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The Numbers Game

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Science  31 May 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6136, pp. 1037-1039
DOI: 10.1126/science.340.6136.1037

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The accuracy and availability of data in China vary by field. But some themes crop up again and again: Cases are under- or overreported, data are obtained but not released, and definitions and methodologies shift from one use to the next. These problems are more pressing now, as fields like sociology and economics are rapidly developing. The lack of access to good data has become a "major hindrance to the advancement of the social sciences in China," but some social scientists say they are beginning to remove those distortions.