Open Sesame for Open Access


Following on the heels of efforts of the United States in early 2013 to increase access to federally funded research,  the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Natural Science Foundation of China have announced on May 15 that from now on all research produced by scientists at CAS and all papers produced by NSFC grants must be archived in open access databases within one year of publication.   The development has been widely reported in the trade press, such as Chemistry World and Nature.  These magazines also report that the Ministry of Science and Technology may take a similar approach with respect to their funded research. 

The notice of the Natural  Science Foundation of China noted that  “An important tool in promoting development is publicly funded scientific research, which is the knowledge creation of society that supports innovation.  The publication of funded research papers is a knowledge resource of the whole of society.  When the whole of society can obtain this information, the dissemination of knowledge and its utilization will be promoted….”

China has taken a “green” path to open access by providing for open access after one year.  Open access in general has its supporters and detractors.  While the benefit of wide spread sharing of information would appear obvious, detractors cite the role of publishers in maintaining publication quality, editing and indexing.  Access is facilitated by the availability of differential pricing in many parts of the world.

The White House statement was quite different by requiring policies from research funding agencies and noting as a consideration that publishing also has its role: “The Administration also recognizes that publishers provide valuable services, including the coordination of peer review, that are essential for ensuring the high quality and integrity of many scholarly publications. It is critical that these services continue to be made available. It is also important that Federal policy not adversely affect opportunities for researchers who are not funded by the Federal Government to disseminate any analysis or results of their research.”

Delayed open access, immediate open access, or relying on a market for exclusive rights for writers and publishers – which works better? Will China’s policies ultimately provide enough support for quality publications, which may depend on the services of professional publishers?  Or will the market ultimately find roles for all types of publication practices?

(photo is of the author with Alexander Graham Bell as a wax figure)


SIPO’s Data Shows Continued High Demand for IP Information in China


SIPO recently published its 2013 data on hits on Chinese government IP websites.   Overall, there were 2,974,407,259 hits on Chinese government IP system portal websites in 2013.  Total numbers of distinct on IP addresses were 30,066,575.

The three biggest foreign countries in terms of visitors were the US, France and Canada.  In terms of origin of page views, China was number one: 934,297,096.  The US was number two with 136,552,861.  France trailed at 6,120,926.  To put that in perspective, US page views were 14.6 percent of the total – which is rather high.

Country Page Views
1 China 923,297,096
2 United States 136,552,861
3 France 6,120,926
4 Canada 4,175,340
5 U.K. 3,676,532
6 Germany 3,436,612
7 South Korea 2,804,540
8 Japan 2,428,610
9 Brazil 1,892,332
10 Spain 1,297,910

There were 554,028,775 hits to the Chinese language patent search engine. Amongst English language hits, news ranked first (381,612), and law and policy was second (164,226).

The biggest domestic source of domestic page views were Beijing and Guangdong (approximately 286 million and 90 million, respectively).

There was a minor spike in visits in April (IP Day/Week – April 26, I presume),  another spike in July and August,  but the  big spike was in December with  an especially large growth in IP addresses towards year end, as the 12 month chart below of visitors indicates.


The year end spike parallels the increase in patent filings at year end (  )My guess is that seasonality in utilization of patent search engines would more closely approximate trends in patent filings, while overall utilization of government IP websites may tend to track IP campaigns and policy initiatives.

The ratio of distinct addresses to page views is about 100 hits per IP address (approximately 3 billion hits/30 million IP addresses).  We are an information-oriented profession!

I noted in an earlier blog “The Chinese IP Hits Parade”  that foreigners learn about Chinese IP from Chinese government websites, particularly when Chinese data is compared with US and European sources of information on the Chinese IP environment.    By comparison, total hits on my bog last year were 30,000, a number that pales in comparison to the millions of page views from foreign IP addresses on Chinese government websites, or in terms on Chinese government English language websites, where the differences narrowed.

While the data suggests continued growth in information services on IP, it would be useful if SIPO provided the tools to make better year on year comparisons or listed all of the Chinese government IP websites it is tracking.  Other problems: the numbers of page views is about one third lower than hits in SIPO’s report, which is hard to fathom, since each hit is necessarily a page view.  In addition, there appears to be a large spike in US utilization of SIPO websites compared to 2012 data in 2013, which is also hard to understand.

Source: (关于全国知识产权系统政府门户网站2013年统计情况的通报) (Report Concerning the Statistical Situation of The Chinese Government National Network of  IP Portals in 2013).



Call for Papers on Internet Governance

From Rogier Creemers and the Chinalaw listserve run by Don Clarke comes the attached call for papers on Internet governance in China for China Perspectives.  China Perspectives is an anonymously peer-reviewed academic journal written in French and English.   The Call for Papers ( notes that “Chinese positions carry increasing weight on such global issues as net neutrality, copyright, privacy, or freedom of speech, to mention but a few” and that this journal thus “plans to publish a special feature on Internet governance in China, which will cover these aspects from a multidisciplinary perspective, including law, political science, political economy, political sociology, communication, or international relations.”