People’s Daily Overseas Edition: Breaking “SCI Worship” and Establishing correct evaluation orientation

Recently, the most influential event in China’s academic circles is the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science and Technology jointly issued “on the regulation of the use of SCI papers related indicators in higher education institutions to establish a correct evaluation orientation” (hereinafter referred to as “Opinion”), put forward the governance of the current scientific research evaluation of the sci paper-related indicators one-sided, excessive, distorted use and other phenomena and introduced 10 opinions and measures to regulate the use of RELEVANT indicators of SCI papers in various evaluation work.

These include accurate understanding of SCI papers and related indicators, a deep understanding of the impact of “SCI first”, the establishment of a sound classification evaluation system, and the improvement of academic peer evaluation.

The above opinions and measures, the industry highly appraised, think that it is of great significance to promote the return of institutions of higher learning and research institutes to the academic heart, purify the academic atmosphere, optimize the academic ecology.

At the same time, some experts pointed out that breaking the paper “SCI worship” is an important breakthrough to promote the establishment of scientific evaluation mechanism, to take this as an opportunity to continue to vigorously promote the academic and scientific research evaluation system reform, to come up with targeted and operational strong practical tactics, to build a scientific, reasonable academic, scientific research results evaluation system.

Dislocation becomes the core standard of academic evaluation

“SCI first”, is also summarized as “SCI worship”, is the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science and Technology this issue of the new document governance objectives, what is “SCI first”? How did this phenomenon come about? Figuring out the answers to these questions is undoubtedly the key to understanding the governance measures proposed in the new document.

SCI is the initials of the English Science Citation Index, and its Chinese is the “Scientific Citation Index”, that is, the widely used index system of scientific and technological literature at home and abroad, together with the engineering index, science and technology conference record index, and called the world’s “three major scientific and technological literature retrieval” system. SCI papers are published in SCI-listed journals, the relevant indicators include the number of papers, the number of citations, high citation papers, impact factors, basic scientific indicators database ranking. The so-called “SCI supreme” is to SCI papers related indicators as academic evaluation, as well as job title evaluation, performance evaluation, talent evaluation, subject evaluation, resource allocation, school ranking and other core indicators, leading to universities and research institutes of scientific research work excessive pursuit of SCI papers and related indicators, Even the publication of SCI papers, high impact factor papers, high cited papers as the fundamental goal of the phenomenon.

It is obviously a misalignment to directly convert from the document index system to the standard of scientific research and academic evaluation. In this regard, the head of the Science and Technology Department of the Ministry of Education in an interview with reporters pointed out that SCI papers are not equivalent to high-level papers, the number of citations reflect the paper’s attention, does not necessarily reflect the level of innovation and substantive contribution, high cited papers more reflect the academic research hot spot, but does not directly explain its innovation contribution. In addition, the thesis is mainly the expression form of basic research results, SCI papers related indicators can not fully reflect the contribution of scientific and technological innovation, not applicable to technological innovation, results transformation and other work evaluation.

The introduction of SCI into China’s scientific research evaluation system began in the late 1980s, when a domestic university took the lead in its introduction as an important basis for the university’s scientific research evaluation. Since then, SCI has been absorbed and utilized by other universities and research institutes in China, and has gradually developed into the mainstream of academic, scientific and technological evaluation methods.

SCI has a special historical background in the introduction and popularity in China. After the reform and opening up, there is an urgent need to establish a standard system to solve the evaluation of scientific research level and the allocation of scientific research funds and other major issues, but due to the limited number of personnel directly involved in scientific research work at that time, the academic circle is relatively small, the evaluation of subjective too strong, etc. , the initial establishment of peer-review mechanism can not play its due function. SCI’s function of ranking periodicals, papers, etc. by counting a large number of papers and a certain paper in a certain discipline, such as frequency frequency, instant index, etc., is undoubtedly attractive to Chinese academia. Under the historical conditions at that time, the introduction of SCI was indeed a great progress, which played an important role in guiding domestic scholars to publish papers in high-level journals around the world, enhancing the international influence of Chinese scientific research, and strengthening exchanges with foreign and international cutting-edge scientific and technological levels.

Distortion of the value pursuit of scientific and technological innovation

Sci, as a document indexsystem, has birth defects in being introduced as a standard for scientific research and academic evaluation. Li Zhimin, a professor at Tsinghua University and vice president of the China Institute of Educational Development Strategy, pointed out that SCI is seriously “biased”, specifically, it is both a problem that favors basic science and the lack of engineering application disciplines, as well as the problem of unevenness in different fields of basic research. In addition, there are problems where the proportion of English periodicals is too high, which affects factor bias too strongly, the accuracy of citation rate cannot be guaranteed, and even the problem of judging the wrong results.

