Improving the International Competitiveness of Chinese Academic Periodicals under the Background of Cultivating World-Class Scientific and Technological Periodicals
The China Science and Technology Association (hereinafter referred to as the Chinese Association for Science and Technology), the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Science and Technology jointly issued the Opinions on Deepening the Reform and Cultivation of World-Class Sci-tech Periodicals (hereinafter referred to as `` Opinions '' "), This is a programmatic document that implements the spirit of the Fifth Meeting of the Central Committee of Comprehensive and Deepening Reform and promotes the reform and development of Chinese sci-tech periodicals. The "Opinions" first emphasized the importance of sci-tech periodicals, and then divided into three parts and a total of 20 articles to explain how to deepen reforms, cultivate China's world-class sci-tech periodicals, and clearly put forward the goals of the two stages of China's world-class periodicals construction: the first stage It is the next 5 years, the number of sci-tech journals that have entered the world-class camp will increase significantly, and a sci-tech journal development system that is compatible with innovative countries will be formed; the second stage is that by 2035, the comprehensive strength of China's sci-tech journals will rank first in the world. Establish a group of internationally competitive brand periodicals and several publishing groups, and make substantial contributions to the construction of a strong country with science and technology.
In order to earnestly implement the Opinions, seven departments including the China Association for Science and Technology and the Ministry of Finance jointly issued the “Notice on Organizing and Implementing Relevant Projects for the Implementation of the Chinese Science and Technology Periodical Excellent Action Plan” (hereinafter referred to as the “Notice”) on September 18, 2019. Framework plan of the Chinese Science and Technology Periodicals Excellence Action Plan (2019-2023) to promote the high-quality development of Chinese science and technology periodicals. The "Notice" proposed a total of seven types of funding projects, including leading journals, key journals, echelon journals, high starting point new journals, and clustered pilot projects that adopt centralized application, sub-criticism, and joint deployment by seven departments; construction of international figures The publication service platform and the selection and selection of high-level talents for running journals adopt the methods of public bidding and purchase of services, which are implemented by the China Association for Science and Technology.
The "Opinions" and "Notices" very comprehensively and specifically put forward China's countermeasures and measures for cultivating world-class scientific and technological journals, and formulated a "timetable" and "roadmap" for China to build world-class scientific and technological journals. In fact, since the beginning of 2018, the Chinese Association for Science and Technology and other related departments have conducted a series of thematic research, organized expert seminars at different levels, conducted field surveys, and other methods to solicit suggestions, laying a lot of suggestions for scientific decision-making. solid foundation. The "Opinions" and "Notices" will surely have a very important guiding and promoting role in the development of Chinese sci-tech periodicals.
1 Background of the Opinion:
China's sci-tech journals lag seriously behind the development of scientific research
As pointed out at the beginning of the "Opinions", "China has become a major periodical country, but lacks influential world-class scientific and technological journals, and has obvious disadvantages in the global scientific and technological competition."
According to the statistics of the Ulrich International Serial Guide Database (an important reference material for subscribed journals in various countries or regions of the world), as of the end of 2018, there are about 42,000 scientific and technological journals being published worldwide. Among them, there are 11,321 types published by the United States, ranking first, accounting for 26.95% of the global total; followed by the United Kingdom (7329 types, 17.45%), and China ranking third, with 3493 types, accounting for 8.32% of the global total. In total, the sum of scientific journals in the United States and Britain accounts for nearly half (47.4%) of the world's journals.
Because Scopus, SCI and other internationally renowned journal databases select the journals included based on metrics such as expert review and frequency of citations, they can better reflect the academic influence of journals to a certain extent. Of the 24,516 types of journals that Scopus has collected from more than 5,000 publishing institutions in more than 120 countries or regions, the number of journals owned by the United States and the United Kingdom is far ahead of other countries, accounting for 24.98% and 23.22% of the total number of Scopus journals. The number one constitutes the first square matrix; the number of journals owned by the Netherlands and Germany accounts for 9.27% and 6.89% of the total, respectively, and is the second square matrix; Switzerland, China (excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions), France and other countries or regions The number of journals accounts for about 2% of the total, and can only be ranked in the third party. The countries and regions in which the number of journals included in the top 10 accounted for 77.33% of the total, showing the high concentration of high-impact journals in major countries. In the 2018 Annual Journal Citation Report (JCR) based on sci-tech journal citation statistics released by SCI, it also shows that the U.S. and U.K. first squares, the Netherlands and Germany second squares, Switzerland, China, France and other third parties Burst phenomenon. In addition, the national / regional concentration of sci-tech periodicals is more obvious. There are 7485 journals indexed by SCI in the first 10 countries or regions, accounting for 81.74% of the total journals indexed by JCR, and the national concentration is more significant.
