Listing quality: navigating journal valuation practices in the Chinese science system

Friday 21 June 2024, 10:30 am
PhD candidate
J. Wang
dr. W. Halffman
dr. S.P.J.M. Horbach

Research evaluation is complex, quality consists of many dimensions, and quality assessment is often contentious. Through this doctoral project, I have investigated how the notion of journal quality has been constructed in the Chinese publication system. This dissertation analyzed what journal qualities have been valued in scientific publishing and publication evaluation aspects in China from multiple actors’ perspectives. Chapter 2 identifies how the specificities of the Chinese publication system differ from the international one. Chapter 3 zooms in on a concrete journal metric, namely journal lists, to examine the underlying values and quality criteria for assessing journals by governing actors that create such journal lists. Chapter 4 follows the journal list initiatives to look at researchers’ reactions to such a new evaluation benchmark, identifying the interplay of dynamics across individual, institutional, and national valuation regimes. Chapter 5 turns to central actors in the scholarly publishing system, journal editors and publishers, to look at their journal development strategies to compete for attention and resources. An analytical model, the ‘journal attention cycle’, has been developed to help understand the social-economic aspects of running a journal in the Chinese scientific publication system.

Jing Wang was born on August 14, 1992 in Shijiazhuang, China. In 2015, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Hebei University. Jing continued her education with a Master’s degree in history of science and technology from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Faculty of Humanities. In May 2018, she got the State Scholarship Fund of the China Scholarship Council, and she started her PhD journey in November 2018, at the Institute for Science in Society at Radboud University, Nijmegen. In between the PhD project, she got the predoctoral fellowship at Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in July 2023, and had a six-month visit at the Lise Meitner Research Group China in the Global System of Science. Now she is still affiliated with this research group at Max Planck Institute for the History of Science as a guest researcher.