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China shows off scientific, technological achievements

Updated: 2013-09-27 23:53
By CHENG YINGQI ( China Daily)

China became one of the world's top five countries that have the highest total citation of scientific and technology papers.

On Friday, the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China published its latest report on the performance of Chinese sci-tech papers, with data updated in September.

Since 1987, the annual report has been a source of decision-making support for government agencies.

The report, the Statistical Data of Chinese S&T Papers, showed Chinese researchers published 1.14 million International sci-tech papers since 2003, ranking second place in the world. These papers had a total citation of nearly 7.1 million times, ranking it fifth, moving up one place from 2012.

"In the country's science and technology development plan during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), we set the goal of entering the top five countries for paper citation by 2015. Now it seems we have achieved the goal ahead of schedule," said He Defang, director of the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China .

The four countries with top paper citations are the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan.

The citation of papers is an indicator of the quality of the paper. The total paper citation can reflect a country's general research capacity, He explained.

Meanwhile, China produced 9,524 highly cited international papers (the top 1 percent most-cited) between 2003 and 2013, ranking it fourth in the world.

"In terms of papers' total citation times we are the world's fifth, while in terms of highly cited papers we are fourth. It reflects the fact the best papers in China are as good as those at the international level. Meanwhile, medium-level papers in China are less influential than the world average level," said Wu Yishan, deputy director of the institute.

The average citation rate of China's international papers was 6.92 times each paper in the decade since 2003, while the global average citation rate was 10.69 times.

Yet in 15 specific research fields, including chemistry, materials science, engineering, mathematics and computing science, China has a distinct advantage: The total number of citations in these fields are among the world's top 10.

To encourage researchers to focus more on the quality of papers, the institute has begun changing its statistical indicators. The establishment of Forerunners 5000, also known as the F5000, is a major project carried out to promote quality-focused papers on an open access platform that includes the most influential papers published in domestic journals.

"It had been very difficult for non-English papers to be retrieved from existing authoritative databases such as the Science Citation Index," said Qiao Xiaodong, chief engineer of the institute.

In 2012, only 135 sci-tech journals were included in the index. Only 17 of them were published in Mandarin.

"As a result, we needed a national-level platform to promote the best work of our own scientists to the rest of the world. That is why we built the F5000," he said.

Combining the results of quantitative analysis and peer review, the F5000 chose 2,500 papers published in Mandarin to promote abroad.

Writers of the 2,500 papers were required to write summaries no shorter than 1,000 words in both Mandarin and English, and to provide charts and graphs from their papers. These materials have been available at since Friday.

Qiao disclosed the institute will carry out cooperation with authoritative databases.

"For example, we have decided to work with Thomson Reuters to add the F5000 into Science Citation Index paper's retrieval system, named InCites, to help scientists increase their influence in the world science community," Qiao said.