“Index the World for the Future”—this was the theme for the New Year 2022 Global Index Symposium jointly held by the BFSU Academy of Regional and Global Governance and Indexpedia in the multi-purpose hall at the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press on Friday, 31st December. Celebrating the culmination of BFSU’s pathbreaking work in index research led by university president Yang Dan, the symposium witnessed the unveiling of “Meta Index”—the world’s first index of indices—and the Declaration on the Ethics of Indices. Participants were treated to online demonstrations of Indexpedia—the first-ever encyclopedia of indices—and a pre-release of 20 new indices developed by BFSU.
Chaired by Wang Jianbin, executive vice dean of the BFSU Academy of Regional and Global Governance, the symposium commenced with a welcome speech from BFSU vice president Zhao Gang. During his opening address, Zhao spoke about BFSU’s focus on global languages, global cultures and global governance as part of its strategy to become a world-class university and further contribute to China’s international strategy.
President Yang Dan then went on to introduce the Symposium’s three major innovations—Indexpedia, Meta Index, and the Declaration on the Ethics of Indices. Explaining the relationship between the three, Yang described how the Declaration provides the values and ethical framework under which Indexpedia operated, while the Meta Index, in turn, acts as an evaluation system, appraising and rating the numerous indices on Indexpedia.
After his introduction, Yang officially launched Meta Index. Driven by the idea that indices need to be better understood, evaluated and developed, Meta Index synthesizes multiple data sources and index measures to provide a holistic evaluation of the world’s indices. At a time when the number of indices across the globe is increasing exponentially, Meta Index provides users with an easier way to understand indices and helps them to quickly find a range of high-quality indices to meet their needs. Looking to the future, Meta Index will act as a reference point for scholars and researchers studying indices and will help support the growth and development of higher-quality indices in the index market. The index will provide the groundwork for the development of index studies (indexology) as its own academic discipline.
Following this, Li Ziying, vice dean of the BFSU Academy of Regional and Global Governance proceeded to read the Declaration on the Ethics of Indices in Chinese, with Ren Wen, dean of the Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation delivering the English translation. The Declaration represents the world’s first articulation of a moral and ethical framework that covers international index work and is designed for index researchers and users. It calls for indices to be grounded in the principles of justice, openness and science and advocates that index research and use should be undertaken in an environment of academic independence, fair competition, and balanced development. The Declaration opposes the use of indices as a means for discrimination and calls for the international community to work together to research, create and use indices in a science-based and rational manner.
Niu Huayong, dean of the International Business School then provided participants with an introduction to Indexpedia. Making history as the world’s first-ever encyclopedia of indices, Indexpedia aims to break down disciplinary barriers by building a structured, dynamic and interactive encyclopedia of indices and establish an index-based global knowledge system across all disciplines. The site kicked off its first stage of development in 2021 and already collects data from 1,200 influential indices. Boasting a well-designed and interactive interface, Indexpedia has also reprocessed the data of almost 400 indices so that they can be presented in a more user-friendly way through images and graphs. Looking forwards, the site will gradually grow to incorporate multilingual versions and provide users with customized data analysis services. In this way, Indexpedia will provide the groundwork for greater innovation in index research and help create a formalized framework for index studies in our increasingly interconnected world.
In the subsequent round table discussions hosted on behalf of the BFSU Academy of Regional and Global Governance by Zhou Xinyu, participants heard from a number of experts in the field on how indices can be applied to social research and how index studies (indexology) can be further developed as a specialized discipline. Notable experts participating in the discussion included:
- Yang Dan—President of Beijing Foreign Language Studies University
- Yu Hongjun—Former vice minister for the International Department of the CPC Central Committee
- Yu Yunquan—President of the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies, China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration
- Cui Hongjian—Director of the Department for European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies
- Wang Yong—Academic Deputy Dean of the Institute of New Structural Economics at Peking University
- Wang Jiming—Professor at the Department of Information Management at Peking University
They spoke highly of the Meta Index, Declaration and Indexpedia at the symposium.
The symposium also included an announcement on a series of indices that will be released in 2022. These included 11 indices on international communication competencies, 4 indices on global governance and 5 indices on globalization.
The following media organisations also took part in interviews throughout the symposium: