Re­sult of aca­demic fraud in­ves­ti­ga­tion an­nounced

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

The re­sult of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a scan­dal in which a for­eign med­i­cal jour­nal re­tracted 107 pa­pers from China be­cause of peer re­view fraud was an­nounced by the Min­istry of Science and Tech­nol­ogy on Thurs­day.

The med­i­cal jour­nal Tu­mor Bi­ol­ogy, pub­lished by Springer Na­ture, re­tracted the pa­pers in April, af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion found the peer re­view process had been com­pro­mised by us­ing fab­ri­cated email ad­dresses of re­view­ers.

Of the 521 au­thors im­pli­cated, 11 were deemed in­no­cent with 24 still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Among the re­main­ing au­thors, 486 au­thors were found guilty of mis­con­duct at var­i­ous lev­els. A to­tal of 102 were found to be mainly re­spon­si­ble, 70 sec­on­dar­ily re­spon­si­ble and 314 did not par­tic­i­pate in fraud, said He De­fang, a min­istry of­fi­cial in charge of rule en­force­ment.

The 314 au­thors, who were found not guilty of fraud or ben­e­fit­ing from any sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal pro­grams or awards, were blamed for ne­glect­ing the man­age­ment of aca­demic achieve­ments pub­li­ca­tions.

In the 107 pa­pers pub­lished, two were re­peat pub­li­ca­tions by the jour­nal. One was re­tracted by mis­take and its au­thors were in­no­cent. A to­tal of 101 pa­pers fab­ri­cated peer re­views or re­view­ers, in which 95 were re­viewed by fab­ri­cated ex­perts or had fake re­views pro­vided by third-party in­sti­tu­tions. Six had and pa­per peer re­views or re­view­ers fab­ri­cated by the au­thors, He said.

Twelve of the 101 pa­pers were pur­chased from third­party in­sti­tu­tions, with the re­main­ing 89 pa­pers com­pleted by the au­thors them­selves. Nine were fake in con­tent.

He said that the fraud had se­verely dam­aged China’s na­tional im­age, and called for a health­ier aca­demic en­v­i­ron-

ment and harsher pun­ish­ment for aca­demic mis­deeds.

Af­ter the scan­dal, a joint work group was formed by the MST, Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, Na­tional Nat­u­ral Science Foun­da­tion, and China As­so­ci­a­tion for Science and Tech­nol­ogy to in­ves­ti­gate the is­sue.

The work group main­tained “zero tol­er­ance” to­ward aca­demic dis­hon­esty, He said.

Al­to­gether, 376 au­thors in­volved in the scan­dal have been banned by their in­sti­tu­tions from un­der­tak­ing re­search pro­grams for var­i­ous pe­ri­ods of time. They also had their qual­i­fi­ca­tions for pro­mo­tion can­celed, re­search funds re­trieved, and awards and hon­ors re­voked.

In ad­di­tion, they will face pun­ish­ment ac­cord­ing to the Com­mu­nist Party of China dis­ci­pline reg­u­la­tions and the reg­u­la­tions on per­son­nel from pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions, He said.

GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

Vis­i­tors take a selfie at a pro­mo­tional ex­hi­bi­tion for the book

at Shang­hai World Fi­nan­cial Cen­ter on Fri­day. The book, by Bri­tish il­lus­tra­tor Martin Hand­ford, fea­tures Wally, who trav­els through time as he vis­its many dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions and events.

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