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(China) How China’s New Policy May Change Researchers’ Publishing Behavior – Scholarly Kitchen (Dr. Jie Xu | March 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on March 8, 2020
 

Editor’s Note:  Today’s post is by Dr Jie Xu, a professor at the School of Information Management, Wuhan University of China. She is also a Senior Academic Associate of CIBER Research Ltd. Her research interests are scholarly communication and information behavior. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Jie has not been able to return to her school (which sits in the heart of Wuhan) for nearly two months. In that time she has become accustomed to teaching online in a virtual classroom.

Last week, China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Education announced two policy documents which triggered wide discussion among researchers across the country. According to these documents, the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) and Science Citation Index (SCI) should not be used as the most important criteria when recruiting and promoting personnel. Universities and research institutes are not allowed to provide monetary incentives for publishing in SCI-indexed journals. SCI-related metrics are prohibited from being used for university or discipline rankings.

China is to be congratulated for this bold and important move.  This great article highlights a practical way forward from our horrible JIF ridden system.

Chinese researchers were not surprised at the release of the new policies. The year 2016 marked the beginning of a series of reforms in China around research evaluation. In that year, President Xi Jinping announced a reform of the personnel system in universities and research institutions during the 29th Meeting of the Central Leading Team for Comprehensively Deepening Reform. He said that evaluation of professional titles should not be based on publications only. Since then, a series of new policy documents on metric-driven scholarly systems were released. Government at all levels, universities, institutions, and public funders have made great efforts to reverse the ‘SCI-supremacy’ phenomenon which has been intensively criticized for its negative influence on boosting inferior quality paper production, making researchers slaves of metrics, and leading to research misconduct in the past two decades.
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2016 also marked a milestone when China’s total number of researchers and scholarly articles published surpassed that of the USA, making it the largest source of published research in the world. And in 2017, the total citation of papers authored by Chinese researchers ranked second in the world. China is ahead of the schedule set by the “Guidelines for the Middle- and Long-Term National Science and Technology Development Program (2006-2020)”. In this program, a goal was set for China to rank as one of the top five most-cited countries. With these goals achieved, new strategies needed to be put in place for further progress.
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(China) China bans cash rewards for publishing papers – Nature (Smriti Mallapaty | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on March 8, 2020
 

New policy tackles perverse incentives that drive ‘publish or perish’ culture and might be encouraging questionable research practices.

Chinese institutions have been told to stop paying researchers bonuses for publishing in journals, as part of a new national policy to cut perverse incentives that encourage scientists to publish lots of papers rather than focus on high-impact work.

With this move, China takes the lead in research integrity, in a way we hope reverberates around the globe.

In an order released last week, China’s science and education ministries also say that institutions must not promote or recruit researchers solely on the basis of the number of papers they publish, or their citations. Researchers are welcoming the policy, but say that it could reduce the country’s competitiveness in science.
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In China, one of the main indicators currently used to evaluate researchers, allocate funding and rank institutions is metrics collected by the Science Citation Index (SCI), a database of articles and citation records for more than 9,000 journals. Since 2009, articles in these journals written by authors from Chinese institutions increased from some 120,000 a year to 450,000 in 2019. Some institutions even pay researchers bonuses for publishing in them.
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Female researchers in Australia less likely to win major medical grants than males – Nature (Bianca Nogrady | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 7, 2020
 

The results come despite a gender equity push at the National Health and Medical Research Council.

We have seen this trend in our involvement in grant processes. The superficial analysis of the outcome clearly does not look good for the treatment of women however, the major disparity is people aged over 50. Many of the senior level people were in their late 60s or early 70s in some instances. This illustrates that when they were becoming researchers, in the 1960s and 1970s, there were fewer women entering sciences. This is clearly not the case for those coming through, since and this trend (in terms of gender) will disappear in the next 5-10 years. There are other structural trends and apparent biases that require the collection of more data and need closer reflection.

Female scientists in Australia were less likely to win a major type of medical-research grants this year than their male counterparts, despite an overhaul of the country’s science funding that was supposed to address gender inequity.
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The funding imbalance occurred in the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) ‘investigator grants’, which were first awarded to individuals in late August, and was particularly severe at senior levels. Only 29.4% of senior women (5 out of 17) who applied for a grant were successful, compared with 49.3% (37 out of 75) male applicants who had the same level of experience.
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“We’re putting millions of dollars into programmes and time and effort to maintain women in STEM, but then we only fund five [senior women]. It’s a poor message,” says Marguerite Evans-Galea, a molecular biologist in Melbourne and the co-founder of the non-profit association Women in STEMM Australia.
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The results were released on the NHMRC’s website. Grant application success rates were more closely matched between men and women at the early- and mid-career stages, with the big discrepancy appearing for senior leaders (see ‘Who gets the grants?’). But overall, success rates were higher for men than for women (14.9% versus 11.3%), reflecting a consistent pattern in the agency’s funding outcomes since 2001. Men also received more money in total this year, partly because they won more grants than women.
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(Taiwan) Researcher formerly of OSU and Taiwan’s Academia Sinica gets 10-year ban – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on March 6, 2020
 

After a 20-month investigation, Taiwan’s leading science institution has hit a former star cancer researcher with a 10-year ban for research misconduct.

Troubling news from Taiwan shows not even high flyers can evade the consequences if they are caught cheating.

Academia Sinica (AS) said its inquiry found that Ching-shih Chen, formerly a distinguished research fellow at the center, was guilty of fabricating or falsifying data in several of the nearly two dozen papers he’d published while affiliated with the institution from 2014 to 2018. AS said Chen was being directed to retract one of the affected papers and correct three others.
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A 2018 article in the Taipei Times quoted an AS official, Henry Sun, saying that Chen, who resigned his post there that year, admitted that his staff had “beautified” his results and that he kept loose reins over this lab.
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