Article by Eleanor Olcott, Clive Cookson and Alan Smith at the Financial Times: “…Over the past two decades, Chinese researchers have become some of the world’s most prolific publishers of scientific papers. The Institute for Scientific Information, a US-based research analysis organisation, calculated that China produced 3.7mn papers in 2021 — 23 per cent of global output — and just behind the 4.4mn total from the US.
At the same time, China has been climbing the ranks of the number of times a paper is cited by other authors, a metric used to judge output quality. Last year, China surpassed the US for the first time in the number of most cited papers, according to Japan’s National Institute of Science and Technology Policy, although that figure was flattered by multiple references to Chinese research that first sequenced the Covid-19 virus genome.
The soaring output has sparked concern in western capitals. Chinese advances in high-profile fields such as quantum technology, genomics and space science, as well as Beijing’s surprise hypersonic missile test two years ago, have amplified the view that China is marching towards its goal of achieving global hegemony in science and technology.
That concern is a part of a wider breakdown of trust in some quarters between western institutions and Chinese ones, with some universities introducing background checks on Chinese academics amid fears of intellectual property theft.
But experts say that China’s impressive output masks systemic inefficiencies and an underbelly of low-quality and fraudulent research. Academics complain about the crushing pressure to publish to gain prized positions at research universities…(More)”.