Based on the overall strength of China's sci-tech periodicals and the construction goals of China's world-class sci-tech periodicals, the goal of “the number of sci-tech periodicals that has become a world-class camp significantly increased” in the next five years should be expected to be achieved. In 2035, the goal of "the comprehensive strength of Chinese sci-tech periodicals ranks first in the world" is a long way to go.
The current weak status of China's sci-tech periodicals is obviously not compatible with China's rapidly increasing scientific research competitiveness. Compared with the number of SCI papers published by China's first authors in 2018 (37,633,000 papers), which accounted for 18.13% of all SCI papers (2.0756 million papers), the proportion of scientific journals included in SCI in China is only about 2%. In fact, in recent years, Chinese sci-tech journals have been lagging behind China ’s increasing scientific research competitiveness and increasing paper output: from 2000 to 2018, the first author's SCI papers in mainland China rose from 22,600 to 376,300, of which The number of papers published in Chinese journals rose from 9,200 to 27,900, an average annual increase of about 1,000; the number of papers published in overseas journals increased from 13,400 to 34.84, an average annual increase of about 18,600. Correspondingly, the contribution rate of Chinese local journals to Chinese SCI papers also dropped from 40.7% in 2000 to 7.5% in 2018. In addition, although the number of journals and citations indexed by SCI in China has risen relatively rapidly in recent years, the average annual paper load of journals has continued to decline, indicating that the competitiveness of manuscript sources in Chinese science and technology journals may have declined in recent years. .
There have been many discussions about the deep-seated reasons why China's scientific and technological journals have lagged behind the development of China's scientific research competitiveness, mainly as follows:
(1) The operating mechanism is not flexible enough. At present, the management system of sci-tech periodicals in China is relatively complicated, and multiple levels of supervision, hosting, and publication restrict each other. As a result, the discipline positioning of most sci-tech periodicals in China is serious. Most journals still operate in the form of "small workshops" in the form of single journals, making it difficult to attract highly-competitive journalists. At the same time, sci-tech periodicals are not highly market-oriented, and it is difficult to break the boundaries of strong specialties such as supervisors, sponsors, and regions. The establishment and merger of new journals is difficult, and it is difficult to form intensive operations and economies of scale. It is difficult to effectively improve capacity.
(2) Lack of a world-class digital publishing and dissemination platform. With many years of operating experience and strong capital as the backing, major international journal publishing groups continue to innovate in clustering and platform operations, integrate academic resources globally, grow bigger and stronger, and continue to consolidate their competitive advantages. However, only a few scientific and technological journals in our country have realized digital fusion publishing and dissemination in the true sense. Information services and dissemination methods are far behind foreign counterparts, and they lack the ability to integrate academic resources on a global scale.
(3) SCI-oriented research evaluation has exacerbated the disadvantaged position of Chinese sci-tech journals in the competition of high-quality manuscript sources. In the past 30 years, quite a number of domestic scientific research units and even some scientific research departments have put too much emphasis on SCI in research evaluation, and indexed and quantified the number of SCI papers and impact factors into the evaluation system or scheme to a large extent. "Forcing" a large number of outstanding scientific and technological papers in China to be published abroad, making high-level manuscript sources for domestic sci-tech journals, especially Chinese sci-tech journals increasingly scarce, and many sci-tech journals are operating at a low level, falling into low academic influence and high quality The manuscript source lacks a "vicious circle" that is causal to each other.
2 Key tasks proposed in the Opinions:
Focus on the crux of the problem
The current stage of China's science and technology development and the level of comprehensive strength have determined that China's science and technology journals have the conditions to accelerate catch-up and take off. The promulgation of "Opinions" will definitely bring unprecedented development opportunities to China's sci-tech periodicals. Based on the in-depth analysis of the main factors restricting the development of sci-tech periodicals in China, the Opinions formulated a plan to fully promote the digitization, specialization, groupization, and internationalization of sci-tech periodicals in China from the top design level. Among the 14 measures in the "Key Tasks" in the second part of the "Opinions", not only are the optimization of the discipline layout (basic disciplines, advantageous disciplines, emerging cross-cutting and strategic frontiers), and enhanced classification management (academic journals, technical journals, science journals) There are special arrangements, and there are special measures for the aspects that are generally concerned by the sci-tech periodicals and restrict the rapid development of sci-tech periodicals in China.
