China’s Academic Profession Hit by “Involution”

  • Qiang Zha York University
Keywords: China, academic profession, robust publications, innovation lag, academic involution


China’s robust production of research publications has not translated into innovation, and the country is riddled with key technology bottlenecks amid the US-China trade war. A situation of “involution” has been cited as a responsible factor for this paradox. When translated into the academic profession, “involution” refers to a situation whereby most university-based researchers work harder and publish more papers, while the innovative strength of Chinese higher education does not grow significantly.

Author Biography

Qiang Zha, York University

Qiang Zha is associate professor at the Faculty of Education, York University, Toronto, Canada. Email:

How to Cite
Zha, Q. (2021). China’s Academic Profession Hit by “Involution”. International Higher Education, (107), 15-17. Retrieved from