, Volume 79, Issue 3, pp 593–621 | Cite as

Is China also becoming a giant in social sciences?

  • Ping Zhou
  • Bart Thijs
  • Wolfgang Glänzel


At present China is challenging the leading sciento-economic powers and evolving to one of the world’s largest potentials in science and technology. Jointly with other emerging economies, China has already changed the balance of power among the formerly leading nations as measured by scientific production.

In the present paper, the evolution of China’s publication activity and citation impact in the social sciences is studied for the period 1997–2006. Besides the comparative analysis of trends in publication and citation patterns and of national publication profiles, an attempt is made to interpret the results in both the regional and global context.


Citation Rate Citation Impact Social Science Citation Index Science Citation Index Expand Bibliographic Coupling 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. BBC (2004), Japan’s internet ’suicide clubs’. Available at:
  2. Beaver, D. De B. (2001), Reflections on scientific collaborations (and its study): Past, present and prospective, Scientometrics, 52: 365–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Braun, T., Glänzel, W., Schubert, A. (1985), Scientometric Indicators. A32 Country Comparison of Publication Productivity and Citation Impact. World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., Singapore Philadelphia 1985, 424 pp.Google Scholar
  4. Braun, T., Glänzel, W. (1996), International collaboration: Will it be keeping alive East European research? Scientometrics, 36(2): 147–254.Google Scholar
  5. Bourke, P., Butler, L., Biglia, B. (1996), Monitoring Research in the Periphery: Australia and the ISI Indices, Research Evaluation and Policy Project, Monograph Series No. 3.Google Scholar
  6. Butler, L., (2003), How do we value and measure academic research publications? Paper presented at the conference Death of the Book?: Challenges and Opportunities for Scholarly Publishing organised by the National Scholarly Communications in Sydney on 7–8 March 2003.Google Scholar
  7. Cheng, Q., (2004). 中国社会科学发展的历史特点 (The historical characteristics of the development of Chinese social sciences), 学术前沿 Academic Frontiers, (3): 5–10.Google Scholar
  8. Cronin, B., Shaw, D., La Barre, K. (2003), A cast of thousands: Co-authorship and subauthorship collaboration in the twentieth century as manifested in the scholarly literature of psychology and philosophy, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 54: 855–871.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Delamont, S. (1989), Citation and social mobility research: self-defeating behaviour, Sociological Review, 37(2): 332–337.Google Scholar
  10. Dong, Jq. (1999), The development of Chinese social sciences. In: Review and Forecast: Chinese Social Sciences in the 21st Century (中国社会科学的形成和发展. 回顾与展望: 面向21世纪的中国社会科学), Publishing House of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.Google Scholar
  11. Frame, J. D. (1977), Mainstream research in Latin America and the Caribbean, Interciencia, 2: 143–148.Google Scholar
  12. Glänzel, W. (1996), A bibliometric approach to social sciences. National research performances in 6 selected social science areas, 1990–1992, Scientometrics, 35(3): 291–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Glänzel, W., Czerwon, H. J. (1996), A new methodological approach to bibliographic coupling and its application to the national, regional and institutional level, Scientometrics, 37(2): 195–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Glänzel, W. (1997), On the reliability of predictions based on stochastic citation processes, Scientometrics, 40(3): 481–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Glänzel, W., Schoepflin, U. (1999), A bibliometric study of reference literature in the sciences and social sciences, Information Processing and Management, 35: 31–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Glänzel, W. (2001), National characteristics in international scientific co-authorship, Scientometrics, 51(1): 69–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Glänzel, W., Schubert, A. (2004), Analyzing scientific networks through co-authorship. In: H. F. M. Moed, W. Glänzel, U. Schmoch (Eds), Handbook of Quantitative science and Technology Research. The Use of Publication and Patent Statistics in Studies on S&T Systems. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 257–276.Google Scholar
  18. Glänzel, W., Debackere, K. (2005), Research insights into the use of bibliometric indicators for social sciences and humanities. Paper presented at the Symposium on “Bibliometrics in the Humanities”, Brussels, Belgium, 26 January 2005.Google Scholar
  19. Glänzel, W., Schlemmer, B, Schubert, A., Thijs, B. (2006), Proceedings literature as additional data source for bibliometric analysis, Scientometrics, 68(3): 457–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Glänzel, W., Debackere, K., Meyer, M. (2008), ’Triad’ or ‘Tetrad’? On global changes in a dynamic world, Scientometrics, 74(1): 59–76.Google Scholar
  21. Glänzel, W., Schlemmer, B. (2007), National research profiles in the changing Europe (1983–2003). An exploratory study on sectoral characteristics in the Triple Helix, Scientometrics, 70(2): 267–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Godin, B. (2002), The Social Sciences in Canada: What Can We Learn from Bibliometrics? Project on the Measurement of the Social Sciences, Working Paper no. 1.Google Scholar
