SCIENTIA GEOGRAPHICA SINICA ›› 2011, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (9): 1043-1049.doi: 10.13249/j.cnki.sgs.2011.09.1043

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Mechanism of Integration of Chinese Academic Knowledge Network into Global Research System During the Transition Period

HENNEMANN Stefan1, WANG Tao2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geography, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, 35390 Giessen, Germany;
    2. School of Geography Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210046, China
  • Received:2010-11-25 Revised:2011-05-23 Online:1997-09-20 Published:1997-09-20

Abstract: The Chinese science and technology system is currently going through a period of considerable transition. Within a period of just 10 years, not only was the university system consolidated and upgraded, but the public research organizations also found themselves completely restructured in order to meet the future requirements of their country, namely the production of new knowledge. The tendency of globalization also requires the integration of the Chinese academic system into the global research system. This article aims to answer the question as to which group of universities and research organizations is most relevant for the absorbing of knowledge directly and indirectly from foreign research-related organizations. For this purpose, the international scientific publications from 1998 to 2004 with Chinese involvement were analyzed. A network constructed from the co-publication data functions as an aid to understanding the paths of knowledge exchanged between foreign and Chinese players in the scientific field. The analysis presented in this article has shown that Chinese academic knowledge network becomes larger and denser over time, showing properties of scale-free network topologies. The probability of having a 211-university in a path between any two nodes in the network doubled from 1998 to 2004. Chinese elite universities have a strong and increasingly dominant position connecting China to the global knowledge system than public research organizations. The decreasing influence of public research organizations in the knowledge network can be seen as a remarkable shift from the pre-reform period in the university and science sector. All universities apart from the 211-project universities are comparatively detached from the knowledge creation process, and this marginal position is becoming more pronounced. Furthermore, although Beijing is still as the core of the knowledge network in China, but the disparity of core-periphery shows a narrowing trend. The evolution of China's academic knowledge network should be due to the active integration effects of the elite universities and the trickle-down effect of global knowledge systems. Clearly, the integration of the Chinese system into the global scene is following a unique path, but there is still a lot to learn for other large developing economies such as India, Brazil, and Russia. Top-down political programs that foster the introduction of elements of competition produce strong guidelines for the concentration on key development sectors, suggesting the pooling of resources into these selected sectors, while comprehensive innovative talent initiatives can be used to propel these economies into a relevant position in the global science arena.

CLC Number: 

  • F119.9