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Examining China's science and technology statistics: a systematic perspective

Denis Fred Simon (University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA)
Cong Cao (School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)

Journal of Science and Technology Policy in China

ISSN: 1758-552X

Article publication date: 24 February 2012



The purpose of this paper is to discuss the reliability of official Chinese government statistics in general, overview the evolution of China's S&T (science and technology) statistical system while highlighting the main sources of such statistics, point out some of the particular problems related to China's S&T statistics, and provide perspectives about how to best use and interpret these numbers.


Statistics of China's human resources in science and technology has been used to illustrate how such S&T statistics should be interpreted.


While the S&T data collection involving multiple government ministries causes problems, the interpretation of the data, including reconciling data from different sources and piecing information together, poses challenges to drawing an appropriate and overall picture of the development of S&T in China. In order to achieve a better understanding of China's S&T statistics, student researchers of Chinese science and technology have to comprehend the definitions, exhaust all the sources, and find and recognize discrepancies.


This paper represents the first effort to examine China's S&T statistical system, an important source of information regarding China's S&T development.



Fred Simon, D. and Cao, C. (2012), "Examining China's science and technology statistics: a systematic perspective", Journal of Science and Technology Policy in China, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 26-48.



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