  23. Hicks, D. (1999), The difficulty of achieving full coverage of international social science literature and the bibliometric consequences, Scientometrics, 44(2): 193–215.CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  24. Hicks, D. (2004), The four literatures of social science. In: Moed, H. F., Glänzel, W., Schmoch, U. (Eds), Handbook of Quantitative Science and Technology Research. The Use of Publication and Patent Statistics in Studies of S&T Systems. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 473–496.Google Scholar
  25. ISTIC (2006), 年度中国科技论文统计结果 (Statistic results of Chinese science and technology publications in 2005).Google Scholar
  26. Jiang, Y.H. (2005), 中国社会科学百年论纲 (An overview on the development of Chinese social sciences in the past 100 years), 学术月刊 Academic Monthly, (8): 5–10.Google Scholar
  27. Jin, B.-H., Rousseau, R. (2005), Evaluation of research performance and scientometric indicators in China. In: Moed, H. F., Glänzel, W., Schmoch, U. (Eds), Handbook of Quantitative Science and Technology Research — The Use of Publication and Patent Statistics in Studies of S&T Systems. Springer, Netherlands.Google Scholar
  28. Katz, J. S., Martin, B. R. (1997), What is research collaboration?, Research Policy, 26: 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Katz, J. S. (1999), Bibliometric Indicators and the Social Sciences, ESRC Report.Google Scholar
  30. Kyvik, S. (1988), Internationality of the social sciences: the Norwegian case, International Social Science Journal, 163–172.Google Scholar
  31. Leclerc, M., Gagne, J. (1997), International scientific cooperation-the continentalization of science, Scientometrics, 31: 253–263.Google Scholar
  32. Leydesdorff, L., Wagner, C. (2007), Is the United States losing ground in science? A global perspective on the world science system, In: D. Torres-Salinas, H. Moed (Eds), Proceedings of the 11th International Conference of Scientometrics and Informetrics, Vol. 1, pp. 499–507, CSIC, Madrid, 21–25 June 2007.Google Scholar
  33. MOE (2007a), (2006年全国教育事业发展统计公报) The Statistic Bulletin on the Development of Education in 2006. Available at:
  34. MOE (2007b), 普通高等学校人文、 社会科学研究与发展经费情况 (Humanities and social sciences R & D expenditure in regular HEIs). Available at:
  35. MOE (2007c), 普通高等学校人文、 社会科学人力情况 (Professional manpower in regular HEIs in the fields of the humanities and social science). Available at:
  36. Moed, H. F., De Bruin, R.E., Van Leeuwen, Th. N. (1995), New bibliometric tools for the assessment of national research performance: database description, overview of indicatiors and first applications, Scientometrics, 33: 381–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Moed, H. F. (2002), Measuring China’s research performance using the Science Citation Index, Scientometrics, 53(3): 281–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Moed, H. F., (2005), Citation Analysis in Research Evaluation. Springer, The Netherlands, 147–152.Google Scholar
  39. Nederhof, A. J., Zwaan, R. A. (1991), Quality judgments of journals as indicators of research performance in the humanities and the social and behavioral sciences, Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 42(5): 332–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pierce, S. (1987), Characteristics of professional knowledge structures: some theoretical implications of citation studies, LISR, 9: 143–171.Google Scholar
  41. Schubert, A., Glänzel, W., Braun, T. (1989), World flash on basic research: Scientometric datafiles. A comprehensive set of indicators on 2649 journals and 96 countries in all major science fields and subfields, 1981–1985, Scientometrics, 16(1–6): 3–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Schubert, A., Braun, T. (1990), World flash on basic research: International collaboration in the sciences, 1981–1985, Scientometrics, 19: 3–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. SciDev (2007), China ranks second in S&T publication rates. Available at:
  44. Sen, S. K., Gan, S. K. (1983), A mathematical extension of the idea of bibliographic coupling and its applications, Annals of Library Science’ and Documentation, 30: 78–82.Google Scholar
  45. Winterhager, M. (1994), Bibliometricsche Basisdaten zur Entwicklung der Sozialwissenschaften in Deutschland, In: Best, H. & al. (Eds.), Informations-und Wissenservarbeitung in den Sozialwissenschaften. Opladen 1994, 539–551.Google Scholar
  46. Yu, G. (2005), Accomplishments and problems: a review of China’s reform in the past twenty-three years. In: Tian, YC. (Ed), The Chinese Model of Modern Development, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 23–53.Google Scholar
  47. Zhou, P., Leydesdorff, L. (2006), The emergence of China as a leading nation in science, Research Policy, 35(1): 83–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zhou, P., Leydesdorff, L. (2007a), A comparison between the China Scientific and Technical Papers and Citations Database and the Science Citation Index in terms of journal hierarchies and inter-journal citation relations, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(2): 223–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zhou, P., Leydesdorff, L. (2007b), The citation impacts and citation environments of Chinese journals in mathematics, Scientometrics, 72(2): 185–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zhou, P., Leydesdorff, L (2008), China ranks second in scientific publications since 2006. In preparation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Steunpunt O&O Indicatoren, Dept. MSIKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of ChinaBeijingChina
  3. 3.Institute for Research Policy StudiesHungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations