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[Hua Li Shi said] Yang Hongtao: how do you view the role of SCI papers in science and technology evaluation?

April 9, 2020 15:49      Think tank Business School      Reading volume:

On February 18, 2020, the Ministry of education and the Ministry of science and technology jointly issued the document "several opinions on standardizing the use of relevant indicators of SCI papers in Colleges and universities and establishing a correct evaluation orientation" (hereinafter referred to as "document 2"). For a time, SCI has become a hot issue of social concern. Some people believe that the opinions in the document are helpful to correct the problem of "SCI supremacy" in the scientific and technological community for many years; Others believe that completely denying SCI will affect the scientificity and objectivity of science and technology evaluation before establishing an evaluation index that can replace SCI. So, how should we view the role of SCI papers in science and technology evaluation? I think two things should be done before answering this question: one is to accurately interpret the content of "No. 2" document; Second, we should have a clear understanding of the consequences of over negating SCI.

  1、 Interpretation of "Document No. 2"

Article 1 of Document No. 2 points out that "(SCI) is not the direct basis for evaluating academic level and innovation contribution". Adding the word "direct" before "basis" shows that it does not deny the value of SCI as the basis of science and technology evaluation. It means that the academic level and innovation contribution of scientific research institutions or individuals can not be evaluated simply by the number of SCI papers, cited times and influencing factors.

Article 2 points out that SCI has become the core index of academic evaluation, which "makes the scientific research work of colleges and universities excessively pursue the relevant indexes of SCI papers", "scientific and technological innovation has some problems, such as distorted value pursuit, boastful and impetuous style of study and eager for quick success and instant benefit". The second article points out the disadvantages of "SCI" supremacy in China's science and technology field for a long time. One of the consequences of this malpractice is that China's scientific research institutions and personnel pay more attention to papers than the transformation of scientific and technological achievements.

In Article 3, it is proposed to "establish and improve the classified evaluation system", "do not take papers as a single evaluation basis", and in Article 5, it is proposed to "implement the evaluation of representative works" and "it is no longer required to fill in the relevant indicators of SCI papers". Article 3 and Article 5 are put forward respectively in view of the fact that SCI papers are not suitable as important evaluation indicators for applied research, experimental development, transformation of scientific and technological achievements, and the pursuit of the number of SCI papers and the neglect of the quality of papers in scientific and technological evaluation.

It can be seen that the purpose of "Document No. 2" is to "reverse the one-sided, excessive and distorted use of relevant indicators of SCI papers in the current scientific research evaluation, and standardize the use of relevant indicators of SCI papers in various evaluation work", rather than negating SCI papers.

  2、 Disadvantages of over negating SCI papers

The document issued by the national department in charge of education and science and technology will play a macro guiding role in changing the phenomenon of "SCI first" in science and technology evaluation. However, in the process of implementation, local competent departments of education, science and technology and grass-roots scientific research institutions should pay attention to: we should not go from one extreme to another, that is, we should excessively deny SCI and even whether to publish papers in international journals. The reasons are as follows:

First, the number of Chinese academic journals in various professional fields is relatively limited. On the one hand, the latest research results will not be published in time; On the other hand, the conversion of papers originally aimed at SCI to Chinese journals will have a crowding out effect on those achievements with low academic level but good application and promotion value. This is not conducive to the promotion and application of scientific research achievements.

Second, over dilution or even negation of SCI papers will reduce the reading and citation rate of foreign scholars to Chinese scholars' papers, and then reduce the international academic influence of Chinese scientific research institutions and scholars, which is not conducive to international exchanges and cooperation in the field of science and technology. In the long run, it will restrict the improvement of China's scientific and technological level and innovation ability.

Therefore, SCI papers should be allowed to go down the altar, but they should not be left in the cold.

  Dr. Yang Hongtao, associate professor of Business School of East China University of technology, member of urban transformation and Innovation Research Committee of China Urban Science Research Association, and director of Shanghai Engineering Management Society

  Source: Business School of East China University of Technology

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