(2 Jan 2022) World’s biggest digital library of Chinese journals under pressure over copyright infringement.
A high-profile case against China’s largest academic database has triggered heated debate over the future of open access publishing in the country.
Zhao Dexin, a retired professor at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, won a copyright lawsuit against China National Knowledge Infrastructure, which was accused of uploading more than 160 of his papers without permission. A court said the agreements between CNKI and the journals that originally published the articles lacked authorisation and infringed the authors’ rights “to communicate works to the public online”, ordering the website to pay more than Rmb700,000 (£82,000) in compensation.
CNKI was launched in 1996 by Tsinghua University and its affiliated company, which is supported by government departments including the Ministry of Education. As the world’s largest database of Chinese journals, CNKI covers journal articles, theses and other forms of academic documents from more than 8,000 titles.
But following the court decision the company removed from its database all references to Professor Zhao’s papers, which caused another round of criticism.
“They can surely argue that they deleted the articles to avoid further infringement of copyright. But they also have the option to take social responsibility and try to be the bridge between scientific research and the public,” said one professor of public policy, who asked to remain anonymous.
CNKI subsequently issued a statement (in Chinese) offering a “sincere apology” to Professor Zhao and promising to put his works back on its database “properly”.
More details can be found from the original post here.