Monday, April 07, 2008

Scholarly publishing in China:

Ruoxi Li, of Chongqing Normal University in China, brought to our attention publishing activities in a country which has seen a rapid increase in STM research in the last ten years -
  • 405,000 STM papers published domestically in 2006
    • 172,000 included in SCI, EI, ISTP
  • 5,387 STM journals registered in China in 2005 - only the US produces more STM publications
Universities are changing focus from teaching to incorporate research - and the government has increased financial support.
  • nearly 1m graduate students in 2005, of which 191,300 PhD candidates
  • 160 key laboratories in universities invested in by Ministry of Education
A significant proportion of domestic Chinese journals are simply Journal of . They are all non-profit, supported financially by the University, and primarily publish papers from their own faculty and students (lack of submissions from elsewhere). Ruoxi Li comments that the publishing model is "out of date", with insufficient subject focus, decentralising information, decreasing its effect and wasting resources. The journals have low circulation (<500 per issue) and apart from a few top journals, impact is also low in comparison to specialised journals.

Despite the high levels of productivity by Chinese researchers, journals are struggling for high-quality content, as the better researchers are submitting content to non-domestic publications. Few of the journals have international editorial boards, peer review systems, sponsorship or other collaborations. But, the funding mechanisms have enabled journals to introduce Open Access which is helping to support exchange of ideas. Platforms have been set up to collate and organise pre-prints, in order to improve visibility of Chinese research. Some initiatives include Sciencepaper Online (sponsored by the Ministry of Education) which has 139,000 registered users and has published more than 17,000 papers (and gets more than 8,000 visits a day). is a federated search engine launched in January this year - and still in beta - to index OA papers from all over the web; the site aims to index 6 million papers by July.

At a turning point in Chinese publishing, such services will help to broaden the dissemination and increase the visibility of this vast reserve of research.


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