Re: JAIRO (Japanese Institutional Repositories Online)

From: Syun Tutiya <tutiya_at_KENON.L.CHIBA-U.AC.JP>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 11:28:14 +0900


> You appear to be falling into the Nihonjinron trap in believing that Japan is
> unique.

That does not seem to a correct description. I have already fallen
into your Nihonjinron trap, though I don't like to do any
Nihonjinron. For thouse of you this term, "Nihonjinron," which could
be translated as the discussion of the Japanese people, does not
make sense, let me add that the Nihonjinron is a particular set of
attitudes and discourses which tend to view the Japanese nationality
not only as unique and unintelligible worldwide but, interetingly,
inferior to the "Western" cultures.

But as a good Japanese student and scholar, trained in the Japanese
educational system successfully, I am proud to say that there are some
things I as a Japanese alone know which others, mayby including my
Japanese colleagues, might not know. If you call it a "Nihonjinron,"
yes, I am trapped. But if you say

> Japanese
> universities are moving towards greater requirements on their academics to
> publish in international journals in English. Alongside these moves, we
> should be promoting the adoption of a deposit mandate to ensure the broadest
> impact of these articles.

I don't think I can agree. Japaense research institutions were under
severe pressure toward pulihishing their results in international
journals in the 1990s and they, together with the never-stable
government then, have succeeded in increasing the number of articles
published in the impact-factor branded journals, which are
international, in ten years. Last year, China overtook Japan in terms
of the number of published articles and Japan's "market share" is
gradually decreasing, but China has over ten times as large a
population so I don't care. The pressure still continues, as you say
in your posting, of course, but the researchers here apparently want
to talk to those in rich enough universities worldwide through the
impact-factor branded journals, whose number is far less than half of
Stevan's "25,000" titles. And the pressure itself is equally strong
all over the advanced societies including China.

You say the Japanese universities are now forced to improve their
international representation, and I agree. But if you look at the THE
ranking or other rankings, the problem about our universities does not
lie in their research impact but in their "education" impact.
Research related scores, like the number of articles published in
branded journals, have been going up, probably not because of the
organic growth of the production but because of the improvement of the
precision in counting, though the institutional summary is actually
very difficult on account of the tough task of name disumbiguation(The
University of Tokyo might have increased their score thanks to the
many other Tokyo Universities of <Scholary-Genre-Name> which tend to
be merged as part of Tokyo University, though the accuracy is getting

So I should say that if the international thing is important in the
Japanese context, that's not the issue around education rather than
research. The university management is under higher pressure with
respect to education than to research. Without good enough students,
universities can not survive only with good researchers. I don't
think this is any "Nihonjinron" but an objective view of the situation
of the current Japanese higher education. So the talks about
mandating can't get prioritized in terms of management and the faculty
is passive not because of bureaucracy but because just "sitting
pretty." Of course, this does not mean I would not argue for the
mandating in the good sense.

Thanks anyway for rainsing such interesting but arguably important


Received on Sun Sep 19 2010 - 08:51:59 BST

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