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Imbalances between the Quantity and Quality of China’s Solar Energy Research

by Rongrong Li 1,2 and Xuefeng Wang 1,*
1
School of Management & Economics, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
2
School of Economics & Management, China University of Petroleum (East China), Qingdao 266580, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 623; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030623
Received: 30 December 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 22 January 2019 / Published: 24 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
China’s solar energy industry is developing rapidly and China’s solar energy research is experiencing a high speed of development alongside it. Is China’s solar energy research growth quantity-driven (paper-driven) or quality-driven (citation-driven)? Answering this question is important for China’s solar research field and industrial sector, and has implications for China’s other renewable research programs. Applying statistical methods, the citation analysis method, and web of science data, this study investigated China’s solar energy research between 2007 and 2015 from two perspectives: quantity (numbers of papers) and quality (number of paper citations). The results show that the number of Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-E) papers on solar energy in China has grown rapidly, surpassing the United States to become the world leader in 2015. However, the growth rate in scientific production was consistently higher than the growth rate of the number of times cited. When considering the average number of times a paper was cited among the top ten countries researching solar energy, China was in last place from 2007 to 2015. Further, the impact and effectiveness of China’s papers were below the world average from 2010 to 2015, and experienced a sharp decreasing trend. These results suggest that China’s solar energy research is a quantitatively driven model, with a mismatch between quantity and quality. New policies should be introduced to encourage high-quality research and achieve a balance between quantity and quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: solar energy; China; activity index; attractivity index; impact and effectiveness solar energy; China; activity index; attractivity index; impact and effectiveness
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Li, R.; Wang, X. Imbalances between the Quantity and Quality of China’s Solar Energy Research. Sustainability 2019, 11, 623.

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