Open Access in Asia and the Pacific started in the form of subject gateways, informal collections of articles on web pages and directories. Subsequently the region witnessed the transition to Open Access journals and full text repositories and digital libraries. Research departments, institutions & universities and coordinating bodies of higher learning are the major contributors to Open Access though some dedicated OA publishers have also contributed. The region as a whole has seen rapid industrial advance with governments investing significantly in R&D. Such investment has shown a direct bearing on scientific productivity and reporting though not directly or always in Open Access journals. For example, the Global Innovation index (GII) report, 2014 shows that the Democratic Republic of Korea holds wolrd's first rank in terms of Gross Expenditures on Research and Innovation (GERD) in 2011; Singapore, China, Malaysia, India and Hong Kong also rank among the top 50. The potential of publishing as shown in citation index for the region can be harnessed into Open Access publishing.
Asia Pacific hosts several digital OA repositories and digital libraries. The repositories often are based upon documents types such as theses and dissertations while many others are domain specific such as the AGRIS service in the Agricultural Domain. However, some countries have shown constant progress, some in spurts of activities and some others are yet to begin with repositories as is shown in the country-wise reports in Asia Pacific. The Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) currently registers 586 OA repositories from Asia with another 66 repositories hosted from the Australasian region. In total, this corresponds to 44% of total institutional repositories in OpenDOAR. Japan, India, China and Taiwan are major contributors in Asia.
Currently, there are approximately 1440 OA journals published in Asia which are indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), with India, Indonesia and Australia ranking as the top 3 OA journal publishers respectively.
ROARMAP currently registers 42 institutional OA policies from Asia.
The major facilitators of OA are content creators such as journal editors in the domain of Medicine in Nepal and India and information professionals and librarians as in the case of Sri Lanka and India. As is often the case, there is still a lack of dedicated staff establishing and managing technology and content in OA journal platforms or repositories. Some professional academies such as Indian Academy of Sciences, academics and library and information science professionals have taken an interest in hosting and managing OA services. Online technical and advisory support such as the Digital Library Research Group (https://drtc.isibang.ac.in/); with members from 14 countries) and Greenstone Support Asia forum (http://greenstonesupport.iimk.ac.in/) have successfully built active communities that discuss and solve technical problems in implementation of OSS based repositories.
Many countries in Asia pacific have adopted advanced ICT applications in providing information services. Improved Internet connectivity and cheaper storage media in the recent years are facilitators to hosting repository services. Availability of Open Source Software for building repositories and content management has proven to be another booster for Open Access. Another major factor is the availability of skilled human capital: tech savvy professionals in Asia especially in India, China, Japan, Singapore, Australia and many others.
International Agencies and Cooperation:
International funding and coordinating agencies play active roles in ICT deployment in the Asia Pacific region. Through international bodies there has been significant transfer of thought, knowledge and technology by means of support for Seminars, Conferences and Workshops that focused on Open Access directly or via ICT in general. International agencies such as INASP (International Network for Availability of Scientific Publications) also support activities to foster content creation. UNESCO has played an important role in support of OA activities. UNESCO has provided support for brainstorming on Open Access with worldwide experts during regional workshops and conferences. For example, in celebration of International open Access Week, UNESCO New Delhi organized a National Conference titled ‘Opening up by Closing the Circle: Strengthening Open Access in India’ in October 2013, in partnership with Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA). The Conference brought together experts from the fields of library administration, research, academia, publishing, technology and public policy to critically review India’s present OA environment, and to design a roadmap for OA in the country.
UNESCO has also supported the development of repository tools through funding for related practical workshops. The international Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) was launched in Ghent in October 2009, during Open Access Week. In Asia, China, (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Japan (National Institute of Informatics and the Digital Repository Federation) are actively collaborating with CAOR. Some other major agencies and networks in the Asia Pacific region:
- ASEAN Foundation
- Asian Media Information Research Centre
- Association of Southeast Asian Nations
- Asia Pacific Development Information Program
- CreativeCommons Asia
- Digital Review of Asia Pacific
- Knowledge (Electronic) Networking for Rural Asia Pacific
- Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development
- Open Society Foundations
- PAN Asia Networking Distance and Open Resource Access
- Academic Network for Development in Asia
- South Asia Network of Economic Research Insitutes
- East Asian Development Network
- Digital Library Network South Asia
- South Asia Foundation
EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) partners with Library consortia from a number of developing and transition countries in Asia (including Cambodia, Nepal, Mongolia and Fiji) to create an enabling environment for knowledge access.
Major Regional Events:
- June 2014: OASPA's First Asian Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing; Bangkok, Thailand.
- October 2013: UNESCO: Opening up by Closing the Circle: Strengthening Open Acces in India; New Delhi, India.
- 19-20 August, 2013: International Conference on Open Access- Scholalry Communication Reincarnated; Bangalore, India.
- Global Learn Asia Pacific 2011 - Global Conference on Learning and Technology
- UNESCO regional seminar on Open Access, New Delhi India, March 2011
- The 18th International Conference on Computers in Education on Advanced Learning Technologies, Open Contents and Standards, November 29 - December 3, Putrajaya, Malaysia
- GRL2020 Asia, 2009 in conjunction with TELDAP International Conference, Taiwan, Feb, 2009
- ICADL (International Conference on Asian Digital Libraries ) Conference series 1998-2010 (11 conferences Pan Asia Pacific countries)
- The Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS) - annual conference for Information Systems and Information Technology since 2000 in Asia Pacific region
- Mandating for OA by governments is taking its time. Though OA advocacy is growing stronger, the established 'priced journals' -'peer review' stamping is the accepted norm for acceptance of quality of academic or research output.
- Very few countries are signatories of the Berlin Declaration. OA awareness at the decision makers level is negligible and there is much skepticism around the implications of OA. As a result funding mandates for OA publishing and infrastrucure development are far below desirable levels.
- While technological capabilities are strong, use of technology in disparate ways have lead to non-standard practices in terms of platforms and tools used. Also contributing are lack of dedicated and trained personnel to handle Open platform for journals and repositories.
- Lack of multilingual and cross lingual facilities and limited knowledge of English is a major hindrance to content creation, and exchange in the Asian scholarly communities.
- Improved internet penetration in the region: In 2015, internet penetration rate in the region stood at 34.8%, which is also the second lowest estimate in the wolrd.
Open Science Movement
Asia is soon becoming the largest contributor to the global scientific research output. Initiatives to raise awareness of OA and Open Science movements in the region are absolutely essential to ensure maximum visibility and worldwide impact of this knowledge output.
One important initiative is The Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network (OCSDNet) composed of twelve researcher-practitioner teams from the Global South interested in understanding the role of openness and collaboration in science as a transformative tool for development in the region. Participating countries from Asia include Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal and the Philippines. The project is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada and the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK.
In particular OCSDNet aims to:
- Support open science projects that can contribute to development goals in the Global South;
- Identify structural, technical and policy barriers for organizations in the region to participate in Open and Collaborative Science;
- Contribute to the building of a new area of study- Open and Collaborative Science in Development), produce knowledge to inform policy and practice, and a community of researchers who identify themselves as working on Open and Collaborative Science.
This network project is particularly timely given the increasing awareness of the integral role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in development activities, of which the most recent evidence is the inclusion of various references to these themes in the 2030 Sustainable development Agenda.
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