Open access and soft power: Chinese voices in international scholarship
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Networked digital technologies and Open Access (OA) are transforming the processes and institutions of research, knowledge creation and dissemination globally: enabling new forms of collaboration, allowing researchers to be seen and heard in new ways and reshaping relationships between stakeholders across the global academic publishing system. This article draws on Joseph Nye’s concept of ‘Soft Power’ to explore the role that OA is playing in helping to reshape academic publishing in China. It focusses on two important areas of OA development: OA journals and national-level repositories. OA is being supported at the highest levels, and there is potential for it to play an important role in increasing the status and impact of Chinese scholarship. Investments in OA also have the potential to help China to re-position itself within international copyright discourses: moving beyond criticism for failure to enforce the rights of foreign copyright owners and progressing an agenda that places greater emphasis on equality of access to the resources needed to foster innovation. However, the potential for OA to help China to build and project its soft power is being limited by the legacies of the print era, as well as the challenges of efficiently governing the national research and innovation systems.