Publishers eye joining COVID-19 database
People's Daily

Chinese scientific publishers have shown a strong willingness to join the global literature database on COVID-19. [Photo/Agencies]

Chinese scientific publishers have shown a strong willingness to join the global literature database on COVID-19 set up by the World Health Organization.

More than 20 scientific publishers across the country have submitted letters of authorization to allow the WHO to reproduce, distribute, publish, translate and otherwise use their metadata and abstracts of COVID-19 scientific works for five years in the WHO database, according to the China Association for Science and Technology.

The database, accessible to the public and free of charge, updates daily and pools the latest international multilingual scientific findings on COVID-19.

The move came after the association released an open letter on May 19 calling on all scientific publishers across the country to "participate in the construction of the WHO COVID-19 database, authorize the WHO to use metadata of COVID-19 papers and share more Chinese research progress and experience with scientists and health professionals around the world".

Lyu Zhaoping, an official at the association, said Chinese publishers responded quickly after the release of the open letter. More than 20 have granted authorization. The Journal of the Chinese Medical Association and China Association of Chinese Medicine are going through procedures to join and many more journals have consulted on the matter of joining.

The association for science and technology and WHO agencies based in China have also created a special working group to step up quality evaluation of authorized documents. They will select high-quality papers to be placed in the database as soon as possible, he added.

Lyu said that since the global COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese government has promoted international cooperation to fight the pandemic and has firmly supported the WHO in coordinating the global response to the public health challenge.

In March, chief science advisers from 12 countries, including the United States, Singapore, Japan, Canada and Brazil, published an open letter calling on scientific publishers to make all research related to COVID-19 more freely accessible through public sources such as the WHO COVID-19 database.

In response to that letter, the association for science and technology started to facilitate free and open access to Chinese academic literature. Considering that work to be of great significance in global anti-COVID-19 scientific cooperation, Lyu said they immediately took the initiative to get in touch with the WHO Library, a leading resource on public health, after learning about the COVID-19 database to discuss the requirements and format of the authorization letter.

"The China Association for Science and Technology calling for domestic scientific journals to join the WHO database aims to share our scientific advances and treatment experience with the wider international community and to contribute Chinese solutions and Chinese strength to this fight," he added.