New Chinese Policy Could Reshape Global STM Publishing – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Over the past month, my Chinese social media feeds have been flooded with news, discussions, and research papers about the COVID-19 virus. But earlier this week, all my contacts in the academic community were discussing two government documents.

The first one is called “Some Suggestions on Standardizing the Use of SCI Paper Indexes in Higher Educational Institutes and Establishing Correct Evaluation Orientation”, and the second one is “Some Measures to Eliminate the Bad Orientation of “Papers Only” in Science and Technology Evaluation (Trial)”. Essentially these two documents mark an effort to largely reform the research and higher education evaluation systems in China. The first document is a set of guidelines and the second, marked as a “trial”, contains many detailed regulations. Here are the key takeaways from these policy documents, which could  potentially shift the landscape of global STM publishing, since China is now the world’s largest producer of scientific articles….

Currently, researchers, research teams, and organizations are required to supply lists of papers published in their applications for government grants and their reports on the results of those grants. Research papers have been a primary measuring stick used to determine funding and career advancement. Key considerations have been the quantity of papers produced, publishing those papers in journals listed in the Science Citation Index (SCI), and publishing in journals with high Journal Impact Factor (JIF) scores. Institutions in China have tailored their practices to meet these criteria, putting pressure on researchers to publish as many papers as possible.

The new policy states that publication of papers will only be used as a main evaluation indicator for basic science and technology research, and not for applied research and technological development. This removes the publication burden from clinicians and engineers and others working in more applied areas.

For the basic researchers, a “representative works” system will be used. Under this system, only a limited number of a researcher’s or an institution’s most important papers count. No less than one third of the representative papers must be published in domestic Chinese journals. The quantity of papers published and the JIFs of the journals that the representative works appear in are not going to be used as a measurement for performance or research ability….”

New Chinese Policy Could Reshape Global STM Publishing – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Over the past month, my Chinese social media feeds have been flooded with news, discussions, and research papers about the COVID-19 virus. But earlier this week, all my contacts in the academic community were discussing two government documents.

The first one is called “Some Suggestions on Standardizing the Use of SCI Paper Indexes in Higher Educational Institutes and Establishing Correct Evaluation Orientation”, and the second one is “Some Measures to Eliminate the Bad Orientation of “Papers Only” in Science and Technology Evaluation (Trial)”. Essentially these two documents mark an effort to largely reform the research and higher education evaluation systems in China. The first document is a set of guidelines and the second, marked as a “trial”, contains many detailed regulations. Here are the key takeaways from these policy documents, which could  potentially shift the landscape of global STM publishing, since China is now the world’s largest producer of scientific articles….

Currently, researchers, research teams, and organizations are required to supply lists of papers published in their applications for government grants and their reports on the results of those grants. Research papers have been a primary measuring stick used to determine funding and career advancement. Key considerations have been the quantity of papers produced, publishing those papers in journals listed in the Science Citation Index (SCI), and publishing in journals with high Journal Impact Factor (JIF) scores. Institutions in China have tailored their practices to meet these criteria, putting pressure on researchers to publish as many papers as possible.

The new policy states that publication of papers will only be used as a main evaluation indicator for basic science and technology research, and not for applied research and technological development. This removes the publication burden from clinicians and engineers and others working in more applied areas.

For the basic researchers, a “representative works” system will be used. Under this system, only a limited number of a researcher’s or an institution’s most important papers count. No less than one third of the representative papers must be published in domestic Chinese journals. The quantity of papers published and the JIFs of the journals that the representative works appear in are not going to be used as a measurement for performance or research ability….”

China bans cash rewards for publishing papers

“Chinese institutions have been told to stop paying researchers bonuses for publishing in journals, as part of a new national policy to cut perverse incentives that encourage scientists to publish lots of papers rather than focus on high-impact work.

In an order released last week, China’s science and education ministries also say that institutions must not promote or recruit researchers solely on the basis of the number of papers they publish, or their citations. Researchers are welcoming the policy, but say that it could reduce the country’s competitiveness in science.

In China, one of the main indicators currently used to evaluate researchers, allocate funding and rank institutions is metrics collected by the Science Citation Index (SCI), a database of articles and citation records for more than 9,000 journals. Since 2009, articles in these journals written by authors from Chinese institutions increased from some 120,000 a year to 450,000 in 2019. Some institutions even pay researchers bonuses for publishing in them….”

China bans cash rewards for publishing papers

“Chinese institutions have been told to stop paying researchers bonuses for publishing in journals, as part of a new national policy to cut perverse incentives that encourage scientists to publish lots of papers rather than focus on high-impact work.

In an order released last week, China’s science and education ministries also say that institutions must not promote or recruit researchers solely on the basis of the number of papers they publish, or their citations. Researchers are welcoming the policy, but say that it could reduce the country’s competitiveness in science.

In China, one of the main indicators currently used to evaluate researchers, allocate funding and rank institutions is metrics collected by the Science Citation Index (SCI), a database of articles and citation records for more than 9,000 journals. Since 2009, articles in these journals written by authors from Chinese institutions increased from some 120,000 a year to 450,000 in 2019. Some institutions even pay researchers bonuses for publishing in them….”

