The status quo of Chinese sci-tech periodicals: scientific journals are not has the final say of scientists.

The status quo of Chinese sci-tech periodicals: scientific journals are not has the final say of scientists.

Original title: the status quo of Chinese sci-tech periodicals: scientific journals are not has the final say of scientists.

Wearing "administrative" fetters can't dance "marketability".

Investigation on the current situation of Chinese sci-tech periodicals (three)

Newspaper reporter Cao Xiuying

The development of sci-tech periodicals is a thorn in the heart of China's science and technology circles.


A recent Xiangshan conference again focused on "Chinese Sci-tech Periodicals". When reporters first participated in the NPC and CPPCC reports more than 10 years ago, the committee members were discussing this topic. In recent years, various conferences have been held from government departments to publishing houses to the scientific and technological circles, hoping to promote the development of Chinese scientific and technological journals, but with little success.

"We want to change, but it's so easy." Wen Jie (a pseudonym) from the joint editorial department of a Chinese Academy of Sciences tells us all the helplessness. Why do we "step in place"? In the view of the industry, administrative management is an important factor restricting the development of Chinese sci-tech periodicals.

Scientific journals are not has the final say of scientists.

"We looked at all three journals, and a few years ago we were thinking about dividing them into different levels and developing them to categorize the needs of different audiences. But I don't agree with the report, not the editorial department. Wen Jie said that the management of the periodicals by the relevant departments is even so meticulous as to how many hours of professional training each editor needs every year, and the training content is strictly regulated.

"I feel that the pressure on domestic sci-tech journals is getting bigger and bigger in recent years." Chen Dong (not his real name), editor of a Chinese core journal, told Sci-Tech Daily, "The reason is that the journals have no autonomy, which leads to hierarchical management and restrictions. A few years ago we considered English journals, but due to the intentions of the leaders, approval and other reasons, this has not yet been done."

As Chen Dong said, for a long time, China's scientific and technological journals have implemented a three-level management system of management, hosting and publishing. "For a long time, the administrative allocation of the number of resources, taking into account the needs of departments more than the development of disciplines and periodical industry needs. In the process of running a journal, scientists have not been given full play to their roles, and there are still some unnecessary administrative interventions. Even if the journal is changed, it should be submitted for approval layer by layer." Hu Shenghua, deputy editor of Science Publishing House, told Sci-tech Daily that the so-called quality management remained at the level of editorial norms, such as typographical errors, printing errors and so on, but not academic checks.

Lack of enthusiasm and quality of staff

"Usually in these affiliated units, the journal department is the least valued, the staff has little incentive to do a good job of the journal." "Previously, the competent authorities had a certain amount of funding for periodicals, but now this part of the funding is basically gone, and basically have to bear their own profits and losses, and some even require profits," Chen said.

He said that in the context of administrative management to restrict market operations to make money, which makes the journal management team tired of coping. "It's hard to calm down and think about what to do next, how to attract good sources of manuscripts, can only do a good job at the moment."

"Our authorities are demanding that journals turn in profits, and the indicators are growing every year." Zhou Mu, head of a core journal in the field of materials, told Sci-Tech Daily, "Journals are treated as revenue-generating departments here."

It is difficult for journals to be controlled by administrative and profit indicators. "Magazines like ours make most of their money on page fees, but it's unlikely that they'll keep raising them all the time, making it harder to attract a slightly better source. Under such circumstances, it is even less likely to expand the team and do more things. Zhou Mu said.

Although Zhou Mu's journals are difficult, they can still be maintained by relying on an industry or affiliated with institutes and Guilds which have some resources. The quality and survival of some journals of university journals are even more worrying.

"There are about 500 kinds of University Journals in China. These journals are classified as comprehensive science and technology journals in the Chinese HowNet classification system. Historically, their main function is to serve their colleges and universities, professional positioning is vague, often become a tool for teachers to promote, graduate students to borrow, it is difficult to improve their quality. There is also a periodical called "geographical + technology", which is also homogenized and difficult to make. Hu Shenghua told ScienceDaily.

"The birth of such periodicals has its historical background. In the 1980s, the state set up a number of such periodicals in order to implement the policy of intellectuals and solve the problems of difficult publishing and difficult publishing. They have now fulfilled their historical mission, and if the quality and funding of some journals are unsustainable, an appropriate exit mechanism should be designed. Hu Shenghua thinks.

It is difficult for periodicals to develop in clusters.

But periodical withdrawal is not easy. "The last two years have been talking about the transformation of the system, the establishment of an independent publishing house, but it seems to have just begun to end, we prepared materials last year, and then there was no movement." Zhou Mu said.

"Because the journal number needs strict examination and approval, it becomes a scarce resource. Many poor quality journals are reluctant to quit. " Hu sublimation analysis, some journals will be subcontracted out of the number or layout, and those who contract these journals, of course, for the purpose of making money, engaged in the sale of page transactions, do not look at the quality of the paper, a lot of mistakes.

Moreover, fraud is not uncommon. "We used to declare a periodical called Architectural Heritage. While we were still preparing for the initial publication, some criminals faked the editorial office of the periodical, started selling pages and publishing fake magazines in full swing, and many people were deceived." Hu Shenghua felt that such a problem could arise, indicating that the market order was very chaotic.

Hu Shenghua said that in recent years, about 50 new journals have been approved annually, which is far from meeting the needs of discipline development. It is not always possible to run a magazine, but not a good one. Life is hard, and death is hard. "

"Numbers become scarce resources, some people want to run periodicals, have enthusiasm and ability, but can not apply for the next number." Wu Yishan, a researcher at the China Academy of Science and Technology Strategic Studies, told the Science and Technology Daily that poorly run journals can also make money by making use of their numbers and transferring their management rights.

Wuyishan holds that the increase in the number of domestic sci-tech periodicals does not match the increase in the output of sci-tech papers. He said that according to the statistics of the Institute of Science and Technology Information of China last year, Chinese scientists and technicians published 494,200 papers in the journals of Chinese scientific and technological papers and 324,200 papers in SCI journals, accounting for about two-thirds of domestic publications.

"Assuming that our researchers do not submit a single article to a foreign journal, and assuming that the average number of papers published in each journal remains unchanged, the total number of high-quality domestic scientific journals will have to increase by about two-thirds to meet the publication needs of researchers. But under the current periodical management system, this is impossible. Wuyishan said.

Hu sublimation analysis shows that the lack of marketization seriously restricts the grouping and large-scale development of sci-tech periodicals in China.

According to the previous published Blue Book on the Development of Chinese Scientific and Technological Periodicals (2017), the directors, sponsors and publishers of Chinese scientific and technological periodicals are scattered. There are 1 375 principal units and 4 381 publishing units in 5 020 kinds of periodicals. On average, each publishing unit publishes 1.15 periodicals, and 4205 units publish only one periodical, accounting for 84% of the total number of periodicals.

"Periodicals have directors, sponsors and publishers, and are subject to territorial management. It is extremely difficult to flow the number of resources, and has not yet formed a dynamic adjustment mechanism for survival of the fittest." Peng Bin, general manager of the Science Publishing House, for example, once tried to cooperate with a foreign research institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to upgrade a scientific and technological journal and to change its publishing unit into a "science publishing house", but the publishing house was hampered.

"Journals are subject to territorial management. The relevant regulations in China require publishers and major sponsors to be in the same area. How can publishers not be local units?" Peng Bin said the cooperation can only be shelved.

Source: Legal Daily

Editor in chief: Zhang Yan

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