We were up early to catch the 8:30 am bullet train from Wuxi to Beijing. The Wuxi station is new, of modern architecture, to see the bullet train pull in here was impressive. We got on the train, it eased up to speed and then we’re going 200 mph. The track is elevated above the ground by about 30 feet, a railroad bridge across a large section of country, so the view of the countryside was great. Our ride to Beijing took about 5 hours, very enjoyable and another chance to see more of China. As you go north to Beijing, the climate becomes drier and the rice fields give way to cornfields and other crops.
Bullet train arriving at Wuxi station
A topic that comes up among our group and during our academic exchanges, is the accessibility of Chinese science. There is excellent scientific work being conducted here and much of it is being published in the leading national journals, such as the Journal of Fishery Sciences of China. However, it is difficult for non-native speakers to access this work. This situation is unfortunate because opportunities for information sharing are being prevented, thus hindering opportunities for international collaboration and learning. In talking with scientists here, you quickly understand that the scientific issues they face are similar to our own. For example, what are the best ways to study the transport and fate of pollutants in rivers and what is their effect on a fishery? Chinese scientists are currently conducting research to answer these questions in both freshwater and marine environments, including investigations on bivalve mollusks. Hence, their discoveries and methods are beneficial to the international community.
Since international journals are published in English, finding ways to assist in the outlet of Chinese science to such journals is important. Their top studies could easily pass the rigors of peer review based on novelty of the hypotheses being tested, experimental design, statistical analysis and so on, but sometimes the poor writing quality is a hang-up for many reviewers, hence leading to a high rejection rate. It is challenging for any scientist to write a high quality paper that will pass the scrutiny of peer-review. But to do that then convert your work into English is twice as hard. Solutions do exist, for example providing more opportunities for student training at English speaking universities or having an English speaking colleague review your manuscript before submission to an international journal, but ultimately reviewers need to recognize good science despite the presence of grammatical imperfections. They need to have the patience to work through the errors and provide constructive feedback. Otherwise, opportunities to see what our colleagues around the world are discovering will be missed.
More of the days photos can be seen at: