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New system to root out researchers who cheat
6/7/2006 9:27

China will set up a credibility evaluation system for scientists to curb academic fraud, the minister of Science and Technology told a meeting of the country's top advisory body in Beijing.

Minister Xu Guanhua said China will improve the evaluation of academic organizations and establish archives to record their mistakes and violation of regulations.

The evaluations should be "authoritative and strict," Xu said in a report delivered Tuesday to a meeting of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, Xinhua reported yesterday.

Scientists and research organizations that "lose credibility" will be warned and their names made public, Xu said.

"Although the number of scientific frauds is still small, the harm caused to China's scientific progress cannot be underestimated," Xu said.

The move for higher ethics comes as several scandals have rocked China's top universities.

In May, Chen Jin, a dean at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, was fired for faking research on what was considered to be a breakthrough computer chip.

Chen, who formerly chaired Jiao Tong's Micro-electronics School, was caught deceiving technological appraisal teams from the university and ministries that had invested public funds in his research.

Jiao Tong dismissed Chen, and the Ministry of Science and Technology and the State Development and Reform Commission stopped financing Chen's research and ordered him to return the funds he had received.

In April, Yang Jie, former director of the Life Science and Technology Institute, was sacked from Shanghai's Tongji University after 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.

Among the other topics at the four-day Beijing meeting, delegates were asked to offer suggestions on increasing the nation's scientific creativity.

China will invest 71.6 billion yuan (US$8.95 billion) on science and technology this year, up 19.2 percent from 2005. "The figure is very exciting," said Xu, adding that it signals an environment encouraging creativity and innovation.