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Chinese government wants to create 50 new scientific journals

The Chinese government has released new plans to improve the quality of the country’s scientific journals. The aim is to concentrate efforts and investments in the creation of 50 new journals, while allowing good foreign journals published in English to transfer their headquarters to China. The announcement was made at a press conference given by government-affiliated organization the Chinese Association of Science and Technology (CAST), according to the South China Morning Post. Zhang Yuzhuo, vice president of CAST, stated that digital publishing platforms would also be created to a similar standard as those used by European and American publishers. This will allow journals to focus their attention on the quality of their content and the pursuit of greater competitiveness.

One of the objectives is to encourage researchers to publish in reputable titles outside of major international publishers, but the new strategy is also related to a policy launched four years ago to combat misconduct in articles by Chinese scientists. In May 2018, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council of the People’s Republic of China issued guidelines on promoting scientific integrity in response to the rise in cases of plagiarism, falsification, and fraud. Since then, journals in the country have begun improving their content and practices—data presented by Yuzhuo show that the number of Chinese journals indexed in international databases increased from 152 to 257 in the period while the citation rate of articles in these publications almost quadrupled from 1.13 to 4.42. China now has 25 journals ranked among the most influential 5% in the world, according to the vice president of CAST.

The effort involved various actions designed to prevent misconduct. In January, the World Journal of Pediatrics, published by the Institute of Pediatrics at Zhejiang University in partnership with Springer Nature, listed the steps taken by its editorial board since 2018 to comply with government guidelines. One was the requirement for a precise description of each author’s contribution to an article and the rigorous screening of all manuscripts for signs of plagiarism, violation of ethical standards, or duplicate content before submission for peer review.