« | »

China’s Science Research Rife With Fraud

From a context-oblivious Associated Press:

Rampant cheating hurts China’s research ambitions

By Gillian Wong, Associated Press Writer Sun Apr 11

LIUZHOU, China – When professors in China need to author research papers to get promoted, many turn to people like Lu Keqian.

Working on his laptop in a cramped spare bedroom, the former schoolteacher ghostwrites for professors, students, government offices — anyone willing to pay his fee, typically about 300 yuan ($45)…

Ghostwriting, plagiarizing or faking results is so rampant in Chinese academia that some experts worry it could hinder China’s efforts to become a leader in science.

The communist government views science as critical to China’s modernization, and the latest calls for government spending on science and technology to grow by 8 percent to 163 billion yuan ($24 billion) this year.

State-run media recently exulted over reports that China publishes more papers in international journals than any except the U.S. But not all the research stands up to scrutiny. In December, a British journal retracted 70 papers from a Chinese university, all by the same two lead scientists, saying the work had been fabricated

We’re confused. When similar cheating — or even worse — is done in the name of ‘climate change research,’ there doesn’t seem to be any problem with it whatsoever.

On the contrary, it seems to be the easy road to fame and fortune in today’s world of ‘science.’

Critics blame weak penalties and a system that bases faculty promotions and bonuses on number, rather than quality, of papers published

The pressure to publish has created a ghostwriting boom. Nearly 1 billion yuan (more than $145 million) was spent on academic papers in China last year, up fivefold from 2007, a study by Wuhan University professor Shen Yang showed.

It’s almost as if even scientists are willing to lie and cheat to keep their government grant money coming.

One company providing such a service is Lu’s, in Liuzhou, a southern industrial city. His Lu Ke Academic Center boasts a network of 20 to 30 graduate students and professors whose specialties range from computer technology to military affairs.

Lu, a 58-year-old Communist Party member, is approached by clients through Internet chat programs. Most are college professors seeking promotions and students seeking help on theses. Once, 10 students from the same college class put in a collective request for him to write their papers, he said.

"Doing everything on your own, independently, should be possible in theory, but in reality it is quite difficult and one will always need some help," Lu said. "This is how I see it. I don’t know if it is right."

Even in the business of selling research papers, there are cheats. Among the papers bought and sold in 2007, more than 70 percent were plagiarized, the Wuhan study found.

Early last year, Internet users found that the deputy principal of Anhui Agricultural University had committed plagiarism in as many as 20 papers. The university removed him from his post but allowed him to continue teaching.

In June, the principal of a traditional Chinese medicine university in the city of Guangzhou was accused of plagiarizing at least 40 percent of his doctoral thesis from another paper.

And in March, the state-run China Youth Daily reported a 1997 medical paper had been plagiarized repeatedly over the past decade. At least 25 people from 16 organizations copied from the work, and more doctors are expected to be named as the investigation by two students using plagiarism-detecting software continues, the report said

The papers retracted by the British journal came from researchers at Jinggangshan University in southeastern China. The editors are checking other papers from the same institution, and say more retractions are expected. Calls and e-mails sent to Zhong Hua and Liu Tao, the two researchers named as lead authors of the papers, were unanswered. Other researchers contacted at the university too did not respond.

The journal, Acta Crystallographica Section E, publishes discoveries of new crystal structures, much of it from legitimate Chinese research…

So what’s the big deal here? It doesn’t even sound like the ‘research’ in question here is going to affect trillions of dollars and change the way we live our very lives.

Richard P. Suttmeier, an expert in Chinese science policy at the University of Oregon, said the problems can be traced to China’s efforts to modernize its science system in the 1980s and early 1990s when research accountability and evaluation were still weak.

In trying to find ready measures of achievement, China emulated Western practices and began to focus on high-quality publications, but with mixed results, he said.

Maybe they emulating "Western practices" a little too much.

The problems could hurt the country’s ambition of becoming a global leader in research, Suttmeier said.

"I suspect there will be less appetite for non-Chinese scientists to collaborate with Chinese colleagues who are operating in a culture of misconduct," he said.

Similar behavior doesn’t seem to have hurt any of the better known ‘climate scientists.’

Last month the Education Ministry released guidelines for forming a 35-member watchdog committee. Also, in a faxed reply to questions, it said it has asked universities to get tough.

Rao, the Peking University dean, remains skeptical.

Government ministries are happy to fund research but not to police it, he said. "The authorities don’t want to be the bad guy."

Same in our country, especially since the cheaters are carrying the government’s water, anyway.

Why punish such good citizenship?

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, April 12th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “China’s Science Research Rife With Fraud”

  1. NoNeoCommies says:

    I have long wished we could export our Liberalism, Unionism and any other harmful ‘ism to our enemies in order to defeat them in their efforts to bring us down.
    I am heartened to see that scientific fraud is (nearly) as rampant in their scientific circles.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »