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Scientific publishing to be improved

By Zhang Zhihao | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-08-26 09:05
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More talented professionals, funding needed to increase global influence

China aims to enhance its scientific publishing industry by improving the prestige of its scholarly journals, training more dedicated professionals, and increasing policy and financial support for quality publications, experts said on Thursday.

They added that scientific journals are a key repository and distributor of knowledge that reflects a country's sci-tech competitiveness and cultural influence. These publications are platforms to share the latest scientific discoveries, facilitate academic dialogue and promote innovation.

By the end of 2020, China had 4,963 scientific journals in publication, 88.7 percent of which were in Chinese and 7.5 percent were in English, according to a blue paper on China's scientific publishing released during the 17th China Forum on Development of China's Science, Technology and Mathematics Journals that opened in Hefei, Anhui province, on Thursday.

China also had 4,261 publishers of scientific journals, and around 37,295 employees were working in the scientific publishing industry. These figures show that China's scientific publishing sector was highly fragmented with a general lack of industry talent compared with more established publishing houses in Western countries.

Zhang Jianchun, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said scientific publishing is essential in supporting scientific undertakings, promoting socioeconomic development and improving public science literacy.

Zhang Hongwen, vice-governor of Anhui province, said during the forum's opening ceremony that scientific journals are the fertile soil supporting science and technology development.

The Anhui provincial government will take advantage of its State key laboratories and major scientific instruments to support the building of quality publications in frontier sciences and new interdisciplinary fields, he said.

Zhang Yuzhuo, vice-president of the China Association for Science and Technology, said several English-language academic journals published by China had gained international recognition, including the National Science Review, Cell Research, and Light: Science & Applications.

However, he said that most Chinese scientists still prefer publishing their quality work in foreign journals. Chinese academic journals also lack the ability to promote the commercialization of scientific findings.

To tackle these challenges, Peng Bin, general manager of China Science Publishing & Media, said Chinese publishers should consolidate their resources and improve their services by training more publishing professionals and adopting new technologies.

"The core competitiveness of a journal is its editorial team, which should consist of highly trained professionals," he said.

Liu Wenqing, a researcher at the Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said publishing and editorial talent are crucial to building a world-class scientific journal.

"The success and prosperity of China's scientific publishing will require the support and effort from the whole country," he said.

"We should optimize our evaluation system to encourage more Chinese researchers to publish in Chinese scientific journals."

Yang Huayong, editor-in-chief of the journal Bio-Design and Manufacturing, said a good journal could share the latest development in its field, facilitate dialogue and frontier research, and provide the basis for application and industrialization.

Finding the appropriate topics for the journal to focus on, having a professional team and sustainable business model, allowing young scientists to be the mainstay of the journal's operation, and encouraging interdisciplinary research are key to a journal's success, he added.

Zheng Yongfei, editor-in-chief of the journal Scientia Sinica Terrae, said Chinese scientific journals would need to improve the quality of their content and enhance the quality and speed of submitted papers' evaluation process.

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