National Communication Center for Science and Technology CAST / News

Nation to bolster scientific publishing

By Zhang Zhihao |  China Daily |  Updated:2020-10-24

More influence

"This will allow China to have a greater say in scientific development and evaluation, thus transforming the nation into a key hub for global academic exchanges,"Lyu said.

China had a total of 4,958 scientific journals in circulation by the end of last year, 89 percent of which were published in Chinese, according to the 2020 blue book released last month on the development of the nation's scientific journals.

Of those scientific journals, 1,556 were for basic sciences, 1,135 for medical sciences, and 2,267 for technological sciences. Some of China's most prestigious journals included Cell Research, National Science Review, and Light: Science & Applications, with impact factors last year of 20.5, 16.7 and 13.7, respectively.

Impact factor is an index that shows the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year. It is a commonly used indicator to measure the importance and prestige of a journal.

But a notable gap was evident when these Chinese journals are compared to some of the world's best, such as Nature, Science and Cell, which had impact factors last year of 42.8, 41.8 and 38.6, respectively.

China also is significantly behind other scientific publishing powerhouses, such as the United States and United Kingdom, both in the number of journals and their prestige. Last year, the US had 1,029 journals and the UK had 731 journals in the top 25 percent of journals in their field, according to global analytical firm Clarivate Analytics. China had only 81.

Yuan Yaxiang, president of the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, said the internationalization of Chinese scientific journals is key for improving the nation's scientific soft power, but that is an arduous task.

The biggest challenge is the large outflow of high-quality Chinese research papers to foreign journals, he said. "How can we convince foreign peers to publish in China's scientific journals if our journals can't even host the best work by Chinese authors."

Yuan said having a prestigious, capable and internationalized editorial board is imperative for a journal's success, but Chinese journals should also uphold their own identity and provide more unique features and services, such as encouraging top Chinese universities to publish their best work in their own journals.

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