The Chinese scientific publication system: Specific features, specific challenges

Jing Wang*, Willem Halffman, Hub Zwart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


By introducing new policy initiatives, China is trying to change the evaluation of scientific research, shifting the focus from counting publication output to stressing high-quality research, with the objective of achieving excellent science. Against this background, the scientific publication system itself is important for safeguarding high-quality publications and high-quality journals. However, the Chinese scientific publication system has some specificities and unique features, which also create particular challenges. This article describes the scientific publication system in China. It covers the Chinese ex-ante journal licensing examination, the triple ownership management structure and provides an overview of the editorial process of Chinese scientific journals. It analyses how difficulties in the Chinese scientific publication system relate to concerns over research quality and integrity. We conclude with an agenda of the crucial issues facing the current Chinese attempts to promote quality in scientific publications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-115
Number of pages11
JournalLearned Publishing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The advantage of the triple ownership for journal development is the potential financial support from different owners under the state‐control situation. However, this advantage is largely unstable and unable to favour all scientific journals in practice. Instead, this complex and hierarchical management structure of Chinese scientific publishing has caused several problems.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Learned Publishing published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of ALPSP – The Association for Learned and Professional Society Publishers.


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