Evaluation of Research Performance and Scientometric Indicators in China

  • Bihui Jin
  • Ronald Rousseau


Chinese scientists and decision makers are, like their counterparts elsewhere in the world, highly interested in analysing the quality of their country’s academic and technological achievements. Twenty five years ago research activities Chinese scientists understood the world’s scientific research largely through journals consulted in libraries. in China were mainly conducted within the nation’s borders. Chinese scientists understood the world’s scientific research largely through journals consulted in libraries. They themselves published few papers in international journals. Meanwhile, the number of Chinese publications, as covered by SCI, has increased spectacularly: it rose from about 8,000 in the year 1990 to nearly 40,000 in the year 2002. What is the explanation for this extraordinary growth? The fundamentals of this accomplishment are to be found in the country’s major socio-economic development and the stimulating role of the government’s S&T policy. Although the number of Chinese publications covered by the Web of Science has rapidly increased, most Chinese research results are still published in domestic journals. This means that it makes little sense to use the Web of Knowledge as the only source for information retrieval, or for research evaluation purposes in China. For this reason it had already been decided in 1989 to develop local, i.e., Chinese, citation databases. This was the origin of the Chinese Science Citation Database (CSCD) and the China Scientific and Technical Papers and Citations (CSTPC). In 1998 a Chinese Social Sciences Citation Index (CSSCI) was developed as well. Local databases of derived indicators, similar to the Journal Citation Reports, soon followed. The structure of these databases is described here. This contribution focuses on two parallel developments: one using ISI’s databases, aimed at gauging China’s international position; and one used for internal purposes, where the locally developed databases play an important role. Examples of comparisons and rankings based on local databases are given, and it is shown how these are different from rankings based on ISI’s databases. Chinese scientists and decision makers soon recognized that simple quantitative evaluations focussing on numbers stimulate the growth of publications, but have little effect on the quality of research. Hence new approaches and regulations for research evaluation are nowadays being introduced.


Research Performance Research Evaluation Journal Citation Report Bibliometric Indicator Chinese Scientist 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bihui Jin
    • 1
  • Ronald Rousseau
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Documentation and Information Centre of the Chinese Academy of SciencesChinese Science Citation DatabaseBeijingP.R. China
  2. 2.Antwerp UniversityWilrijkBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Industrial Science & TechnologyKHBOOostendeBelgium

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