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China increases research output – new findings and a response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated: Jan 10

A recent paper published in February 2020 in ALPSP’s Learned Publishing has highlighted some of the significant changes in research output and quality in China. Back in December 2019, The International Bunch published a blog post reporting on the increase in R&D funding, and the focus on publication ethics and quality we saw in the China publishing industry.

Responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

A renewed focus on the importance of accessible and open research can be seen across the globe, as publishers sign up to a commitment to share research and data surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. By ensuring open access to data on the virus, publishers in China and worldwide are helping to drive innovation forward in a bid to address the growing global impact of COVID-19. China has further demonstrated its commitment to rapidly responding to the Coronavirus with the building of a hospital specifically to assess and treat those with COVID-19 symptoms. Built in just 10 days, the hospital is an example of how effective coordinated responses can be when there is a large amount of resource to draw on.

Evidence to show an increase in China’s research output

The new research article from Learned Publishing mirrors the observations on increased research output and quality in China. It presents empirical research supporting the view that China’s research output is on the rise, both in terms of the number of outputs and quality.

Measuring the scientific publications of double first‐class universities from mainland China (Wei and Zhang, 2020) presents a comparative study of publishing data in China from 2006-2018. The main findings of the article include:

· The number of international publications from double first‐class universities has increased over this period

· The number of regional journal articles in China has decreased

· Double first‐class universities are responsible for the majority of published scientific articles

The article covers how the research data was gathered, and discusses the findings in-depth, concluding that double first-class universities in China have shown rapid development since 2006, and this is having a significant and positive effect on the output and quality of research from China.

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