The impact factors of social media users’ forwarding behavior of COVID-19 vaccine topic: Based on empirical analysis of Chinese Weibo users – PMC

Abstract:  Introduction

Social media, an essential source of public access to information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, has a significant effect on the transmission of information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines and helps the public gain correct insights into the effectiveness and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. The forwarding behavior of social media users on posts concerned with COVID-19 vaccine topics can rapidly disseminate vaccine information in a short period, which has a significant effect on transmission and helps the public access relevant information. However, the factors of social media users’ forwarding posts are still uncertain thus far. In this paper, we investigated the factors of the forwarding COVID-19 vaccines Weibo posts on Chinese social media and verified the correlation between social network characteristics, Weibo textual sentiment characteristics, and post forwarding.


This paper used data mining, machine learning, sentiment analysis, social network analysis, and regression analysis. Using “???? (COVID-19 vaccine)” as the keyword, we used data mining to crawl 121,834 Weibo posts on Sina Weibo from 1 January 2021 to 31 May 2021. Weibo posts not closely correlated with the topic of the COVID-19 vaccines were filtered out using machine learning. In the end, 3,158 posts were used for data analysis. The proportions of positive sentiment and negative sentiment in the textual of Weibo posts were calculated through sentiment analysis. On that basis, the sentiment characteristics of Weibo posts were determined. The social network characteristics of information transmission on the COVID-19 vaccine topic were determined through social network analysis. The correlation between social network characteristics, sentiment characteristics of the text, and the forwarding volume of posts was verified through regression analysis.


The results suggest that there was a significant positive correlation between the degree of posting users in the social network structure and the amount of forwarding. The relationship between the closeness centrality and the forwarding volume was significantly positive. The betweenness centrality was significantly positively correlated with the forwarding volume. There was no significant relationship between the number of posts containing more positive sentiments and the forwarding volume of posts. There was a significant positive correlation between the number of Weibo posts containing more negative sentiments and the forwarding volume.


According to the characteristics of users, COVID-19 vaccine posts from opinion leaders, “gatekeepers,” and users with high-closeness centrality are more likely to be reposted. Users with these characteristics should be valued for their important role in disseminating information about COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, the sentiment contained in the Weibo post is an important factor influencing the public to forward vaccine posts. Special attention should be paid to the negative sentimental tendency contained in this post on Weibo to mitigate the negative impact of the information epidemic and improve the transmission effect of COVID-19 vaccine information.

Asia tipped to follow US lead on open access | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Asian research powerhouses will introduce open access (OA) mandates within the next “two to three” years, experts have predicted, in the wake of last month’s landmark order by the Biden administration.

Under the US decision, the published results of federally funded research must be made immediately and freely available to readers, starting from 2025. This follows the introduction of similar rules across Europe and the UK, spearheaded by the Plan S initiative.

Home to four of the top 10 research-producing countries – China, Japan, South Korea and India – Asia now appears poised to become the next battleground….”

Tackling the politicisation of COVID-19 data reporting through open access data sharing – The Lancet Infectious Diseases

“Regression analysis of country-specific death rates among 137 countries, showed that approximately 400?000 deaths were estimated to be unaccounted for during the first year of the pandemic, most likely among autocratic governments.

 During the early stages of the pandemic, the Chinese Government limited knowledge of the emerging disease and downplayed its severity. The Chinese Government did not allow the media to use terms like fatal and lockdown. Houthi rebels in Yemen relied on under-reporting cases to avoid accountability and maintain economic activity, leading to the reporting of only four COVID-19 cases and one death in the highly populated Sana’a City over the first year of the pandemic. Most countries report cases and deaths that are both probable and confirmed by testing. However, in Russia, only COVID-19 confirmed deaths are included in official counts, despite low supplies of PCR tests, leading to vast under-reporting of deaths. Similarly, some Brazilian hospitals have been implicated in the under-reporting of COVID-19 deaths in response to government pressure to avoid triggering the apparent need for lockdown measures. When official and aggregate sources were available, the JHU CSSE team overcame such challenges by implementing innovative anomaly detection processes and data fusion approaches in the data coalition process.

Political polarisation has threatened the reliability of data supplied by US Government agencies. The Trump White House Administration advised hospitals to send data on SARS-CoV-2 and intensive care unit capacities to a private company, bypassing the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Concerningly, a relationship was exposed between the private contractor and the Trump family’s corporation. The switch to sending data to a private contractor led to a hiatus in publicly available data from the US CDC. Moreover, the transition was accompanied by sporadic updates, with many irregularities in the data and inconsistencies in the definition of metrics from the contracted private company….”

Uses of the Journal Impact Factor in national journal rankings in China and Europe – Kulczycki – Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  This paper investigates different uses of the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) in national journal rankings and discusses the merits of supplementing metrics with expert assessment. Our focus is national journal rankings used as evidence to support decisions about the distribution of institutional funding or career advancement. The seven countries under comparison are China, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway, Poland, and Turkey—and the region of Flanders in Belgium. With the exception of Italy, top-tier journals used in national rankings include those classified at the highest level, or according to tier, or points implemented. A total of 3,565 (75.8%) out of 4,701 unique top-tier journals were identified as having a JIF, with 55.7% belonging to the first Journal Impact Factor quartile. Journal rankings in China, Flanders, Poland, and Turkey classify journals with a JIF as being top-tier, but only when they are in the first quartile of the Average Journal Impact Factor Percentile. Journal rankings that result from expert assessment in Denmark, Finland, and Norway regularly classify journals as top-tier outside the first quartile, particularly in the social sciences and humanities. We conclude that experts, when tasked with metric-informed journal rankings, take into account quality dimensions that are not covered by JIFs.


SciOpen, an international digital publishing | EurekAlert!

“On June 24, 2022, the 5th Forum for World STM Journals, hosted by the Chinese Association for Science and Technology (CAST) and the People’s Government of Hunan Province, opened in Changsha. SciOpen (, an international digital publishing platform for STM journals independently developed by Tsinghua University Press, was officially launched at the opening ceremony of the forum….”

Early firm engagement, government research funding, and the privatization of public knowledge | SpringerLink

Abstract:  Early firm engagement in the scientific discovery process in public institutions is an important form of science-based innovation. However, early firm engagement may negatively affect the academic value of public papers due to firms’ impulse to privatize public knowledge. In this paper, we crawl all patent and paper text data of the Distinguished Young Scholars of the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) in the chemical and pharmaceutical field. We use semantic recognition techniques to establish the link between scientific discovery papers and patented technologies to explore the relationship between the quality of public knowledge production, government research funding, and early firm engagement in the science-based innovation process. The empirical results show that, first, there is a relatively smooth inverted U-shaped relationship between government research funding for scholars and the quality of their publications. An initial increase in government research funding positively drives the quality of public knowledge production, but the effect turns negative when research funding is excessive. Second, government research funding for scholars can act as a value signal, triggering the firm’s impulse to privatize high-value scientific discoveries. Hence, early firm engagement moderates the inverted U-shaped relationship such that at low levels of research funding, early firm engagement can improve the quality of public knowledge production, and at high levels of research funding, early firm engagement can further reduce the quality of public knowledge production.


Should open access lead to closed research? The trends towards paying to perform research

Abstract:  Open  Access  (OA)  emerged  as  an  important  transition  in  scholarly  publishing  worldwide during the past two decades. So far, this transition is increasingly based on article processing charges (APC), which create a new paywall on the researchers’ side. Publishing is part of the research  process  and  thereby  necessary  to  perform  research.  This  study  analyses  the  global trends towards paying to perform research by combing observed trends in publishing from 2015 to 2020 with an APC price list. APC expenses have sharply increased among six countries with different  OA  policies:  the  USA,  China,  the  UK,  France,  the  Netherlands,  and  Norway.  The estimated global revenues from APC among major publishers now exceed 2 billion US dollars annually. Mergers and takeovers show that the industry is moving towards APC-based OA as the more profitable business  model.  Research publishing will be closed  to  those who cannot make an institution or project money payment. Our results lead to a discussion of whether APC is the best way to promote OA.

Boycott heralds Chinese publishing shake-up | May 3, 2022 | Times Higher Education (THE)

“China’s top research organisation has suspended its use of the country’s largest academic database, causing some scholars to question whether its stranglehold on the sector might be loosened. Several research institutes under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have pulled out of its subscription to the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) due to mounting subscription fees, local news outlet Caixin reported. According to reports, CAS made the decision over mounting costs. In 2021, CAS paid ¥10 million (£1.2 million) to access the database, with a similar amount expected for 2022. Academics said the reasoning behind the move – long-simmering frustrations over fees – was understandable enough. But they wondered what its knock-on effects could be in a market largely controlled by a single, powerful player. Roughly 90 per cent of China’s journal articles are listed on CNKI, according to estimates.  Futao Huang, a professor at the Research Institute for Higher Education at Hiroshima University, suggested that CNKI’s monopoly was under threat. While he said it was “extremely difficult” to predict what could happen, a reduced role for CNKI “might open up the market to new players”, including open access platforms, which allow readers to access papers for free….

Fei Shu, a senior researcher in the Chinese Academy of Science and Education Evaluation at Hangzhou Dianzi University, argued that “oligopoly” was a more fitting term for the country’s research database market, but he was also sceptical that a move away from its biggest player would result in a proliferation of openly accessible journal articles. “In my perspective, some other research institutions will follow the CAS and stop [their] subscription if they cannot get a deal with CNKI,” similar to when Western sectors boycotted Elsevier in the past, he said. “However, it has little to do with open access. In China, due to [its] censorship, OA is not favoured and promoted by the government. I don’t believe that this situation will change in a short term.””

China overtakes the US in terms of research quality, finds study – Physics World

“The quality of China’s scientific research output exceeded that of the US in 2019. That is according to a new analysis by researchers in the US, which also found that China had already overtaken the European Union in terms of research quality by 2015.  

