions. Therefore more Chinese government funding for research.

60% of laboritories and key laboritories were set up in universities and graduate students was 978,600 in 2005; of these 191,300 were Ph.D. candidates - hence ballooning in number of published papers.

Of the STM papers published in China domestically 60.1% were funded by universities or state (I think) the rest being funded elswhere.

668 Chinese university journals in natural science within 1129 total academic titles are a typical example. They have a common feature of their names: Journal of [university name]. These titles are non-profit and general in nature and focus on the academic achievements of the sponsering university. Most content derived from own faculty and students in this type of journal.

The publishing model of these journals though is out of date:
  • Not focused on one or a few subjects
  • "Thousands of people have the same face" - look very similar to other journals - duplication of effort and wasting of resources.
  • "One publisher, one journal" business model - does not compete in a market economy
  • Domestic circulation often low (500 copies/issue for many titles)
  • Difficulty in getting high quality contributions - though an explosion of papers, over the last 10 years the Chinese research community have encouraged the publishing of high quality papers in journals that are international in scope. Also the general journals compete with domestic specialist papers. Generally they have lowered their standards and have become a publishing body for their junior faculty members and developing students.
  • Lower impact of journal (graph show comparison with specialised journals, much less impact for generalist titles).
Not very integrated or open:
  • Few have international editorial boards
  • Few have homepages
  • Many do not even have a basic link to their sponsoring universities
  • Very few published in English.
However most journals began pre-1980 and have a lot of expertise in scholarly communication. Without market pressures though they do not have the pressure to open up.

Thousands of editors are able to act as a team under the leadership of SCUJNS (the Society of China University Journals in Natural Sciences). This is a body looking at integrating and opening content in a digital environment. A first attempt at an open access journal has done well but a widely successful programme of changing to more open integrated journals has not emerged automatically. However a new model has emerged focusing on runing a repository to be populated with pre-prints for every journal. This will allow an exchange platform and Open Access and OAI-PMH compliant

Sciencepaper Online
Non profit site providing access to pre-print scholarly articles. Reviewers can publish research results free of charge. papers receive peer review if authors request it. Since 2003 it has attracted 130,000 users (about 8000 visits per day). This is supported by Ministry of Education (Chinese Government).

E-Journal Archive Of Chongqing
Non-profit OA repository for journals in Chongqing as well as some other regions. It will include an English interface to allow international usage.

Paper Open
Launched earlier this year this is an OA search engine collating searching for papers all over the world. Free to use. More than 400,000 OA papers are in the Beta version of the database. It will hopefully go on to hold 6 million papers by July 2008.

Elsevier and Springer have initiated projects to co-operate with some Chinese University journals with the journal publishers taking responsibility for language development.

As academic publishers we have responsibility to open up China to the world.

Ruoxi Li hopes that this means that Chinese Scholarly Journals will now be as successful as the Olympians that will shortly be competing in Beijing.

Q & A

Q: How does this initiative fit with the Chinese Academy of Sciences?
A: Ruoxi Li asked to think about this later and talk to the questioner later.

The second speaker (Ananda T. Byrappa of General Electric) for Plenary Session 2 has not appeared so will not be speaking. Exhibition viewing time therefore begins early.

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