Compared with birth defects and deficiencies, distortions and even myths are more problematic issues for SCI being introduced as standards for scientific research and academic evaluation. Li Zhimin said that some people jokingly call the SCI indicators the academic “GDP” because these indicators are directly linked to bonuses, grants and other material interests. Many project review teams largely draw evaluation conclusions based on the number of SCI papers and citations in the filing materials, often not examining the content and actual level of the papers; Almost all universities in China have implemented a reward system for papers published by school employees in SCI-listed journals, which divide the journals into different levels and set up different award amounts, with the highest prizes for papers published in international top journals such as Science and Nature. This leads to “SCI worship”.

“SCI worship” makes some researchers from the purpose of solving problems to publishING SCI papers, scientific research evaluation has become a number of SCI papers, “only the papers” has become a major problem in the field of scientific research. Li Zhimin pointed out that the SCI quantitative indicator “kidnapping” academic community’s cognitive model, to some extent, led to more serious consequences: more academic misconduct. At the same time, some Chinese scholars are more willing to publish papers in foreign journals, resulting in domestic science and technology journals, especially Chinese science and technology journals level “dwarfing”.

The head of the Science and Technology Department of the Ministry of Education said that “SCI worship” leads to the pursuit of scientific and technological innovation value distortion, the style of learning impetuous and quick-interest, etc. , is not conducive to high-quality higher education, intension-type development, can not meet the requirements of the new era of education reform and development, is not conducive to the education and science and technology power construction. The community’s call to break the paper “SCI first” and optimize the academic ecology is very strong. To this end, the relevant parties issued “on deepening project evaluation, talent evaluation, institutional evaluation and reform of the opinion” and “on further promoting the spirit of scientists to strengthen the style and learning style of the construction of the views”, the relevant departments carried out including “clean up only the paper” and other special actions. In order to serve the education power and the construction of scientific and technological power, accelerate the upgrading of academic governance capacity and level, establish and improve a sound scientific evaluation system, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science and Technology issued a new document to further deploy.

There is still a long way to go to implement the governance policy

“I’m very much looking forward to the new policy. I do not understand other disciplines, computer science should not require SCI papers, the main evaluation indicators in this field is the conference papers than journal papers. The list of papers of the Chinese Computer Society in the academic circles is very authoritative, the college requires the Chinese Computer Society list papers, but the school requires SCI papers, two standards are not consistent, students have to be busy at both ends. “A soon-to-be-graduated computer doctoral student wrote this message after reading the article on weChat’s “Scientific Research Circle”. He apparently wrote in opinion article 9, “Scientific set degree-granting quality standards.” This part stipulates that it is not appropriate to use indicators such as the number of SCI papers published and influence factors as a restrictive condition for student graduation and degree grant, so that the elimination of the “SCI worship” policy can benefit the relevant professional doctoral graduates.

It is worth noting that the wording of Article 9 is “inappropriate”, indicating that this is not a “one-size-fits-all” prohibition provision, but rather considering the characteristics of different disciplines, different university differences, according to local conditions. “In the process of personnel training, in some basic disciplines, tutors and faculties from the point of view of scientific research ability training, scientific research practice training, the corresponding requirements for students is reasonable, but also in line with the needs of talent training. The head of the Science and Technology Department of the Ministry of Education said.

In breaking down the paper “SCI first”, “Opinion” is more the use of “negative list” management approach, listed the relevant five aspects, including, improve discipline and school evaluation, careful selection of SCI papers and other quantitative indicators; and the preconditions for hiring as a person, and the removal of the direct link between the sci paper-related indicators and resource allocation and performance rewards.

These “broken” measures in the 21st century Institute of Education Vice President Xiong Puqi seems to have a good correction effect, so that SCI papers back to their proper position, but he also pointed out that we must also make great efforts to do a good job of “standing”, that is, the “opinion” pursued in the combination of qualitative and quantitative comprehensive evaluation, Scientific evaluation of academic level. Specifically, it is to improve academic peer evaluation, guide evaluation experts not simply to SCI paper related indicators instead of professional judgment, responsible to provide professional evaluation advice, and advocate the establishment of evaluation expert evaluation credibility system; Conduct representative evaluation and follow the principle of peer evaluation.

Xiong pointed out that the above measures are in line with the fundamental direction of academic evaluation reform, among which, the establishment of a credible academic peer evaluation is of particular importance. To achieve this goal, we must continue to vigorously promote the reform of education, in the management and evaluation of academic affairs, give full play to the role of the academic community, improve the academic governance ability and level.