Research misconduct “widespread” in Chinese science: comment

Research misconduct is “serious and widespread” among Chinese scientists, according to an editorial published in the China Daily. The report was written by Cong Cao, of the China Policy Institute and the University of Nottingham. Cao cited “conservative estimates” that one-third of Chinese researchers have engaged in practices such as plagiarism and falsifying data. According to the editorial, the rise in misconduct can be partly attributed to “the pursuit of promotion, a hypercompetitive funding environment and the mounting pressure on scientists to produce outcomes with ‘visibility’”.

Cao continued: “the institutional watchdog responsible for exposing, investigating and punishing scientific misconduct exists merely on paper because of a lack of autonomy in science and vigorous peer review.” He criticised the Chinese government for “creating a government agency under political control to police scientists, while denying scientists the autonomy to set up an independent regulatory body”, saying it represents a “failure of governance”. He concluded:

“China's pursuit of science and innovation has reached another critical juncture where any institutional misstep could trap China in a bigger and deeper gap, and jeopardize its potential to become a global scientific superpower.”

~ China Daily, Feb 17

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