China to abolish SCI-supremacy in academia

By Wan Lin Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/24 4:10:09

Photo: IC

Ministries in China issued a document on using Science Citation Index (SCI) papers when evaluating the country's academic institutions, suggesting a break from long-standing SCI-supremacy used to assessed researchers' abilities.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Technology released a document last week on how information from SCI papers is used. The papers include published work selected by SCI, a popular US scientific and technological index system that covers influential academic journals from over 100 disciplines. 

The document aims to reverse the SCI-supremacy phenomenon, widely considered one-sided, excessive, and known for its distortion of information from SCI papers among scientific research evaluation systems at universities and other academic institutions in China. 

SCI indicators include citation times, impact factors, and rankings among the Essential Science Indicators database and others. 

"For a very long time, colleges and other academic institutions have been using SCI-paper indicators as the dominant determinants to evaluate the research ability of students, teachers, and researchers, which has led to an excessive pursuit of papers' publishing in SCI journals in the whole academia," said Dr Xie Gaodi, deputy director of the Center for Resource Science, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources at Chinese Academy of Sciences, to the Global Times on Sunday. 

An overemphasis on SCI papers when evaluating researchers neglect other capabilities, Gao noted. 

A doctor at a hospital in North China's Tianjin Municipality surnamed Liu,  told the Global Times it was due to a lack of SCI papers that had prevented him from receiving a promotion, even though the evaluation criteria indicated he was more than qualified. 

The document also pointed out specific measures aimed at regulating the use of indicators from SCI papers and said schools are prohibited from using them as preconditions when recruiting personnel. Academic institutions can no longer reward individuals and departments based on SCI papers alone, and student graduates and awarding degrees should not be restricted by the number of SCI papers and impact factors. 

Although SCI's influence has been weakened in the research evaluation system, the document did not deny SCI or oppose publishing papers in their journals, said a MOE director from the science and technology department, noting how they have always encouraged publishing high-quality and innovative Chinese research papers among international academia, reported Education Online on Sunday. 

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