Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Fewer, but better papers published: survey

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s total number of academic papers has slightly decreased, partly because local academics have shifted their emphasis from quantity to quality, a survey released by the National Applied Research Laboratories (NRAL) said yesterday.

Taiwanese academics between 2012 and 2016 produced a total of 138,411 papers, accounting for about 1.5 percent of the world’s total papers over the period, the NARL Science and Technology Policy Research and Information Center said in a survey.

Papers on computer science, engineering, economics and business administration make up most of Taiwan’s academic output, it showed.

However, the number of papers has decreased from 139,408 between 2011 and 2015, making Taiwan the 19th biggest producer of papers, from 17th, center Trend Analysis Division Associate Researcher Hung Wen-chi (洪文琪) said.

The decline is partly explained by local academia putting increased emphasis on the quality of papers, instead of their number, but aging academic faculty and a decrease in doctoral students are also factors, she said.

Despite the slight reduction, a gauge of the influence of Taiwanese papers has grown to 0.97 between 2012 and 2016, from 0.89 in between 2006 and 2010, bringing it closer to the global average of 1 that is seen as a benchmark of premier research quality, she said.

On closer inspection, Taiwanese papers in agricultural science had the highest relative influence, at 1.38, followed by those in physics, plant biology and animal science, the survey showed.

China produced about 1.2

million papers — the second-highest number after the US’ 2.1 million — between 2012 and 2016, but quantity there increased more than quality, center Director-General Joung Yuh-jzer (莊裕澤) said.

While Taiwan cannot compete with other nations in terms of the number of papers, it should concentrate its energy on a few disciplines in which the nation has an advatage, he added.

Asked whether cases of academic misconduct over the past few years have affected Taiwan’s clout on the global academic stage, Joung said they were “isolated cases” and did not impact the overall performance of Taiwanese academics.

The survey also took into account the number of papers published in the prestigious academic journals Nature and Science, which are an indicator of a nation’s research acumen, Hung said.

The number of Taiwanese papers in the two journals grew to 106 between 2012 and 2016, from 59 between 2006 and 2010, but that was still lower than Singapore’s 147 papers, Japan’s 671, China’s 743 and the US’ 6,065 published in the journals between 2012 and 2016, the survey showed.

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