User Successfully Sues Chinese Online Academic Library Over Top-Up Fees
Zhang Yushuo
/SOURCE : yicai
User Successfully Sues Chinese Online Academic Library Over Top-Up Fees

(Yicai Global) Feb. 18 -- A university student has  successfully sued the operator of an online academic library in China  over unreasonable top-up fees.

A court in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, ruled that Beijing-based operator  Tongfang Knowledge Network Technology's term of service for China  National Knowledge Infrastructure violated consumer rights and it has  now adjusted top-up fees so that users can recharge as little as CNY0.5  via text message.

Almost all university students in the country  become paid members of the CNKI database to help them with their  studies, originally paying a minimum top-up fee of CNY50 (USD7.40) for  their account despite each paid paper only costing CNY7 to download.  Users wanting a refund of their fee also need to pay a handling fee,  according to state-backed China National Radio. 

Founded in 1999, CNKI has a full-text database of  Chinese journals, a database of Chinese doctoral dissertations, and a  full-text database of Chinese outstanding master's thesis. CNKI has more  than 20,000 institutional users, over 20 million registered users, and  the annual volume of full-text downloads reached two billion as of the  end of 2017. 

Whether CNKI's actions constitute monopolistic  behavior remains to be judged by relevant agencies, CNR reported Zhilin  Law Firm Attorney Zhao Zhanling as saying. "There is really no room for  bargaining for the public and universities," he said. "After all, CNKI  has a very high market share in the field of document retrieval. The  content of the literature is very comprehensive and the resources are  very rich."

"However, according to the anti-monopoly law, it is  necessary to first identify the market that CNKI works in before  determining if there is market dominance," Zhao added.

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Keywords: CNKI , academy