China has unveiled a new set of trial rules to deal with scientific fraud, state media said Friday, months after a senior Shanghai academic was sacked for falsely claiming to have invented a new computer chip.
Scientists who are found to have plagiarized research, fabricated data or engaged in “dishonourable behavior” can be banned for life from participating in state-run projects, the official People’s Daily said.
People being investigated who go into hiding, destroy evidence, attack investigators or otherwise interfere in probes will also be punished and may be reported to “related departments,” it added, referring to the police and law courts.
Grants may also have to be repaid, the newspaper said, adding that the new rules would go into effect on Jan. 1
The May sacking of Chen Jin, a U.S.-educated dean at Shanghai’s prestigious Jiaotong University, for faking chip research was a wake-up call for Chinese authorities, the report quoted Shang Yong, the city's vice minister for science, as saying.
“Such cases increase the need for our country to strengthen the building of better scientific trust and confidence,” Shang said.
Chen’s sacking followed the release of an open letter from a group of 120 Chinese scientists working in the United States that urged tighter procedures for handling scientific misconduct in China and said there were increasing claims of such fraud.
“Experts say it is not easy to completely eradicate scientific misconduct, but it can be minimized by strong preventive measures, fair competition and greater transparency,” the official Xinhua news agency added.
Chen’s fall from grace was a shock to a scientific community winning increasing government funding and attention as China pushes to strengthen domestic innovation and research.
Chinese President Hu Jintao, an engineer by training, has been quoted as saying China must pour more resources into scientific breakthroughs or risk being left a minor player in global technological advances.