Previously, in order to “fight” with HowNet, Zhao Dexin had been preparing for six years, collecting articles published by him since 1952, especially the examples that were included in HowNet and other platforms but refused to pay.
Statistics show that CNKI has successively collected more than 100 articles published by him, and finally won the lawsuit and received more than 700,000 yuan in compensation.
With the encouragement of Zhao Dexin, his wife Zhou Xiulan also sued CNKI, and finally received nearly 100,000 yuan in compensation. Zhou Xiuluan is also a retired professor at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, aged 93.
Zhao Dexin, Zhou Xiuluan and his wife
“We’re not for money,” Zhao Dexin said. “Our husband and wife are both full professors. Our two daughters and nephew have higher incomes than us. We have no pursuit of food and clothing, we just fight for breath!”
Regarding the relevant departments investigating CNKI according to law, Professor Zhao Dexin said that he was very happy after learning about it. He hopes that a fully competitive market can prevent one family from becoming dominant in the future.
26 bucks download fee
The decision to file a lawsuit started with a download fee of 26 yuan.
Zhao Dexin told Nanfengchuang that in 2016, at the request of the publishing house, he revised and republished the book “Dictionary of Chinese Economic History” published in the 1990s.
The book revision team consists of more than 20 professors and associate professors. Zhao Dexin needs to download this book published in the early years, and then distribute it to more than 20 members of the revision team for reference and suggestions.
Zhao Dexin asked the students to download it, and the students reported that it cost 26 yuan to download a copy from CNKI. “I want to use my book, and I have to give you 26 yuan? Why?” Zhao Dexin was very puzzled: “When that book was published, the price was only 17.5 yuan!”
Later, he remembered what happened ten years ago, that is, in 2006, CNKI once sent him a cooperation contract, stipulating that CNKI included his book and asked him to authorize it, and each download would be paid about 1.3 yuan. Let him fill in his ID number and bank card number to facilitate payment.
Announcement on the dissertation remuneration on CNKI, and this announcement was published in October 2016
The bank card is still in use, but the bank statement shows that in the past ten years, no money has been paid from CNKI.
Zhao Dexin was not happy.
“You took away my knowledge and labor for 10 years in vain, and you didn’t give me a penny. As a result, I downloaded my own stuff, and you still charged me 26 yuan for each copy?” Zhao Dexin said: “I don’t respect creation and I don’t respect labor. “
Zhao Dexin searched the Internet and found that in the 70 years since he published the article in 1952, more than 100 articles have been privately included in CNKI.
Some publications that published articles, Zhao Dexin did not survive. Afterwards, Zhao Dexin collected a series of original evidence through the library and archives of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, as well as the library of Wuhan University and the Hubei Provincial Chronicle Museum.
Professor Zhao Dexin (Photo source: Jimu News)
If joint signatures are involved, Zhao Dexin asks the other party to sign and authorize the lawsuit. But some relatively young or incumbent professors are afraid to sign.
“There are three main reasons for not signing,” Zhao Dexin told Nanfengchuang: “One is afraid that CNKI will remove their articles from the shelves, the other is that newly published articles will not be included in CNKI, and the third is that journals will no longer publish their articles.”
Zhao Dexin introduced that many journals have cooperated with CNKI. During the rights protection period, he received calls from the editor-in-chief of some journals, hoping that he would withdraw the lawsuit and not inform the website.
As one of the pioneers of Chinese economic history, Zhao Dexin has enough reputation, and he is 90 years old and does not need to be evaluated for professional titles, so he can bear the pressure back.
In a handwritten letter to the reporter of “Changjiang Daily”, Professor Zhou Xiuluan expounded his original intention of defending his rights
One of the reasons why Zhao Dexin did not listen to the persuasion was that he felt the toughness and domineering of HowNet.
“HowNet is very tough.” Zhao Dexin said that the Internet Court stipulates that no more than 4 articles can be filed per lawsuit. I have filed more than 100 articles and sued more than 20 times. However, after each batch of failures, HowNet appealed each batch.
This made the process tortuous and lengthy. “If the first batch of appeals is understandable, but there are already precedents before, and you still do this every batch later, you are deliberately tossing people. Fortunately, my bones are tough, otherwise, I won’t be able to survive them.”
Of course, there are also some coping strategies, and some tasks are completed by him and his wife Zhou Xiuluan together. In this way, he authorized Zhou Xiuluan to sue, proceeding simultaneously, and shortening the process.
On average, the standard of remuneration for article claims is 200 yuan per thousand words. Zhao Dexin’s article was very long, so she was awarded more than 700,000 yuan in compensation.
