In early 2017, R&D Magazine forecast that China would spend nearly $430 billion on research and development by the end of the year, amounting to nearly 21 percent of the estimated global total — a contribution second only to that of the United States ($527 billion).
That money, however, is not being put to good use. In 2010, Nature reported that “many of the country’s scientific journals are filled with incremental work, read by virtually no one and riddled with plagiarism.” A 1998 study found that Chinese scientists almost never reported negative results — a scientific impossibility.A 1998 study found that Chinese scientists almost never reported negative results — a scientific impossibility. Little seems to have changed since then. Null results remain extremely uncommon in traditional Chinese medicine papers according to a 2016 study. Today, China also leads the world in retractions due to fraudulent peer review, while a survey by Chinese regulators found that about 80 percent of clinical trial data was fabricated.
China has the manpower and financial resources to make a sizable contribution to the global research community. But the country’s scientific progress is being held back by an attitude that appears to favor quantity over quality, tradition over evidence, and conformity over creativity. That is a recipe for stagnation, not success. More.
But maybe that’s just because China is bigger than most Western nations. The underlying problem is probably philosophical. Keep up to date with Retraction Watch.
See also: Peer review “unscientific”: Tough words from editor of Nature