At the end of September, at the 15th China Science and Technology Periodicals Development Forum held by Hangzhou West Lake, some experts suggested that in view of the serious problem of losing good domestic papers and foreign academic journals, future exploration will publish the papers in domestic academic journals as an assessment indicator (whether it is Chinese and English academic journals). As soon as the words fell, there was a warm applause and cheers from the audience. Most of the participants in this forum are the publishers or editors of domestic academic journals. In recent years, due to the strong competition from large foreign academic journal groups, domestic academic journals are in a clearly weak position, and a lot of grievances have been buried in their hearts. At this moment seemed to raise his eyebrows and exhaled. About 300,000 English-language academic papers are published in China each year, and more than 90% of them are published in foreign academic journals. Facing the outflow of outstanding scientific research papers, although the participating experts were dissatisfied, they were helpless, because domestic academic journals were small and scattered, and their influence was not enough, not even their own. Before the forum was held on September 19, 7 departments including the China Association for Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Science and Technology jointly issued the Implementation Plan for the Action Plan for Excellence in Chinese Sci-tech Journals, which aims to create a world-class journal from China Its funding is unprecedented. The enthusiasm of the attendees at the forum seemed to be on the way to becoming a world-class academic journal. However, there are several major mountains between ideal and reality. The future is still full of unknown and uncertain factors.
1 Difficulties in the development of Chinese academic journals. Around the 1990s, multinational publishing groups entered China one after another and regarded China as the "last shareable cake." The academic journals owned by these publishing groups basically came to China at this time as guests. At that time, the probability of domestic scholars publishing papers in top journals (high-level journals represented by CNS) was almost zero. More than 20 years have passed. As China continues to increase investment in basic research, the situation has changed dramatically. The number of published Chinese academic papers ranks second in the world, and it is growing rapidly by an annual increase of more than 10%, only in 2018. In one year, China has published more than 100 papers in top academic journals, becoming one of the countries that contribute the most high-level papers. However, the well-known academic journals and publishing groups that were invited to China at that time have now become "wolves". They are super players in the domestic academic paper publishing market. They are in this broad market, leaving room for the development of domestic Chinese academic journals. Very limited.
In 2004, at the first journal development forum, the "reflection" of domestic journal practitioners, the pictures were taken from People's Daily. In fact, the development difficulties of Chinese academic journals were pointed out by domestic experts very early. 15 years ago. That is, at the first journal development forum in 2004, some experts pointed out that "intensive management" and "group management" of academic journals are the road to future development. An article on "People's Network" recorded the suggestion at the time, "China's sci-tech periodicals urgently need to get out of the constraints of the system, concentrate their strengths, and take the road of internationalization to realize the new glory of sci-tech periodicals."
However, 15 years have passed, and we seem to stagnate in continually reflecting on the problems in Chinese academic journals, with few reforms.
At present, there are about 5,000 academic journals in China, most of which are Chinese journals. There are about 300 academic journals in English. There are only about 200 journals selected for SCI. There are about 9,000 journals for SCI in the world, accounting for only 2%. Every year, Chinese scholars contribute about 20% of academic papers to the world.
In fact, China's academic journals are not only small in scale but also scattered. At present, the more influential academic publishing clusters in China include Zhejiang University Press, Shanghai University Press, and Tsinghua University Press. However, compared with multinational publishing groups, the academic journal clusters and scales of these three publishing houses are still very small. These large academic publishing houses only have more than 10 to 20 academic journals.
Chinese journals may face more problems than English journals in China. "At that time, we did not have enough academic journals or large journal publishing institutions. Some domestic units took the initiative to run some Chinese journals to meet the needs of academic exchanges. This was also the objective situation of scattered journals at that time." Wang Xiaofeng, chief editor of China Laser Magazine, told the author, but with the development of the times, these journals have not made corresponding changes.
The influence of domestic academic journals is also limited. According to statistics from a dissertation in 2018, the number of Chinese academic journals increased from 7 at the beginning of the founding of the People's Republic of China to more than 8,000 in 2013, which is already considerable in number. However, 85% of journals have an average impact factor below 1.
Although several high-impact journals have appeared in China in recent years, they are basically the products of “borrowing the sea”. For example, National Science Review cooperates with Oxford University Publishing Group, Cell Research and Nano Research cooperate with Springer Nature, and They are all fairly small. What would be the impact without these "big ships"? It's hard to judge.
This model has won the favor of many domestic English periodicals. At present, about 75% of domestic English scientific and technological journals adopt the strategy of “borrowing ships to go to sea” and enhance their international influence through cooperation with large international publishing groups. In this kind of cooperation, multinational publishing groups ask Chinese academic journals for expensive “ship ticket fees”, that is, cooperation costs, and many multinational publishing groups use this as a revenue growth point.
Why is China determined to create a first-class academic publishing platform? Some scholars have pointed out that this is because they are not purely academic platforms, but the key to "mastering the right to speak on academic innovation".
Despite the rapid growth of domestic academic journals in recent years, its international academic discourse power is still negligible.
2 Chinese academic journals usher in the biggest benefit in history?
Things may change today.
