A Step Forward Towards Open Access: The RGC Publication Gateway

The concept of Open Access (OA) in scholarly research community seeks collaborative efforts from different stakeholders to grant free and open online access permanently to academic information, such as journal article publication and research data, etc. As a major academic research funder in Hong Kong, the Research Grants Council (RGC) revealed its 5-year roadmap of open access movement in 2021, aiming to facilitate OA progressively in publications and data arising from its funded research projects among the academic community in the region.

The RGC Open Access Plan 2021 aims to strengthen support in open access for peer-reviewed journal articles arising from RGC-funded projects through infrastructure development and movements in raising awareness among researchers.

One key initiative specified in the plan is the construction of the “RGC Publication Gateway”, a one-stop online central database enabling fast and easy search of and access to information on peer-reviewed journal articles arising from RGC-funded research projects by the general public. The gateway serves as an online catalogue providing metadata information of journal articles arising from RGC-funded projects, most importantly, indicating whether the publication is Open Access and means to gaining access to them.

Figure 1 The RGC Publication Gateway

The gateway is now accessible by the public. On the front page of the database, it lists the links to the Institutional Repositories maintained by each UGC-funded university, where you can search for scholarly research outputs in a specific institution.

You may directly search within the gateway for the RGC-funded projects publications within all UGC-funded universities at once. The simplest way is to enter a ‘keyword’ in the text input box in the middle of the screen and conduct a quick search. Filters are also available on the search result page.

[Image curtesy of いらすとや

Search and filtering

Figure 2 Advanced search page

By clicking “Advanced Search” below the text input box, you will be directed to a page where you could further modify your search with more criteria. In the above sample, you may adjust the number of “Search Fields” to include more keywords and specify the metadata field in which the words appear. Both “Funding Year” of the RGC-funded project and the “Year of Publication” of the article can also be adjusted by dragging the sliders.

The most convenient function of the gateway is that you may limit your search by the publication’s open access status. One may choose to search for articles that are publicly available only by ticking the box for “Immediate Open Access”.

On the search result page, you may filter the results by different categories, such as “University”, “Funding Scheme”, “Original language”, and “Open access status”. The below screenshot shows a sample search result page for immediate open access articles with the keyword “environment” published in 2019-2022 by researchers at the University of Hong Kong:

Figure 3 Search result page

You could see a list of articles showing the publication title, authors, journal title (year, volume, issue, pages), publisher, open access status, and the Principal Investigator (PI) as well. The availability of the open access information on the search result page allows readers to quickly identify articles that are publicly accessible without having to access publisher sites one by one.

By proceeding to the item record page, more details such as abstract and Digital Object Identifier (DOI) of the publication, funded project information, and external access to the article will also be shown for readers’ easy reference. The external access linkage enables the public to gain access to the publication in a more convenient way through the gateway.

Figure 4 Exporting search results

Selected search results can also be exported in .csv format excel files or .ris files, which is favourable for importing into other citation management tools.

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The Gateway is a great step forward to support open access through showcasing the research outputs in open access supported by RGC. We also look forward to more infrastructure development and movements in raising awareness among researchers based in Hong Kong.

Access the RGC Publication Gateway here: https://www.rgcgateway.hk/en


Research Grants Council. (2021). Open Access Plan of the Research Grants Council, University Grants Committee. https://www.ugc.edu.hk/doc/eng/ugc/publication/report/report20210106/report20210106.pdf