Cited papers outdated way to evaluate researchers – Opinion – Chinadaily.com.cn

“The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science and Technology have called for a more comprehensive evaluation system for science researchers, and specifically require universities and colleges to cancel direct bonuses for those who publish essays in Scientific Citation Index (SCI) journals.

That’s a good move. In those top domestic universities, including the University of Science and Technology of China where I serve, the number of papers published in SCI journals has long lost importance. The top universities are more concerned with innovation and making breakthroughs.

The phenomenon of “SCI worship” exists more in the other universities, and the new guidance document is a good opportunity for them to improve. With the performance evaluation system changed, researchers serving in these universities will be encouraged to concentrate more on long-term studies instead of short-term papers….”

Cited papers outdated way to evaluate researchers – Opinion – Chinadaily.com.cn

“The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science and Technology have called for a more comprehensive evaluation system for science researchers, and specifically require universities and colleges to cancel direct bonuses for those who publish essays in Scientific Citation Index (SCI) journals.

That’s a good move. In those top domestic universities, including the University of Science and Technology of China where I serve, the number of papers published in SCI journals has long lost importance. The top universities are more concerned with innovation and making breakthroughs.

The phenomenon of “SCI worship” exists more in the other universities, and the new guidance document is a good opportunity for them to improve. With the performance evaluation system changed, researchers serving in these universities will be encouraged to concentrate more on long-term studies instead of short-term papers….”

What to Expect in the Publishing World in 2020 – Against the Grain

“Earlier this month, a rumor began to circulate that the US government was planning on passing an executive order that would mandate all papers from federally funded research be open access immediately upon publication—abolishing the 12-month paywall allowed under current rules.

In response, more than 135 scientific societies and academic publishers penned an open letter to President Donald Trump’s Administration strongly opposing such a policy, warning that the proposed changes would “jeopardize the intellectual property of American organizations engaged in the creation of high-quality peer-reviewed journals and research articles and would potentially delay the publication of new research results.” The letter has been widely criticized by academics and open-access advocates on social media….

Although the [Plan S] coalition has managed to gain some international members, the overall response to Plan S has been lukewarm outside of Europe. India’s government, for example, decided to forgo joining the coalition and develop its own national effort to advance open access, despite earlier indications that it would be joining the group. In Latin America, where Argentina has joined cOAlition S, academics have raised concerns about the initiative’s focus on pay-for-publishing models. One worry is that if funders or universities are required to cover fees for publishing open access in commercial journals, financial resources could be diverted from their current system, under which journals are free to publish in and free to read—and scientific publications are owned by academic institutions….”

Sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak | Wellcome

“The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China (2019-nCoV) represents a significant and urgent threat to global health.

We call on researchers, journals and funders to ensure that research findings and data relevant to this outbreak are shared rapidly and openly to inform the public health response and help save lives.

We affirm the commitment to the principles set out in the 2016 Statement on data sharing in public health emergencies, and will seek to ensure that the World Health Organization (WHO) has rapid access to emerging findings that could aid the global response.

Specifically, we commit to work together to help ensure:

all peer-reviewed research publications relevant to the outbreak are made immediately open access, or freely available at least for the duration of the outbreak
research findings relevant to the outbreak are shared immediately with the WHO upon journal submission, by the journal and with author knowledge
research findings are made available via preprint servers before journal publication, or via platforms that make papers openly accessible before peer review, with clear statements regarding the availability of underlying data
researchers share interim and final research data relating to the outbreak, together with protocols and standards used to collect the data, as rapidly and widely as possible – including with public health and research communities and the WHO
authors are clear that data or preprints shared ahead of submission will not pre-empt its publication in these journals…”

The Kitchen at the APE: Five Chefs Share Takeaways from the 2020 Academic Publishing in Europe Conference – The Scholarly Kitchen

From Anne Michael: “In the few years that I have been attending APE it has not failed to bring together people with varying opinions and perspectives that are not afraid to share them. While that was true to some extent this year, there was also a noticeable change in tenor. In many ways commercial publishers were singing a very similar tune, all in support of Open Access.

This was certainly the case during the session on Driving Research Data. The panelists included Grace Baynes from Springer Nature, Chris Graf from Wiley, Joris van Rossum representing the STM Association, and Niamh O’Connor from PLOS, and it was chaired by Eefke Smit….

[M]y view is that publishers cannot afford NOT to pursue research data, since it is a crucial part of the research process and scholarly communication overall. As Roger pointed out, much more precisely than I did, it’s also a matter of determining what business you’re in. And, I would add, what impact you hope to have.

There’s an infamous story about the failure of the American Locomotive Company (ALCo), one of the 200 largest companies in the US in 1945. It was so wedded to steam locomotion that it had great difficulty evolving to support the growth of diesel locomotives. It was a steam locomotive producer culturally, not a transportation provider!…”