Skip to main content
Log in

Does China need to rethink its metrics- and citation-based research rewards policies?

Scientometrics Aims and scope Submit manuscript


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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions







  • Chua, S., Qureshi, A. M., Krishnan, V., Pai, D. R., Kamal, L. B., Gunasegaran, S., et al. (2017). The impact factor of an open access journal does not contribute to an article’s citations. F1000Research, 6, 208. doi:10.12688/f1000research.10892.1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Clements, J. C. (2017). Open access articles receive more citations in hybrid marine ecology journals. FACETS, 2, 1–14. doi:10.1139/facets-2016-0032.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dadkhah, M., Maliszewski, T., & Teixeira da Silva, J. A. (2016). Hijacked journals, hijacked web-sites, journal phishing, misleading metrics and predatory publishing: Actual and potential threats to academic integrity and publishing ethics. Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology, 12(3), 353–362. doi:10.1007/s12024-016-9785-x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Haustein, S., Costas, R., & Larivière, V. (2015). Characterizing social media metrics of scholarly papers: The effect of document properties and collaboration patterns. PLoS ONE, 10(3), e0120495. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0120495.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McKiernan, E. C., Bourne, P. E., Brown, C. T., Buck, S., Kenall, A., Lin, J., et al. (2016). How open science helps researchers succeed. eLife, 5, e16800. doi:10.7554/eLife.16800.001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stigbrand, T. (2017). Retraction note to multiple articles in tumor biology. Tumor Biology (in press). doi:10.1007/s13277-017-5487-6.

    Google Scholar 

  • Teixeira da Silva, J. A. (2013). The Global Science Factor v. 1.1: A new system for measuring and quantifying quality in science. The Asian and Australasian Journal of Plant Science and Biotechnology, 7(Special Issue 1), 92–101.

    Google Scholar 

  • Teixeira da Silva, J. A. (2017). Fake peer reviews, fake identities, fake accounts, fake data: beware! AME Medical Journal, 2, 28. doi:10.21037/amj.2017.02.10.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Teixeira da Silva, J. A., & Bernès, S. (2017). Clarivate Analytics: continued omnia vanitas impact factor culture. Science and Engineering Ethics (in press). doi:10.1007/s11948-017-9873-7.

    Google Scholar 

  • Teixeira da Silva, J. A., & Memon, A. R. (2017). CiteScore: A cite for sore eyes, or a valuable, transparent metric? Scientometrics, 111(1), 553–556. doi:10.1007/s11192-017-2250-0.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Teixeira da Silva, J. A., Ruan, C.-J., Yu, X.-N., & Zeng, S.-J. (2013). International collaboration, scientific ethics and science writing: Focus on China. The Asian and Australasian Journal of Plant Science and Biotechnology, 7(1), 38–45.

    Google Scholar 

  • Teixeira da Silva, J. A., Sorooshian, S., & Al-Khatib, A. (2017). Cost-benefit assessment of congresses, meetings or symposia, and selection criteria to determine if they are predatory. Walailak Journal of Science and Technology, 14(4), 259–265.

    Google Scholar 

  • Van Noorden, R. (2016). China by the numbers. Nature, 534, 452–453. doi:10.1038/534452a.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Xie, Y., Zhang, C., & Lai, Q. (2014). China’s rise as a major contributor to science and technology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 111(26), 9437–9442. doi:10.1073/pnas.1407709111.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhou, P., & Leydersdorff, L. (2016). A comparative study of the citation impact of Chinese journals with government priority support. Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analysis, 1, 3. doi:10.3389/frma.2016.00003.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva.

Ethics declarations

Conflicts of interest

The author declares no commercial, financial or other relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Teixeira da Silva, J.A. Does China need to rethink its metrics- and citation-based research rewards policies?. Scientometrics 112, 1853–1857 (2017).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: