China is catching up with the forerunners in basic science research, with an increasing number of themes and journals complied by Chinese scientists being referenced by the Science Citation Index (SCI), according to China's Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).
China was ranked fifth in the world in terms of the number of its journals cited by the SCI in 2004 and 2005, up from 15th place in 1991, MOST statistics showed.
"The number of our themes and journals cited by the SCI is an important indicator of the success of our research progress in basic science fields," said Zhang Xianen, the director of MOST's scientific research department.
"The greater number of Chinese scientists winning international prizes and occupying senior positions in major international research organizations also proves that China is catching up with leading countries in the field of science and technology," Zhang said.
In the last two years, 14 Chinese scientists have won international prizes including the Fresnel Prize awarded by the European Physical Society, and 40 Chinese have been granted memberships to international academic organizations and science academies of other countries, he said.
MOST statistics show that there were 115,400 basic science researchers in China in 2005, 46.5 percent higher than in 2001.
The Chinese government has promised to increase the country's investment in basic science research in an attempt to build a "self-innovative" country.
(Xinhua News Agency November 17, 2006)