In most university libraries in China, it is easy to find the latest western academic resources, but it is difficult to find Chinese academic resources in the west.
This awkward position has been called "asymmetry in the changing world cultural order" by Roger Ames, professor of the University of Hawaii and co-director of the Asian Studies Development Program of the East-West Center, in his speech in Beijing Normal University on Nov. 18.
About 2.13 million Chinese scholars publish nearly two million academic articles in 6,449 academic periodicals of China each year, with 3.2 billion annual downloads.
At the "2017 Forum on the future of China Academic Journals" on Nov. 22 and 23, publication experts across China and over 8,000 academic journal employees joined to seek a resolution to break this asymmetry of academic journal development.
In his opening speech, Shi Feng, director of the China Periodicals Association, said that periodicals played a key role in boosting innovative development, creative talent training, domestic and overseas cultural exchange and Chinese soft power.
In recent years, Chinese periodicals have witnessed both quantitative and qualitative development, as well as digital transformation. However, many experts say academic journal development still falls short.
In 2016, 23.4 percent of science academic articles by Chinese scholars were published in overseas journals.
"This indicates a mismatch between the overall development of academic journals and the level of creativity in China, which poses a serious challenge to academia," said Xiao Hong of the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI).
In 2017, the forum released a report on the global and domestic influence of China's academic journals. China's academic journals still lack promptness in "online first publication."
In the digital era, online first publication has become an arena of international academic competition.
"Publication is the priority," said Zhu Bangfen, chairman of the China Editology Society for Science Periodicals (CESSP). He suggested an academic platform with a quick and timely publication system be built for Chinese scholars.
Wang Zhizhen, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), said though not all Chinese scholars were willing to publish their articles abroad, two crucial factors -- a long publishing cycle and single alternative publishing language -- had stymied the outflow of academic articles abroad.
She suggested that Chinese periodicals select and publish creative research results as quickly as possible, especially revolutionary ones, providing a publication "express lane."
Another CAS academician Wang Dingsheng put a more fundamental resolution on the table. "To reverse the tendency of academic article outflows, we should build our own academic evaluation standard," Wang said.
Zhu Bangfen criticized the impact factor-oriented, Science Citation Index-oriented, and Social Science Citation Index-oriented standards, which have long dominated Chinese academic journals and obstructed their progress. In the future, academic evaluation standards should shift to the quality of research and their actual impact on scientific research in China.
"Academic journals of a technological power should take the social responsibility of leading trends in scientific technology, demonstrate the general level of national scientific research, support the right of first publication of scientific research results and protect the right of intellectual property," said Wang Zhixin, general manager of Science China Press.
The improvement of academic quality cannot be realized without the supply of first-class academic articles.
"Academic journals should keep their essence and do their best in quality supervision," said Wu Shulin, vice executive director of the Publishers Association of China. He said the industry must stick to publishing real creative articles.
"The development of academic journals should be equipped with advanced technology. The CNKI platform has already promoted a three-layer intelligent service of knowledge aimed at meeting the different needs of basic searching, whole field searching and individual customized searching, and strengthened academic exchange in academia through its social network functions," said Zhang Hongwei, deputy general manager of Tsinghua Tongfang Knowledge Network (TTKN).
AI technology is also considered very important in the transformation of Chinese academic journals. Zhang Zhenhai, also a deputy general manager of TTKN, has introduced the cutting-edge attempts of CNKI in building search engines based on AI neural networks, making progress in image-forming and intelligent question-answer systems.