Modernization of Japan from the late 19th century is based on the idea of systematic scientific progress. It has determined the structure of higher education, R & D funding and scholarly communication in contemporary Japan. In Japan there is rapid industrial advances with world level products and scholarly publishing also enjoys its share of exposure.

Japan has one of the high density of repositories, 184 institutional repositories in its fold (OpenDOAR). Having made considerable open access progress, Japan continues its mission to facilitate global access of its research outputs with variety of outreach programmes and initiatives with funding from Societies, Government and through International liaison.

As of May 2015, there are 98 OA journals published in Japan which are indexed in DOAJ.

Enabling Environment

In Japan, more than 130 academic institutions have introduced institutional repositories and over 700,0000 full text scholarly articles are open to the public via the national portal site JAIRO (Japanese Institutional Repositories Online). Almost 100 repositories are hosted in university libraries.  Academia are pushing towards OA with arguments such  as journal price pressure, universities wanting public relations, accountability for public funding among other reasons. About 2000 journal titles (from scholarly societies) are published out of which  about 300 are in english.

Institutional Repositories at universities are seeking for new directions, such as mandatory deposit of research articles. In  November 2010, e-science experts from nine countries met in The Royal Library, Copenhagen, for eSciDoc Days 2010 to share and discuss their projects and developments. Scientific institutions, science service institutions, universities, and libraries in Europe, North America, and Japan are using eSciDoc research results to build up e-science environments. Partners of the eSciDoc of Max Planck Society in Japan  is a value-added repository with various new features. As the deposit to PubMed  Central is now mandatory under the new Public Access Policy, the number of deposited articles has been increasing dramatically.

BioMed Central is a leading open access publisher with over 200 online journals, which are increasingly popular with authors from Japan. A number of Japanese societies have also chosen to publish their official journals with BioMed Central and it is keen to have further discussion  with Japanese research institutions regarding open access, assist in population of institutional repositories and help institutions to support open access through our Institutional Membership Program.

Potential Barriers

Open access has not been taken seriously in Japan with no signatories on Berlin Declaration.  Self archiving by scientists is still not quite a popular mode of publishing. Self-archiving Stats show that scientists are generally neither interested in nor aware of open access In Japan, therefore highlighting a need for more OA awareness-raising campaigns. No major OA publisher as yet. There is a need to establish a national OA policy. By December 2015, the government of Japan aims to improve transparency of the information on the official development assistance, including agricultural projects in accordance with the commitment made at the fourth high-level forum on aid effectiveness.

Funding Mandate

Open Access Japan, a joint project of two research grant-in-aid projects funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, "Integrated Research on Transformation of Scholarly Communication in Open Access Movement (Principal Investigator: Keiko KURATA, Keio University) and "Reengineering of the Functionalities of Research Libraries in the Digital Milieu(REFORM)"(Principal Investigator: Syun TUTIYA, Chiba University), has been launched with a view to facilitating the information and communication among researchers, librarians and publishers in Japanese concerning issues on Open Access as one of the currently most heavily discussed topics in scholarly communication.

Government funds univeristies to host repositories extending the funding for indexing service that existed earlier.  Two OA services - NACSIS-ELS that provides 2.8M articles in 1,000 society journals and  J-STAGE hosts about 200 journals as open access made possible by government funding.

As of May 2015, OpenDOAR shows 184 OA repositories to be operating in Japan. There is currently no national open Access policy. ROARMAP lists 5 OA policies, two of which are funders' mandates and three institutional OA policies. On 1 April 2013, a new repository mandate was issued by the Japanese ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Past and Future OA related Activities

Open Science and Open Data Related Events

March 2016Making data sharing work in the era of Open Science: The 7th Research Data Alliance (RDA) Plenary

The event was hosted and co-organized by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).  The Research Data Alliance (RDA) holds its plenary meeting every six months in a different region around the world. This was the first such meeting to be held in Asia.

The 7th Plenary included sessions dedicated to adoption and success stories. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the RDA and how to get involved in its activities.

It brought together a unique community of data scientists, librarians, computer and domain scientists, policy makers and strategists to meet and discuss concrete actions and plans. 

October 2015OA policies by HORIZON 2020 and international issues regarding Open Science

The symposium accelerated a national policy regarding Open Science which is being considered for the country.

It provided a platform for participants to share information about the current situation and future of OA policies and OA supporting projects of EU from the perspective of research promotion and the role of university libraries.

HORIZON 2020 is a European international research, development and innovation promoting project. It declares that research outputs including research data produced as part of their funded project should be OA. University library consortia are implementing several projects to support EU countries in adopting OA policies, researchers in following to OA, and research communities in participating in open data projects. 


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  3. Kurata, K.(2010). What is Open Access?. Journal of Information Science and Technology Association,  60(4), 132-137.
  4. Sato, S., & Itsumura, H.(2010). Institutional Repository and Open Access Journal: Free and Unrestricted Access?. Journal of Information Science and Technology Association, 60(4), 144-150.
  5. Tsuchide, I., & Donkai, S.(2010, July). Developmental Process & Present Situation of Institutional  Repositories in Japan. The Library World, 62(2),158-168.
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  7. Watanabe, T., & Noguchi, Y.(2010). Issues in Open Access: Licensing, License Standardization and Compatibility Journal of Information Science and Technology Association (Joho no Kagaku to Gijutsu), 60(4), 151-155. 



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