Over 90 percent of Chinese scientists publish papers primarily for academic promotion | Society News | SupChina

Over 90 percent of Chinese scientists publish papers primarily for academic promotion

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A new report (Chinese) published by the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) has found that almost half of Chinese scientists have issues with how their studies are valued. More than 90 percent of those who have published papers admit that ascending in the academic system is a primary motivator for them.

The study surveyed 48,099 scientists at various levels across the country. Conducted every five years since 2003, the survey aims to gain a picture of how Chinese scientists work and what their personal lives look like.

According to this year’s report, Chinese scientists are less satisfied with their income compared with in previous years. About 33 percent of the respondents reported that the pressure on them mainly came from their financial status. The survey states that while the average annual income in the field of science has increased in the past years — to now around 90,000 yuan ($12,900) — many scientists are complaining that the growth was far lower than expected.

The study also discovered that facing financial pressure, a notable number of scientists are considering starting their own business. But many of them are hesitant, citing problems such as lack of funding and management experience. Meanwhile, the possibility of earning a steady income by patenting research results seems remote to most scientists. The study found out that in the past three years, just 18.4 percent of Chinese scientists obtained patents on inventions and only about half of them successfully capitalized on their patents.

When it comes to scientific studies, a lack of funding remains the major complaint from surveyed scientists. Roughly 45 percent of them said that they thought the importance of their studies was not properly evaluated, and that the number of published papers should not be the main criteria. But the majority of Chinese scientists seem to have gamed the system, as 93.7 percent of the surveyed said that in their own careers, publishing papers primarily serves the purpose of gaining academic promotion.

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Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.

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