Characteristics of research in China assessed with Essential Science Indicators

Hui Zhen Fu, Kun Yang Chuang, Ming Huang Wang, Yu-Shan Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


To provide an overview of the characteristics of research in China, a bibliometric evaluation of highly cited papers with high-level representation was conducted during the period from 1999 to 2009 based on the Essential Science Indicators (ESI) database. A comprehensive assessment covered overall performance, journals, subject categories, internationally collaborative countries, national inter-institutionally collaborative institutions, and most-cited papers in 22 scientific fields. China saw a strong growth in scientific publications in the last decade, to some extent due to increasing research and development expenditure. China has been more active in ESI fields of chemistry and physics, but more excellent in materials science, engineering and mathematics. Most publications were concerned with the common Science Citation Index subject categories of multidisciplinary chemistry, multidisciplinary materials and science, and physical chemistry. About one half China's ESC papers were internationally collaborative and the eight major industrialized countries (the USA, Germany, the UK, Japan, France, Canada, Russia, and Italy) played a prominent role in scientific collaboration with China, especially the USA. The Chinese Academy of Sciences took the leading position of institutions with many branches. The "985 Project" stimulated the most productive institutions for academic research with a huge funding injection and the universities in Hong Kong showed good scientific performance. The citation impact of internationally collaborative papers differed among fields and international collaborations made positive contributions to academic research in China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-862
Number of pages22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


  • Bibliometric analysis
  • China
  • Essential science indicator
  • Highly cited papers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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