Does China need to rethink its metrics- and citation-based research rewards policies?
The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of China has set forth ambitious goals, as part of its Citation Impact Upgrading Plan (CIUP), to fortify the standing of Chinese academics as well as Chinese academic journals. At present, MOST primarily considers Clarivate Analytics journal impact factor (JIF), which is a proprietary scientometric measure, as a measure of “quality”. Academic publishing is however, starting to move away from metrics such as the JIF that can be gamed, and that do not truly reflect the academic worth of individual scientists, or of journals. Metrics such as altmetrics, which show the paper’s popularity among social media, or a greater balance of metrics, to buffer the monopolized impact of the JIF on metrics-based rewards systems, may be issues that China and MOST need to consider as global academic publishing tends towards a state of open science where open access journals that reach a wider audience may have greater value than journals with a high JIF. Not only are China’s academics well-funded by the state, the Chinese academic market is a highly coveted market by publishers and other parties interested in advancing their academic or commercial interests. Given the current fluid and rapidly evolving state of academic publishing, and the fairly rigid JIF-based rewards system in place in China at the moment, coupled with a recent spate in academic misconduct from Chinese researchers, this letter offers some suggestions as to the need for China to rethink its policies regarding what factors influence academic rewards.
KeywordsAltmetrics Citation impact upgrading plan Clarivate Analytics Journal impact factor Ministry of Science and Technology Social media
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
The author declares no commercial, financial or other relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
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