“This includes lawyer’s fees and appraisal fees, etc., and it is more than 300,000 in real hands.” Zhao Dexin said.
Why don’t intellectuals speak?
After Zhao Dexin and his wife’s lawsuit was won and attracted media attention, many people in the intellectual world are also reflecting: Why do intellectuals not speak?
“In the face of apparent unfairness, why don’t intellectuals stand up? Instead, rely on a few old people to stand up?” Zhao Dexin said, if young teachers are afraid to speak out due to various concerns, why don’t so many old professors across the country speak up? ? The key is the question of responsibility.
A deeper reflection is: How did CNKI come to this point?
As China’s knowledge infrastructure project, CNKI has been established and developed in 1999 for 23 years. The platform is mainly created by intellectuals, the content is created by intellectuals, and finally serves the exchange and operation of knowledge.
“Originally we were the same kind of people, but in the end, we were divided and alienated, and it became a blatant relationship of exploitation and exploitation.” Zhao Dexin said, “HowNet used our labor at a low price or even free of charge, and then resold it to us at a high price.”
In the face of the increasingly large HowNet, subject to factors such as fears that articles will not be included in the evaluation of professional titles, most intellectuals remain silent about the many unfair terms of HowNet.
Zhao Dexin doesn’t want CNKI to collapse, he hopes it can “build and manage the knowledge platform in accordance with the principles of the socialist market economy”.
“If you use the author’s articles, you should pay a certain amount of remuneration. Users should also pay a certain fee for downloading articles from the website.” Zhao Dexin said, but the platform’s profit should be in line with national policies, and there should be no current “two ends” or even huge profits. , but also soared every year.
CNKI member and traffic billing standard table
The silence of the majority also aroused the thinking of lawyer Guo Bing.
Attorney Guo Bing is also a Distinguished Associate Professor of the School of Law and Politics of Zhejiang Sci-Tech University. On October 18, 2021, Guo Bing received a text message from the No. 7 Procuratorate of the Jiangsu Provincial People’s Procuratorate, saying that his submitted paper had passed the preliminary evaluation and needed to provide a review of the paper. Report.
This led to a lawsuit between him and HowNet.
Through the CNKI platform, Guo Bing was unable to obtain the service of the academic misconduct detection system (usually referred to as the “duplication check” service). After consulting with the college, school library and other departments, he learned that CNKI is not open to individual users. Only when the graduation thesis is submitted each year does the Academic Affairs Office open CNKI’s “duplication checking” service to each college for a fixed amount. Teachers can only obtain CNKI’s “duplication checking” service through the school library and paying a certain fee.
In the end, Guo Bing had to pay the corresponding “duplication check” service fee to the school library, and the library staff “checked the duplicate” on his behalf.
On May 14, Guo Bing said in an interview with Nanfeng Window that he believed that CNKI was suspected of abusing its dominant market position after this “duplication check” service.
According to him, this mainly includes refusing to open academic misconduct detection system services to individual users without justifiable reasons, restricting unit personnel to use academic misconduct detection system services through obviously unreasonable contract terms, etc., which damages their legitimate rights and interests. According to the relevant provisions of Article 17 of the Monopoly Law, he decided to sue CNKI to protect public interests through litigation.
At present, the court has also accepted this, and the hearing time is yet to be determined.
In the process of collecting relevant evidence, Guo Bing was very puzzled. He said: “Some universities or research institutions pay tens of millions of fees to CNKI every year, and the service contracts signed are very unfair, and CNKI skyrockets every year for no reason. In the face of this kind of abuse of market dominance, why can’t universities and other research institutions take measures to stop or suspend their use, so why can’t they stand up against it or complain to the regulatory authorities?”
“Silence is abnormal. The biggest loss of silence in colleges and universities is students.” Guo Bing said that every year just for the graduation thesis check, the cost of each student is hundreds or even thousands of yuan, which is a huge amount. .
clamped by platform
“Teachers must do scientific research, otherwise their professional titles will not be rated.” Zhang Bin (pseudonym), a professor at a university, said in an interview with Nanfengchuang that when looking for the topic of a paper, he started writing for the purpose of judging whether the content and perspective were innovative. In the past, teachers usually check whether relevant papers have been written before, and conduct comprehensive research and judgment on topic selection.
In addition, after the article is written, it is also necessary to check the duplicate through CNKI and other channels.
Zhang Bin said that CNKI is China’s knowledge base, like a basket, which includes almost all articles published in journals, covering universities, research institutions and other fields, and the categories are very complete. To do research, involving literature, references, citations, etc., it must be used.
“Now, when evaluating professional titles, some colleges and universities clearly need to provide screenshots of CNKI’s published papers.” Zhang Bin said, “It is not included, which means that the influence is not enough.”
In addition, after mastering a large number of articles and data, according to big data analysis, CNKI will continuously establish “influence factors” for universities or research institutions based on the download rate, click rate, citation rate, etc. quality.
“Intellectuals need this platform to speak out and expand their influence, and they are restrained by the platform.” Zhang Bin said that everyone did not speak out about this kind of unfairness and unreasonable charges that increase by 10% or more every year, not because Everyone can accept it, but because it is not the individual who pays the bill, but the institution.
In addition, professors may encounter articles removed from the shelves after speaking, causing losses to themselves.
“This is the platform’s biggest threat and revenge to intellectuals.” Zhao Dexin said that after the couple’s lawsuit was won, CNKI removed his and his wife’s articles, but they didn’t care, “Young teachers have to be realistic. Survival and development needs to be afraid of.”
“The young professor supported me in doing this (suing CNKI), but was afraid of doing it myself.” Zhao Dexin said, she was very conflicted and tangled in her heart.
Huang Ying (pseudonym) is the deputy director of an ordinary university library. She told Nanfengchuang that her university has about 20,000 college students. 80,000 new volumes need to be added, ranging from RMB 50-70 per volume, and the cost ranges from RMB 4 million to RMB 5.6 million.
“Every year, our library spends more than 1 million yuan on how to provide teachers with subject services.” Huang Ying said, “How Net is very strong, the contract was sent at the end of the year, and the terms were drawn up. , almost the other party has the final say, we have no right to speak.”
It can be seen from the Chinese government procurement website that in 2022, Beijing Language and Culture University will renew the China Knowledge Network (CNKI) database at a price of 654,600 yuan
“The more than 1 million yuan is only the knowledge base fee paid to CNKI. The duplicate checking system is also in charge of the Academic Affairs Office and the Graduate School.” Huang Ying said that the duplicate checking system for undergraduates is in the Academic Affairs Office, and the graduate school is in the Graduate School. It is purchased separately and is not within the scope of library purchases.
The school’s duplication checking system is only responsible for inquiries after the final draft of the student’s graduation thesis, which is used as the basis for the thesis defense and the issuance of the graduation certificate. However, before, students would check the duplicates on their own through various channels in the first draft and after each revision, so as to avoid handing in unqualified products and failing to receive the graduation certificate.
“Each college graduate brings hundreds of dollars in expenses, and graduate students have more pressure to avoid duplication of content due to the large number of words in their thesis.” Huang Ying said that the number of inquiries is also more, and the cost is higher than that of undergraduates.
On May 13, shortly after the State Administration for Market Regulation notified the CNKI issue, CNKI issued an announcement saying, “We will take this investigation as an opportunity to introspect deeply, conduct comprehensive self-examination, thoroughly rectify, operate in compliance with laws and regulations, and develop innovatively. model, assume the social responsibility of China’s knowledge infrastructure, strive to build CNKI into a world-class academic resource information platform with Chinese characteristics, promote academic communication and exchanges, promote national scientific and technological innovation, and provide better services for authors and readers. .”
On May 13, CNKI issued an announcement
However, based on HowNet’s “habitual statements” in the past, the media industry is cautious about this.
“Hownet, which has been criticized for many years but has been standing still, has finally been checked.” On May 14, “Ban Yue Tan” pointed out in a comment that the news was “liked by all parties”, and the comment area was full of joy. A good illustration of what people want.
However, Banyuetan also mentioned, “Whether CNKI’s rectification can be successful in the end will have to be evaluated by users. Don’t cheer too early, let’s wait and see!”
Regarding CNKI’s investigation, People’s Daily also posted two comments on its official Weibo account, which were not light.
At 19:44 on May 13, the People’s Daily commented that CNKI has been on the cusp of many times in recent years. Although CNKI has repeatedly stated that it will “reflect and rectify”, the voices of doubt are still surging, and there is a tendency to intensify. If the CNKI turmoil is to be quelled, the law should be involved. It remains to be seen where HowNet will go. But in any case, it is time to have a clear statement on whether CNKI is a monopoly. “Knowing” mistakes and correcting them cannot be just words, but actions must be seen.
At 23:28 on May 13, the People’s Daily commented again that the suspected monopolistic behavior was under investigation by the regulatory authorities, and CNKI responded that “comprehensive self-examination, thorough rectification, and compliance with laws and regulations”. Whether it is self-examination or self-examination, it cannot stop at self-talk. It is the right way to calm down the turmoil and return to the legal track; alleviating the public anger and regaining the lost original intention is the most important task. No matter how far you go, you can’t forget why you set off. Does CNKI know?