Is China Seeing Decline in Research Misconduct?

January 5, 2015

As China builds up its research infrastructure, one question asked in that country and elsewhere has been whether it can fight research misconduct that many report to be widespread. The National Natural Science Foundation of China reported last week that it is seeing fewer cases of research misconduct than in previous years, Nature reported. The agency received 206 misconduct allegations in 2014, including 66 cases flagged by plagiarism-detection software. Investigations confirmed 33 cases of misconduct, including falsification, fabrication and plagiarism, purchasing grant proposals and use of false personal information. Previous recent years have seen an average of 49 confirmed cases a year.

While scientists applaud the efforts now being made, some said that the problem is far greater than the numbers from the agency suggest. “The cases uncovered by NSFC are just the tip of the iceberg, given how rampant the problem is in China,” said Mu-ming Poo, director of the Institute of Neuroscience at the Chinese Academy of Science.

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