Despite a recent improvement, the number of high-quality research papers published by scientists from mainland China has remained low.
In this article, Ray Wu of Cornell University, United States, argues that this is because there are few productive scientists in China, and the level of financial support for basic research is inadequate.
The short-term nature of research funding means that Chinese scientists tend to work on projects that are likely to produce quick results. In most cases, such studies lack novelty and creativity. China should move forward by establishing a truly fair and transparent system for reviewing research proposals, and should substantially increase its budget for basic research, Wu says.
Reference: Nature 428, 206 (2004)