(1) Journal management and operation mechanism. At present, due to the limitation of the operating mechanism in China's sci-tech periodicals, it is difficult to implement resource integration based on market-oriented development, thereby promoting the clustering and group development of periodicals. There are many measures in the "Opinions" that involve the issue of the operation of journals, which are worth the industry's expectation. For example: classified policies to enhance the vitality of the development of sci-tech periodicals (Article 8), establishment of a dynamic management mechanism for survival of the fittest (Article 9), establishment of competitive leadership, new mechanisms for open collaboration (Article 11), and promotion of the development of sci-tech periodicals grouping (Art. Article 12). Expanding cooperation channels for sci-tech periodicals (Article 16).
(2) Digital publishing and dissemination platform. At present, China lacks a world-class digital publishing and communication platform with its own brand. Periodicals go abroad mainly through cooperation with foreign publishing institutions, "borrowing ships to the sea". Most of the important research results are published abroad, and the full-text databases of important periodicals are basically abroad. In fact, the passive situation of academic resources "outside the two sides" has formed. . There are several measures in the Opinions related to the construction of digital platforms, such as the construction of a large data center for scientific and technical journal articles (Article 10), and the construction of a digital knowledge service publishing platform (Article 14).
(3) Positioning and development of Chinese periodicals. Chinese scientific and technological journals play an important role in academic communication and exchange in China, and important scientific research results published by Chinese journals also have high international influence. Tu Yi's representative results (artemisinin) that won the Nobel Prize were published in Chinese journals such as Science Bulletin (No. 3, 1977). At present, of the more than 560 journals indexed by Scopus, an internationally important comprehensive journal database, about 400 are Chinese journals. Chinese journals have also changed greatly compared to 40 years ago in terms of international visibility and dissemination. In addition, there are currently 4,447 Chinese sci-tech periodicals in China, accounting for 90.02% of the total number of 4,973. Therefore, how to improve the academic impact of Chinese sci-tech periodicals is a topic that many scientific researchers and journalists pay close attention to. The Opinions proposes “outstanding professional orientation, optimizing and improving Chinese sci-tech periodicals” (Article 6), and “promoting Chinese and foreign sci-tech periodicals. "Homogeneous equivalence" (Article 17) indicates that the development of Chinese journals will also be considered systematically.
(4) Editorial board and editorial team. The editor-in-chief, editorial board, and editors of the journals are the key factors for the construction of high-level scientific journals. Encourage scientists to participate in the work of the editorial board of domestic scientific and technological journals to improve the academic leading role of the journals; improving the innovation ability and internationalization and professionalism of the journal editing team is critical to improving the academic reputation and international competitiveness of journals, and it is also the majority of science and technology in China The "bottleneck" in journal development. Article 15 of the "Opinions" emphasizes the need to "improve the ability of sci-tech journals to converge global innovative ideas and first-rate talents", and states that to improve the academic leadership of journals and the attractiveness of high-level authors, various forms of strengthening editors are required. Team building, creating conditions to attract high-level international editorial board and management personnel, and enhance the core competitiveness of publishing and communication. These are extremely "good" for Chinese science and technology journals.
3 Thoughts on Improving the International Competitiveness of Chinese Academic Journals
For "world-class science and technology journals", there is no clear definition. Based on the existing viewpoints, this article defines world-class science and technology journals as "journals that truly publish cutting-edge research results and lead the development direction of science and technology and can be widely recognized by their peers in the field." Although the journal's impact factor, total citation frequency and other citation metrics can characterize the usefulness and influence of the journal to a certain extent, it cannot be used as a substitute for the academic reputation and credibility of the journal in the scientific community. It should be said that the 82 scientific and technological journals based on the natural index statistics recommended by more than 6,600 international first-class scientists can be regarded as a representative of "world-class scientific and technological journals" to a certain extent, and can be used as the construction of world-class journals in China. The direction of the overtaking in the calibration.
The "Opinions" focus on the crux of the development of sci-tech periodicals in China, and put forward specific measures in terms of optimizing the layout of disciplines, improving management levels, improving operational capabilities, and participating in international open cooperation. In addition, China's Sci-tech Periodicals Action Plan for Excellence and the Pilot Work of Publishing High-quality Sci-tech Periodicals in Different Sectors Has Arranged and Implemented Some of the Initiatives Proposed in the Opinions. The implementation methods and processes of these measures will, to a large extent, affect the progress and degree of high-quality development of sci-tech periodicals in China. The following aspects may be the problems that Chinese sci-tech periodicals need to overcome in the process of improving their own capabilities and international competitiveness.
(1) Institutional mechanism. Due to the special nature of the management system and mechanism of China's sci-tech periodicals, it is very difficult to substantively integrate multiple periodicals within the same host unit. It is even more difficult to extravagantly discuss the more popular internationally based market operation mechanism based on open competition. The journal model implements mergers and acquisitions that are guided by academic needs. Measures such as the establishment of a dynamic management mechanism for the survival of the fittest and promotion of the development of sci-tech journals in the "Opinions" may be restricted by the current regulations on the management of periodicals and require a "breakthrough" to a certain extent.
(2) The problem of cluster development. At present, there are a large number of small and medium-sized periodical publishing institutions in the world, as well as large periodical publishers. Elsevier, Springer Nature and other publishing institutions even have about 2400 journals (based on Scopus statistics). At present, China lacks a publishing organization that edits and publishes more than a hundred journals. It still needs to strengthen exploration in the creation and approval of new issues, the merger and reorganization of journals, and the division of labor between acquisition, editing, and distribution. Development.
(3) Competitiveness of high-quality manuscript sources in Chinese and English journals. In recent years, although the citation indexes such as the impact factors of Chinese and English scientific and technological journals have risen rapidly, the average annual number of papers published by the journals is generally low and continues to decline. Many journals with relatively high impact factors and journals founded in recent years There are only about 100 papers published in annual publications, which shows to a certain extent that the competitiveness of high-quality manuscript sources in Chinese sci-tech journals is still facing great challenges. On the one hand, the industry complains that it is too difficult to apply for a new issue, and on the other hand, most existing journals are under pressure from high-quality manuscript sources, and it is difficult to form a high degree of influence in the scientific community. In the construction of world-class journals, it is necessary to guide the "quality" and "quantity" of the papers published by the journals to rise in order to support the development of journals on a large scale.
(4) Digital publishing and dissemination platform. It is urgent to build a digital publishing and dissemination platform with high international influence and China's own brand. It can be considered that the current platform construction technology is relatively mature and the difficulty is relatively small, and the academic resources carried by the platform should be more important. Measures should be taken to integrate a certain number of high-level academic papers published on the platform and use the platform to achieve high-quality editing and publishing services and information dissemination, to fundamentally solve the "short board" problem of China's science and technology publishing and dissemination, and to change China's science and technology journals and Academic papers can only be passive.
(5) The problem of talent team. A professional journal team is a key element in building high-level scientific journals. On the one hand, scientists should be encouraged to actively participate in the editorial board work and manuscript review of domestic journals, and in the evaluation of scientific research, the editors and reviewers of scientific journals should be recognized and encouraged to create an atmosphere for scientific researchers to actively participate in running journals; We must attach great importance to the construction of a high-level and professional professional editing and publishing team, and improve the creative ability and internationalization and professionalism of the editing team through the establishment of a comprehensive professional editing team.
(6) Research on evaluation issues. The research evaluation system determines the development environment of China's sci-tech periodicals. If the results evaluation, personnel promotion, award evaluation, etc. cannot fundamentally solve the problem of simplifying and quantifying the "hero" with only SCI papers and impact factors, China The problem of high-quality manuscript source of sci-tech periodicals is difficult to be solved fundamentally. In the construction of world-class science and technology journals, we need to pay attention to the positioning and development of Chinese and English journals, and promote the homogeneous equivalence of Chinese and foreign scientific and technological journals to guide the submission of some important research results in China to be published in Chinese scientific and technological journals. A good atmosphere for sci-tech periodicals to compete for development.
We believe that under the planning and guidance of the highest decision-making levels of the party and the country, and under the guidance of the four departmental documents of the China Association for Science and Technology, the self-hosted capacity and international competitiveness of Chinese sci-tech periodicals will be rapidly improved. The development of sci-tech journals will also start a new era. With the implementation of various measures in the "Opinions", China's sci-tech periodicals' self-hosting capacity and international competitiveness will be rapidly improved, and China's goal of moving from a sci-tech periodical country to a periodical country will certainly be achieved.
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