How to break the “Siwei”? -- practice and enlightenment based on research institute evaluation of Chinese Academy of Sciences

Mar. 23,2021
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In October 2018, the Ministry of Science and Technology and other four administrations jointly issued the Notice on Implementing the Clean-up “Paper-, Job Title-, Academic Qualification- and Award-Only” Special Action (Breaking the “Siwei” for short.), which aroused widespread interest in universities and research institutions. All departments and units have cleared up the “Siwei” problems according to the spirit of the documents, and canceled some obviously unreasonable “Siwei” index requirements in the assessment system or regulations at all levels, which has played a certain role in rectifying the deviation. However, there are new concerns in the scientific and technological circles: what are the alternatives once breaking the “Siwei”? Does it mean more quantitative indicators are applied in research evaluation? With all kinds of voices interwoven, the reform of science and technology evaluation is challenging.

Prof. Xiaoxuan LI and Prof. Fang XU, two researchers from CAS, are attempting to provide a successful case for breaking the “Siwei” in their recent paper titled How to Break the “Siwei”?—Practice and Enlightenment Based on Research Institute Evaluation of Chinese Academy of Sciences. By analyzing the evolution of the research institute evaluation of Chinese Academy of Sciences in the past 20 years from the first stage of quantitative ranking evaluation to the fourth stage of qualitative evaluation, it is concluded that,

(1) In China, it is possible and feasible to break the “Siwei”. The research institute evaluation of Chinese Academy of Sciences has experienced the evolution from the first stage of quantitative ranking evaluation to the fourth stage of qualitative evaluation. That is to say, the evaluation results are obtained from the sum of quantitative indicators in the first stage to peer reviews in the fourth stage, and the quantitative indicators are only used as supporting basis, which has actually found a way to break the “Siwei” in institutional evaluation, and it can be called the CAS model.

(2) Breaking the “Siwei” can't pursue one step in place. The CAS and qualified “Double First-class” colleges and universities, important projects set by National Natural Science Foundation of China, the national science and technology awards, and important talent plan should play the leading role in bearing the responsibility of breaking the “Siwei”. The formation of CAS model is conditional, CAS actively improved the evaluation system and methods according to the strategic requirements at different stages, more importantly, its research ability and level have progressed rapidly, which reached a sufficient academic height.

(3) One can't blindly break the “Siwei” simply and mechanically. In the absence of conditions, qualitative evaluation cannot simply replace quantitative evaluation to represent breaking the “Siwei”. There is no difference between quantitative evaluation and qualitative evaluation of CAS at different stages, as long as it is consistent with the development strategy and conditions, it can be regarded as an effective evaluation system. From the management perspective, under the premise of specific development conditions and avoiding improper use, we should bring the advantages of quantitative evaluation into full play while helping the development of competition and emergence of young talents.

The research findings are published in the 12th volume, 35th issue of Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2020.

Corresponding Author: LI Xiaoxuan
CNKI Press Officer: LI Jingjing YANG Na

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