Code of con­duct is­sued for sci­en­tists

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHANG ZHIHAO zhangzhi­hao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

These re­trac­tions are the re­sult of some Chi­nese sci­en­tists lack­ing dis­ci­pline or morals. The guide­lines are meant to pro­mote the sci­en­tific spirit and strengthen moral stan­dards.”

The China As­so­ci­a­tion for Science and Tech­nol­ogy re­cently pub­lished guide­lines for im­prov­ing the self-dis­ci­pline of sci­en­tists and curb­ing aca­demic fraud in sci­en­tific pa­pers.

The as­so­ci­a­tion is­sued the guide­lines to its af­fil­i­ated or­ga­ni­za­tions and schools last week. It in­cluded codes of con­duct and bot­tom lines for sci­en­tific pa­pers.

The bot­tom lines are no fab­ri­ca­tion, no pla­gia­rism, no im­per­son­ation and no bribery. The as­so­ci­a­tion also called for sci­en­tists to be con­scious of na­tional goals and to pur­sue in­no­va­tion to ad­vance the well-be­ing of the peo­ple and the coun­try, while up­hold­ing aca­demic prac­tices.

Since 2015, for­eign science pub­li­ca­tions have fre­quently re­tracted re­search pa­pers by Chi­nese au­thors.

“This has a se­ri­ous neg­a­tive so­cial im­pact and has di­rectly harmed Chi­nese sci­en­tists’ in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tions,” the as­so­ci­a­tion said in a state­ment.

“These re­trac­tions are the re­sult of some Chi­nese sci­en­tists lack­ing dis­ci­pline or morals,” it said. “The guide­lines are meant to pro­mote the sci­en­tific spirit and strengthen moral stan­dards.”

The med­i­cal jour­nal Tu­mor Bi­ol­ogy, pub­lished by Springer Na­ture, re­tracted 107 Chi­nese pa­pers in April af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion found the peer re­view process had been com­pro­mised with fab­ri­cated email ad­dresses of re­view­ers.

The move af­fected more than 520 Chi­nese re­searchers. Some were from top schools such as Pek­ing Univer­sity, Shang­hai Jiao Tong Univer­sity, Fu­dan Univer­sity and China Med­i­cal Univer­sity.

The Min­istry of Science and Tech­nol­ogy is cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing the scan­dal. Early re­sults sug­gest that the au­thors had passed their ar­ti­cles to du­bi­ous third-party agen­cies for polishing or re­view, re­sult­ing in un­eth­i­cal prac­tices.

In March 2015, BioMed Cen­tral, a ma­jor pub­lisher of med­i­cal and science jour­nals based in the United King­dom, re­tracted 43 pa­pers over fab­ri­cated peer re­views, 41 of which were writ­ten by Chi­nese schol­ars.

China has been the world’s sec­ond-largest pro­ducer of aca­demic pa­pers since 2009, trail­ing only the United States, ac­cord­ing to the Science Ci­ta­tion Index, a data­base that cov­ers most of the world’s lead­ing science and tech­nol­ogy jour­nals.

China pro­duced more than 300,000 works for in­ter­na­tional jour­nals in 2016, com­pared with 13,000 in 1996.

Pub­lish­ing pa­pers in in­ter­na­tional jour­nals has be­come an im­por­tant bench­mark for mea­sur­ing a re­searcher’s per­for­mance, which is linked to salary, fund­ing and job pro­mo­tions, ac­cord­ing to Xin­hua News Agency.

The Chi­nese sci­en­tific com­mu­nity is weigh­ing re­forms to make sci­en­tists’ per­for­mance eval­u­a­tions more ro­bust and ra­tio­nal. At the same time, more reg­u­la­tions are seen as nec­es­sary to pre­vent and pun­ish vi­o­la­tors and un­eth­i­cal third-party agen­cies.

China As­so­ci­a­tion for Science and Tech­nol­ogy

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