The South China Sea Institute of Oceanography under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, announced the project at a conference in South China's Guangdong Province, the China News Service reported.
The project demonstrates China's actual sovereignty over this region, said Liu Feng, a Hainan-based expert on the South China Sea.
"Scientific research is also a method, besides political and economic measures, to safeguard our rights and interests in the region," Liu said.
The project will collect and digitize information including hydrometeorological data, marine chemical data and geologic-environmental data of the South China Sea and its affiliated islands and coral reefs, said the China News Service report.
It added that a comprehensive digital database will be built, and a series of books will be published when the project is finished.
Liu noted that "the project can compile all of our previous work into a system, which will support further research in the South China Sea."
A total of 193 research fellows and more than 10 Chinese research institutes and universities will take part in the project.
This article, written by Leng Shumei, was originally published in the Global Times.