From the Opinions on Deepening the Reform and Cultivation of World-Class Scientific and Technological Journals in 2018 to the Recent Implementation Plan of the Chinese Science and Technology Journals Excellence Action Plan jointly issued by 7 departments including the China Association for Science and Technology, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science and Technology Relevant domestic departments are determined to build first-class academic journals.
"I think the changes in the past few years have been very great. From the academic community to the relevant management departments, this matter has been taken very seriously, and some research and investment have been carried out, especially for English journals. The international influence promotion plan of scientific journals has significantly accelerated China The development of English periodicals has led to a number of high-level English periodicals. At the same time, many original periodicals have also developed rapidly through project funding. "Wang Xiaofeng said.
The Excellence Action Program is funding more. This program "is designed to strengthen top-level design, build a support system, and focus on priority areas" to create a domestic first-class academic journal. The scheme has designed 7 sub-projects, involving a total of about 300 projects, and rolling funding in a 5-year cycle, with each project ranging from 500,000 to 6 million in annual funding.
In addition to national-level policies to vigorously support domestic academic journals, some regions have also introduced policies to strongly support the development of academic journals. For example, Shanghai has introduced a "University Academic Journal Support Plan" to promote the classification and development of academic journals in different types of colleges and comprehensively improve Shanghai academic journals. The overall level.
At present, a few domestic publishing institutions have initially established their own English publishing platforms. For example, China Laser Magazine, the organization where Wang Xiaofeng is located, recently established CLP Publishing. This platform integrates most of the English optical journals in China. Internationalization is a step forward.
In recent years, the development of artificial intelligence has ushered in a wave, and China has also gathered a large number of talents in this field. If artificial intelligence is applied to a new type of paper publishing platform, it will help the journal's influence and user experience. In addition, there are many domestic talents with international vision and publishing concepts.
In short, the launch of this outstanding action plan will be a good opportunity for historical development of domestic academic journals.
3 The "road to the sea" may not depend on funds alone, but industry experts have questioned this approach. "There is no other country in the world that has invested as much in academic journals as China," said an executive from a multinational publishing services group.
At present, several super players in this field have gradually grown up in the sword and sword of the market for a long time, to the world, to China. Is it more effective to use domestic funds to support domestic academic journals, or to remove the restrictions on academic publishing supervision, liberalize the market, and compete freely? Many practitioners already have the answer.
The status quo in the field of academic publishing in China is that, on the one hand, it is ambitious plans, and on the other hand it is difficult realities, such as the issues of establishment, treatment and brain drain.
At the forum, a well-known university headmaster in China stated that it would further reduce the compilation of school journals. In his opinion, one person is sufficient for the daily editing of the entire school journal. Many domestic journals are often kicked by competent authorities. They are a marginalized department.
"As far as I know, many domestic journals are fighting alone, and even several journals of one unit are each dedicated to their own. If the system and mechanism have not changed, this may be the case in ten years." The fact is The joint implementation of clustered journals by similar journals, or the establishment of high-level journal alliances across disciplines, will also help the rapid development of Chinese science and technology journals. "
In addition, the salary of editors of domestic journals and magazines is generally relatively low. Although they have ideals and convictions, in reality they often fight alone, helplessly, and enthusiastically empty. If you work in a multinational academic publishing group, you not only have better treatment, working environment, and development space, you can also learn more industry knowledge and international experience through cooperation between different departments, which also causes domestic academic journals to stay Live excellent talent.
It can be seen that if China wants to make a breakthrough in the field of academic publishing, it may not only need huge financial incentives, but also need to break the inherent system and make changes.
A few years ago, domestic research on new drugs was an area that all parties dared not touch easily. In recent years, the State Drug Administration and relevant departments have made drastic reforms to eliminate backward enterprises, integrate into international competition, introduce world standards, and basically create an environment for research and development of innovative drugs. A number of entrepreneurial talents and innovative companies have emerged in China's new drug research and development field. If domestic academic journals can make bold reforms, they may have a promising future.
4 Who is the spark of Chinese academic publishing? Recently, the author chatted with Qi Kan (pseudonym), a publishing colleague of a domestic entrepreneurial company. He has been engaged in academic publishing for more than 10 years, and is pessimistic about the status of domestic academic publishing. In his opinion, from the perspective of the academic publishing concept, China is far from its European and American counterparts, not to mention the landing of the project, such as open access, preprints, and post-publishing comments. Is following the example of foreign countries.
In 2018, Qi Kan represented an unknown foreign platform, but an avant-garde publishing platform. Due to its limited influence, in the past year, the number of domestic scholars who contributed to the platform was only single digits, but he did not give up, seizing every opportunity to let the contributors better understand the platform.
In my opinion, although their power is small and rarely receives support from official projects, it relies on its own market operation and always pays attention to the needs of scientists. Maybe it will be the spark of domestic academic publishing in the future.
From another perspective, there are not a few young people working in the field of domestic academic publishing like Qi Kan. Many people have worked and trained in multinational publishing groups for many years, and they already have a considerable international perspective. If there is proper soil and space, Show it, the future development is immeasurable.
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