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Top scientist lambastes scientific misconduct
Latest Updated by 2006-06-05 09:21:50

One of China's most influential scientists said in Beijing Friday (June 2) that scientists who falsify their work should be seriously punished by the Chinese scientific community.

Lu Yongxiang, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), said that scientists need to be more self-disciplined to curb scientific misconduct, which occurred more frequently after China adopted the market-oriented economy.

"Ethics education, checks and balances, and outside supervision are necessary to cure the disease," said Lu, who also chairs the presidium of CAS academic divisions, the CAS's top governing body.

Although nationwide science advancement associations and many leading research entities have drafted regulations to combat plagiarism or falsification of research data, Lu said, the scientific community lacks effective checks and punishment for violators.

Lu blamed dishonest, fickle and inappropriate distribution of public funding for research for deteriorating ethical standards of scientists.

In 1996, the CAS and the Chinese Academy of Engineering each established ethics committees. In 2001, the CAS issued the CAS member codes for self-discipline. In early 2005, the CAS also specified how to deal with scientific misconduct of CAS members.

"Proven scientific misconduct and corruption among CAS members will be earnestly punished," Lu said.

Several recent scandals at China's top universities have raised questions about the supervision of academics at higher-learning institutions and the science circle.

Earlier in May, Chen Jin, a dean at Shanghai Jiaotong University, was fired for faking research on the Hanxin computer chip, which had received state-funding.

Chen, who formerly chaired the Micro-electronics School at Shanghai Jiaotong University, was found to be deceiving technological appraisal teams from the government, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai municipal government and relative ministries which invested public funds in his research project.

Shanghai Jiaotong University has dismissed Chen from his post as the dean and professor. The Ministry of Science and Technology and the State Development and Reform Commission later announced they would stop financing Chen's research project. Chen was ordered to give back the investment.

In late April, Yang Jie, former director of the Life Science and Technology Institute, was sacked from the prestigious Tongji University in Shanghai after the veracity of his academic record was questioned.

Liu Hui of the Beijing-based Qinghua University was dismissed as professor and assistant to the director of the university's medical school in March for forging his academic achievements and work experience.

Last week, China's Ministry of Education announced the establishment of a special commission to monitor academic fraud and plagiarism in universities and colleges around the country.

Education Minister Zhou Ji has warned researchers working at schools to strictly observe academic ethics or they will be "disciplined."

Zhou asked all universities and colleges to handle reports on academic fraud or plagiarism seriously.

"Scientific misconduct cannot be totally avoided, and what is important is we must have transparency in competition and the rules which scientists are aware of," Dr. Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, president of the German Research Foundation, told Xinhua at a science meeting in Beijing on Wednesday.

"The fact that everybody in the scientific community knows thatthere is somebody who can deal with scientific misconduct already helps to prevent many cases," Dr. Winnacker said.

Editor: Wing

By: Source:China View website
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