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

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

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

Published/Released on March 03, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 8, 2020 / , , , , ,

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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.

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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