China’s total research output has grown rapidly in recent years, but there has been a widespread belief that the “quality” – judged by the number of citations papers receive – is not as high as other countries. A common measure of a nation’s research quality is the percentage of its papers appearing in the top 1% of the most-cited papers globally. Since citation practices vary widely across disciplines, researchers typically weight the citation data of papers according to their fields, before comparing countries’ scientific output. When comparing field-weighted citation data, the US has a higher percentage of research in the top 1% worldwide than China does….”

Transformative Agreement signed between the Microbiology Society and Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences | Microbiology Society

“The Microbiology Society and Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMCAS) are pleased to announce their transformative agreement starting in 2022. The Publish and Read model will allow researchers at affiliated institutions to publish an unlimited number of Open Access (OA) articles in hybrid and fully OA titles, as well as have full reading access to the Society’s journal portfolio….”

Sci-Hub downloads show countries where pirate paper site is most used

“Download figures for Sci-Hub, the popular but controversial website that hosts pirated copies of scientific papers, reveal where people are using the site most. The statistics show that users accessing Sci-Hub from China are by far the most active — and that with more than 25 million downloads, usage in China outstrips the rest of the top ten countries combined (see ‘Global resource’).

Perhaps surprisingly, the figures also show that the United States, in second place, has about one-third as many downloads, at 9.3 million. “There is a widespread opinion that Sci-Hub is of no use in the United States, because universities have money to pay for subscriptions, but that is not true,” says Alexandra Elbakyan, the site’s founder.

The statistics are updated daily and show the number of downloads from each country over the past month — but they are not normalized for the size of the research population….”

International Tensions and “Science Nationalism” in a Networked World: Strategies and Implications

“The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) Executive Roundtable that took place as part of the CNI Fall 2020 Virtual Membership Meeting examined the collision between developing international tensions and science nationalism on one side, and trends towards global, network-based collaboration and scholarly communication, particularly as driven by the adoption of open science practices, on the other….

There is a very broad-based effort to restructure the terms of open access (OA) publishing across the globe through so-called “transformative agreements” and efforts such as the European Union-based Plan S, which stipulates (among other things) that scientific publications resulting from publicly funded research be published in OA journals or platforms. Currently there’s a rough and still tentative alignment between the US and Europe on this effort; in particular, there is some ambiguity about the extent of support by US federal funders, as distinct from research universities (who have a wide range of views), for the Plan S style approach. Given the scale of publishing by Chinese researchers, it seems likely that unless China supports this restructuring effort, the economics globally will be at best problematic. While a few years ago some Chinese scholarly organizations seem to have expressed conceptual support for both this kind of OA and related initiatives about open research data, it’s unclear where this commitment now stands, or how it may relate to other emerging Chinese scholarly publishing strategies….

Some recent policy announcements seem to suggest that China is de-emphasizing the importance of publishing in very high prestige Western journals; interestingly, this is being cast as consistent with the efforts of Western and global open science advocates to focus assessments of scholarly impact on quality rather than quantity, and to de-emphasize measures such as the impact factor of the journals that results are published in. Note that to the extent that China is, or may be, investing in a national publishing infrastructure, this implies shifting investment away from contributions that might support a global restructuring of the Western scholarly publishing system (discussed above) towards new OA models. …”

Tracing the footsteps of open research data in China

Abstract:  While the scientific research value, economic value and social value ofresearch data have become increasingly apparent, the significance of openresearch data has reached a consensus. This article gives an introductionto open research data policies and measures in China, and reports on thestatus of constructing necessary infrastructure, specifically open datarepositories. We compare open data repositories in China and Westerncountries in terms of scale, subject distribution, data policies, service andcontent operations. In addition, this article summarizes methods and moti-vations for data sharing among researchers in China. Finally, the paper dis-cusses the characteristics, potential problems and challenges of China’sopen research data practices. We conclude with some suggestions for thefuture development of open research data in China from data policy, infra-structure construction, compliance with international standards andnorms, credibility and influence improvement, incentives for data sharingand encouraging data sharing research practices.

China releases over 7.43 mln pieces of biological resource data

“The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has officially published a catalog of biological resources, with more than 7.43 million pieces of biological resource data released.

The catalog collects biological resource data from 72 resource libraries in 40 research institutes of the CAS, which includes biological specimens, plant resources, genetic resources, animal experiment resources, and biodiversity monitoring network resources.

All the resource data are available to the public on network portals, the CAS said….”

Measuring the Degrees of Openness of Educational Journals in China with the Open Access Spectrum (OAS) Evaluation Tool

Abstract:  At present, the information dissemination and acquisition behavior of scholarly journals have undergone great changes. Electronic resources have become an important information source, and the subjects of network information release have become increasingly large, and instant access to information has become the mainstream trend. In order to promote the dissemination and exchange of academic information in the era of big data, and promote free and convenient access to scientific research results, more and more journals in China have joined the ranks of “open access”. This paper aims to reveal the openness of educational journals in China, so that readers, researchers, research institutions and publishers can better understand the status quo of open access of Chinese journals. This study will adopt the OAS tool proposed by SPARC, select 284 educational journals collected by CNKI as the research samples, and combine the actual situation in China, make appropriate improvements to the open evaluation tool, and use the improved evaluation tool and evaluation system to evaluate the openness of Chinese educational journals.