Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

"Science Citation Index Worship" in China

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

"Science Citation Index Worship" in China

Article excerpt

Dear Editor-in-Chief

The Science Citation Index (SCI) is originally pro-duced by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and created by Eugene Garfield in 1960, which is now operated by Thomson Reuters. In 1995, the SCI was firstly introduced to China by Nanjing University, and has been considered a scientific, just and objective evaluation system for doctors and researchers since. However, based on the fact that China is ready to surpass the United States in high technology market share after nearly 30 years, the SCI itself has outgrown one of the most conflicting topics full of bipolar ratings among the academic society (1). The scientific cir-cle of China began to call this phenomena "SCI-mania", "SCI-fever" or "SCI worship", some of whom even have concluded this as "pathological" (2).

The reason for this diagnosis is simple: publishing higher SCI-ra ted articles in China is now practi-cally the "gold standard" for overwhelming researchers and doctors to get potential financial funds, annual bonuses and duty promotions. As a result, no matter you are an experienced academi-cian or a rookie resident who just graduated from a second-class medical university, every individual is keen on publishing SCI-rated articles. After a thorough analysis of this situation, we are able to conclude some forthcoming consequences on Chinese academic circle as follows

1. A catalyst for academic corruptions. Chi-nese medical doctor is one of the busiest jobs in China, besides large amount of daily routines; would they be able to "squeeze" some extra energy to meet the "gold standard"? Plagiarism, fabricating experimental data, repeated publication on different journals were unfortunately the choices for some of them (3), which have dishonored Chinese scientific community to some extent undoubtedly.

2. A catastrophe to local academic journals and a waste of funding. Majority of scholars consider publishing articles on an SCI-rated journal as their first priority, which is devastating for domestic journals because they need high quality of scientific findings as well. What is worse, an oversea journal is much more expensive to publish compared to its counterparts in China, and all the charges will be covered by scientific funding only.

3. An inadequate bedside experience for clinical practitioners. Instead of improving occupational training and providing better service to patients, quite a few Chinese doctors choose to publish more SCI articles as a shortcut to their expected financial or social benefits, which will undoubtedly add more dissatisfactions coming from the patients to the already-tense doctor-patient relationship in China. …

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