There can­not be any tol­er­ance of aca­demic cheat­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - THE MIN­ISTRY of

Science and Tech­nol­ogy an­nounced on Thurs­day the re­sults of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a scan­dal in which a for­eign med­i­cal jour­nal re­tracted 107 Chi­nese papers due to peer re­view fraud. Bei­jing News com­mented on Fri­day:

In April the med­i­cal jour­nal Tu­mor Bi­ol­ogy, pub­lished by Springer Na­ture, re­tracted some 107 papers au­thored by Chi­nese schol­ars, af­ter it was dis­cov­ered the email ad­dresses of the peer re­view­ers were fab­ri­cated. Af­ter the ar­ti­cles were re­tracted, a min­is­te­rial-level joint work­ing group was formed to look into the mat­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to its in­ves­ti­ga­tion, of the 521 au­thors in­volved, 486 were guilty of mis­con­duct at var­i­ous lev­els, 24 are still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, and 11 were deemed in­no­cent.

The wrong­do­ers are pay­ing a huge price for their dis­hon­esty. Of the au­thors in­volved, 376 are banned from un­der­tak­ing re­search pro­grams for var­i­ous pe­ri­ods of time and they have had to re­turn their re­search funds. They have also had their awards and hon­ors re­voked and el­i­gi­bil­ity for pro­mo­tion can­celed.

The pun­ish­ments demon­strate the coun­try’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to erad­i­cate aca­demic mal­prac­tices. For years com­plaints have been heard about tainted re­search pro­grams and aca­demic pla­gia­rism, but few of them were taken se­ri­ously by the su­per­vi­sory au­thor­i­ties. As a re­sult, some schol­ars with a known rep­u­ta­tion for aca­demic mal­prac­tices could con­tinue their wrong­do­ing.

The pun­ish­ments im­posed on those be­hind the 107 com­pro­mised papers should help re­store the na­tion’s aca­demic in­tegrity. It is uni­ver­sally ac­cepted that aca­demic fraud must come with huge con­se­quences. China has every rea­son to clean up its aca­demic en­vi­ron­ment.

On their part, Chi­nese uni­ver­si­ties and re­search in­sti­tutes should black­list all re­searchers caught cheat­ing, and ex­tra leg­isla­tive ef­forts are called for to hold them ac­count­able un­der the Crim­i­nal Law.

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