The 25 May issue of Nature features Dr Joy Zhang’s commentary on the state of Chinese governance of scientific research, ‘Transparency Is a Growth Industry’. China is currently the world’s second largest investor on scientific research and is increasingly seen as an advantageous destination for scientific powers, such as the UK to forge sustained research collaborations. Drawing on her research on Chinese scientific governance in the past 12 years, Dr Zhang highlighted a welcoming shift of attitudes towards scientific communication and public engagement among Chinese scientific elites. Dr Zhang further mapped out key domestic and international factors that prompted such change but she also cautioned that a ‘coordinated structural and cultural change’ is needed within Chinese institutions for China to establish public engagement that matches its scientific ambition.
Dr Zhang was invited to write this contribution based on her current ESRC project, ‘Governing Scientific Accountability in China’, and on her 2015 publication in which she identified the ‘credibility paradox’ phenomena underlying Chinese scientific controversies. That is, as formal science communication channels are often closely tied to the vindication of development agendas, it undermines the public’s perception of the credibility of science, and promotes an erroneous perception among scientists that they are (politically) ’unqualified’ to contribute to public outreach.
Full Nature commentary can be accessed at: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v545/n7655_supp/full/545S65a.html
Full paper on the ‘Credibility Paradox’ phenomena can be accessed at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4595815/