Key Labs and Open Labs in the Chinese scientific research system: Their role in the national and international scientific arena
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Chinese science has developed rapidly over the latest fifteen years. It is said that it is now in a quantitative expansion phase. A series of programmes extending over a period of twenty years has resulted in more than 160 Key Labs and nearly 400 Open Labs at present. The organization and evaluation of this system of labs is one of the strategic measures for scientific resource reorganization in China. The role played by these labs is analysed in this article using data from the Chinese Science Citation Database(CSCD) and the Science Citation Index(SCI). Nowadays almost one quarter of all internationally oriented Chinese publications originate from these labs. The same is true for citations received by Chinese scientists in the SCI. Comparisons between SCI-based and CSCD-based performance results show that the relative academic impact of Key Labs and Open Labs is more international than domestic. Key Labs have a higher total production and receive more citations than Open Labs. Yet their impact, measured as citations per publication, is very similar. We conclude that when it comes to impact on the international scene, these labs have not yet led to a big step forward for Chinese science as a whole. The fact that in the year 2004 a new evaluation procedure has been put in place means that the Chinese scientific authorities have recognized this fact and are dealing with it.
KeywordsArena Research System Performance Result Total Production Evaluation Procedure
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