Asia and the Pacific

Overview

Open Access in Asia 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 and 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. The potential of publishing as shown in citation index for the region can be harnessed into Open Access publishing.

Asia Pacific hosts several repositories and digital libraries as Open Access. The repositories often are based upon documents types such Theses and Dissertations while many others are domain specific such as the AGRIS service in 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.

Open Access Communities

The major facilitators of OA are content creators such as journals editors in domains (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 are no 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. Technical and advisory support online fore such as Digital Library Research Group (http://drtc.isibang.ac.in/dlrg); 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.

Technological Factors

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 proved another booster for Open Access.  Another major factor is tech savvy professionals in mid level in Asia especially in India, China, Japan, Singapore, Australia and many others. 

Asia Pacific Repository Statistics

Asia Pacific is the third biggest contributor to OA content (OpenDOAR) contributing to 16.6% of the total institutional repositories (see figure below).  Asian region is host to about 346 repositories and Australasian region hosts 79 repositories. Japan (39%), Taiwan (16.8%) and India (15%) are major contributors in Asia.

International Agencies and Cooperation

International funding and coordinating agencies played 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 ICT in general.  International agencies also support activities to foster content creation such as INASP (International Network for Availability of Scientific Publications). UNESCO has played an important role in support of OA activities through support for seminars and brainstorming on Open Access with worldwide experts and repository tools through funding for practical workshops on Digital Repository tools. 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:

Major Regional Events

  • 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

Challenges

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.

Publications

  • Karan, K. (2011). Information Policies in Asia: Development of Indicators, Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok, 116. Retrieved from  www.web.idrc.ca/uploads/userS/12326339541prospectus_final.pdf
  • UNESCO. (2011). ICT in Teacher Education: Policy, Open Educational Resources and Partnership. In Proceedings of International Conference IITE-2010, held on November 15–16, 2010, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.
    Retrieved from www.unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0019/001936/193658e.pdf
  • International Development Research Centre. (2006). Pan Asia Networking Prospectus 2006-2011.
  • Chen, H., & Zhou, Y. (2005). Survey and History of Digital Library Development in the Asia Pacific. In Yin-Leng Then and Schubert Foo (Eds.), Design and Usability of Digital Libraries: Case Studies in the Asia Pacific. Hershey: Idea Group.
    Retrieved from www.irma-international.org/viewtitle/8129/
  • Foo, S., & Theng, Y.L. (2004). Digital Library Trends in the Asia Pacific. In Proceedings of Asian Libraries and Information Conference (ALIC 2004), November 22-24, Bangkok.
    Retrieved from www3.ntu.edu.sg/home/assfoo/publications/2004/2004ALIC_fmt.pdf
  • Tinio, V. L. (2003). ICT in Education. Bangkok: UNDP-APDIP.
    Retrieved from www.apdip.net/publications/iespprimers/eprimer-edu.pdf

Country Analysis

Afghanistan | Australia | Bangladesh | Bhutan | Brunei Darussalam | Cambodia | China | India | Indonesia | Islamic Republic of Iran | Japan | Kazakhstan | Kyrgyzstan | Malaysia | Nepal | Republic of Korea | Russian Federation | Singapore | Sri Lanka | Thailand | Vietnam |

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