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Open Access Resources for International Area Studies

This guide provides links to FREE and open scholarly content arranged by country.

Open Access in China

China started the Open Access “movement” in the early 2010s.  Since then there are many open access resources in many subject areas, including history, literature and social sciences.  Here are some of the major ones that fall into the research areas of our faculty and students:​


国家哲学社会科学学术期刊数据库 (NSSD)                                               

National Social Science Database.  It is the largest open-access resources in China.  It collects more than 2000 Chinese academic journals. The Database official opened its access in July of 2013.

书格 – Shu Ge (

Shu ge is an open resource for Chinese classics.

Hong Kong Journals Online    

HKJO is a full-text image database providing access to selected academic and professional journals that are published in Hong Kong. The languages are in English and Chinese.


This is a provincial gazettes in Mainland China.


Taiwan Local Documents Image Database.  It provides a valuable record of regional information and local culture and development. Local documents can be classified according to information types and information content. The first group includes books, relics, and audio and electronic materials; the second historic articles, monuments, folk customs, cultural landscape, industries, literature, art, historical materials,  and other areas. 

Open Access in Japan

While significant open access movements have taken place in the West, Japan has not seen the same level of activity around removing restrictions to the availability of its scholarly resources. This situation is a result of the differing priorities of organizations concerned with scholarly communication in Japan, as well as Japan's relative isolation from worldwide open access efforts. The rising cost of subscriptions to serials in recent decades and the demand for access to publicly funded research has led to measures by governments and academic institutions to make scholarly articles available to all, free of restrictions, via the internet. Japan, however, was not faced with the serials crisis as early as other countries. The strong value of the yen in the late 1980s-mid 1990s allowed Japanese universities to keep up with prices of serials, even as they increased beyond the rate of inflation. Moreover, while funding agencies like the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) have policies promoting (though not necessarily mandating) open access, these were not developed as a response to rising subscription costs for academic journals, but were aimed more at encouraging innovation among Japanese researchers and extending the influence of their work overseas. Most high-impact Japanese research is published in international journals, and Japanese scholarship has minimal visibility in the rest of the world because of the language barrier, especially in the humanities and social sciences.

The Japanese government's Fourth Science and Technology Basic Plan, covering the years 2011-2015, strongly recommended the development of institutional repositories as a means of sharing scholarly research. Since then, Japan has amassed more such repositories than almost any other country in the world. The government has also ordered that all doctoral dissertations be made openly available online since 2013. While these policies have allowed for a substantial amount of content to become available, they have also had unintended consequences. Roughly half of the documents submitted to Japanese institutional repositories are departmental bulletin articles, which consist mainly of preliminary research by early-career scholars that has often not been subject to peer review. Journal articles make up a much smaller percentage of the archived content. As for doctoral theses and dissertations, often only summaries are made available rather than the full text, due to author concerns over their ability to produce future research based on their Ph.D studies.


At present, there is still a relative lack of awareness of the worldwide open access movement among Japanese scholars. There is also no nationwide effort to promote open access in Japanese scholarly communication, nor any intentions by the scholarly community to join international initiatives like Plan S. That such a great deal of open-access scholarship exists in Japan can be seen as a passive reaction to government policies, in which scholars use repositories as a means of simply storing their research rather than disseminating it to a wider audience. There are two primary databases of Japanese open-access scholarly content: J-STAGE, a site developed by JST containing mostly open articles from 2800 academic journals, and IRDB (formerly known as JAIRO Cloud), which aggregates content from academic institutional repositories.

Funamori, M. (2015). Status Quo and Issues of Open Access in Scholarly Research at Japanese Universities. 2015 IIAI 4th International Congress on Advanced Applied Informatics (IIAI-AAI), 413-418. doi: 10.1109/IIAI-AAI.2015.185

J-STAGE (Japan Science and Technology Information Aggregator, Electronic)

An electronic journal platform for science and technology information in Japan. More than 90% of its contents are open access. 

RDB (Institutional Repositories Database)

Collects metadata from Japanese institutional repositories, allowing users to search their contents from a single interface.

Open Access in Korea

Korea's scholarly communication environment differs from that of countries like the US and UK in some respects. Most journals in Korea are published by scholarly societies and university-affiliated research institutes rather than commercial entities, though vendors do enter into contracts with these groups to provide online access to their journals. There are both open access and subscription-based journals in Korea, both of which collect article processing charges, but there are no journals with embargo periods or hybrid journals with both open and paywalled content. Authors normally retain the copyright to their works.

Most of Korea's open access repositories are government-funded. The National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) mandated in 2013 that all articles resulting from the research it funds be stored in the Korea Citation Index, the country's largest multidisciplinary database. The content of Korea's academic institutional repositories is included in RISS, which mostly contains theses and journal articles.

Joung, K. H., & Rowley, J. (2017). Scholarly communication and open access: Perspectives from Korea: Scholarly communication and open access: Korea. Learned Publishing, 30(4), 259–267.


(Research Information Sharing Service): Collects metadata from Korean institutional repositories.

Korea Citation Index

The NRF’s database of Korean academic research and citation analysis data.


KISTI (Korean Institute of Science and Technology Information)

Science and technology articles from a government-supported institution focused on industry and R&D.

KoreaMed Synapse

A database of Korean medical journals.

OAK (Open Access Korea) Portal

It provides an integrated search service across repositories from a variety of types of institutions.

Science Central

Open access journal articles from the Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies.