DNA sculpture at China Science & Technology Museum, Beijing. Source: by Mitch Altman (via Flickr.com, CC-Lizenz (CC-BY-SA 2.0)), 2011.


Lise Meitner Research Group: China in the Global System of Science


Fiona Bewley

Short Working Papers on Science and Society in China and the World

Fascinating yet underexplored developments in science and society in China and beyond.

This short paper series presents first observations that warrant a closer look, and reports on ongoing studies by scholars and guests of the Lise Meitner Research Group China in the Global System of Science.

In unprecedented speed and style the People’s Republic of China has become one of the most significant players within the global system of science over just the last two decades. The country is now the world’s largest producer of scientific articles and is a fast climber in global academic rankings. The Chinese government strongly promotes this rise, differentiates clearly between the natural sciences and the social sciences and humanities, and aims at an authoritarian control of science while at the same time pushing for original breakthroughs and global leadership. It is funding research extensively both domestically and internationally as well as attracting talent from around the world.

How is this all happening, and what are the implications of these developments for the Chinese science system and society, and with regard to structures and practices of international academic cooperation? In an analytical yet jargon-free style, these brief texts deal with related trends in areas such as science and scholarship as a social system, science policy and politics, academic networks, exchange and communities, societal debates about science and technology, ethics and norms, and much more.

Observations analyses seek to encourage the reader’s attention by pointing to gaps in our knowledge, stimulating novel conceptual and theoretical approaches to the detected developments, and asking exciting questions worth pursuing in future research. Including illustrations and links to sources and further reading, they serve as a first resource for a general audience and as inspiration for new research endeavors.