Around 400 people from the journal publishing industry, libraries, research institutes, universities and the media gathered together at the National Science Library, China Academy of Sciences (CAS) on October 20, 2014.
Everyone was there to hear the latest information on the very first China Open Access (OA) mandate policy, announced by CAS and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) in May. By 8:40am the conference room was packed with people, both excited and anxious. Everyone was hoping that the ten reports from the day would unveil a new stage of 'Gold OA' in China, and thus they gave the day the theme of 'Gold OA Day'.
As was expected, given that the event was initiated by Professor Xiaolin Zhang, (Head of the National Science Library of CAS, and the main lobbyist for China’s OA mandate policy), the whole discussion, research presented, and suggestions for progress were mainly from a library point of view.
The opening speech got straight to the point. Gold OA Day would present to the audience the investigations and research results of Professor Zhang's team on:
- Gold OA policy
- Fund publishing process
- Best practice
The objectives of this primary research and the reports were to try to provide suggestions to the government on how to go about framing and implementing the OA mandate policy in detail and to move this forward. “We need an action plan, we need to fulfil”, Professor Zhang reiterated several times as he outlined the necessary responsibilities and underlined that, in his opinion, such responsibilities should be shared by the academic community, journal publishers and librarians. Besides journal articles, he felt that open access to all scientific information would also come under the remit of this group.
The key information provided centred around proposals on how to implement China’s Gold OA policy. The main principle presented was to encourage funding bodies to support Chinese Gold OA, proactively involving them in the discussion and implementation of this policy so experiences and best practice is shared. The vision was that there should be a pioneering plan to test the various scenarios, and in all cases the level of Article Publishing Charge (APC) was the key factor. It was felt that, ideally, the APC should reflect the particular subject area and take note of knowledge creation, the dissemination of content, potential usage, and should make business sense. It was also suggested that there should be transparent, flexible and testable rules and standards regarding the services provided by OA publishers.
Learning from the experiences of China's thirty years of reform and cultural opening-up, China’s OA policy shall test each step before taking it.