Scholars question whether open access platforms could step in to replace dominance of China National Knowledge Infrastructure
China’s top research organisation has suspended its use of the country’s largest academic database, causing some scholars to question whether its stranglehold on the sector might be loosened.
Given China’s predilection for censorship and state control of academic outputs, it will be interesting to see if this is just the latest instalment of Chinese research institutions CNKI suspending and then quickly rejoining the national database. Given their historical and very recent approach to academia, it does seem unlikely that this suspension heralds a pivot to an open access system.
According to reports, CAS made the decision over mounting costs. In 2021, CAS paid ¥10 million (£1.2 million) to access the database, with a similar amount expected for 2022.
Academics said the reasoning behind the move – long-simmering frustrations over fees – was understandable enough. But they wondered what its knock-on effects could be in a market largely controlled by a single, powerful player. Roughly 90 per cent of China’s journal articles are listed on CNKI, according to estimates.