41 Chinese organizations issue memo to tackle academic fraud
In the latest attempt to strengthen the scientific integrity of research produced by China, early this month, 41 Chinese organizations and departments issued a joint memorandum to set up a standard disciplinary system for academics and institutions who commit academic misconduct. According to the memo, the Chinese government wants to build an honest and trustworthy atmosphere for scientific and technological innovation.
Researchers who violate ethical and globally accepted publication practices and standards would be subjected to various punishments, such as being stripped of their funding and awards. On the other hand, institutions that are found guilty of academic fraud could stand to lose their funding and might be disbarred from taking up research projects of national interest. The organizations and institutions that have signed this memo range from scientific and technological institutions such as Chinese Academy of Sciences to banks and radio and television administration.
China is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of science and technology. Early this year, China surpassed the U.S. to become the largest producer of scientific articles. While the country has been making scientific advancement at a rapid rate, it has constantly had to deal with several incidents of academic fraud. One of the incidents that gained worldwide attention was Springer Nature announcing the mass retraction of 107 papers authored mostly by Chinese researchers.
In the past, China has issued guidelines and policies to tackle academic misconduct and reform the system. But this is probably the first time that institutions and organizations that are not from the fields of science and technology have taken steps to prevent dishonesty. Each organization or department will have the authority to handle its cases independently and would have to then report the status to the government. In most cases, the information regarding the investigation will be shared publicly.
The memorandum is being viewed as a bold step to boost credibility and eliminate the cases of academic dishonesty in Chinese research.
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