China retracts a national scientific award for plagiarism

From Xinhua News:

Li Liansheng: photo China Daily

BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) — The recent revocation of a national scientific award due to academic fraud was the first of its kind in China, National Office for Science and Technology Awards told Xinhua Thursday.

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, on Feb. 1, issued a statement revoking the State Scientific and Technological Progress Award (SSTPA) given to Li Liansheng, former professor of Xi’an Jiaotong University.

According to the statement, the investigation found Li had plagiarized others’ works and fabricated data in his winning project, and his prize will be canceled and money awarded retrieved.

Zhao Baojing, senior officer with the National Office for S&T Award, told Xinhua that it was the first time China had withdrawn a national scientific honor.

Li Liansheng, former professor and doctoral tutor of Xi’an Jiaotong University, received the second-place prize of the SSTPA in 2005 for his research on key technologies for designing and manufacturing scroll compressors.

In 2008, he was accused of plagiarism and providing false data in the winning project by six professors of Xi’an Jiaotong University. An investigation was later carried out.

Xi’an Jiaotong University suspended Li from working at the university and rescinded his employment contract in March, 2010. writes:

News that the ministry is stripping him of his award for scientific and technological progress comes three years after six colleagues first claimed that the energy and power studies expert had plagiarized the work of others.

Wan Gang, the minister of science and technology, had earlier vowed that there would be a “zero tolerance” policy toward research frauds and academic plagiarism amid growing criticism about the country’s academic integrity.

“We will dig up the past of those researchers who fake their works and punish them,” he told China Daily in November 2010.

The country has more than 2.3 million workers in the science and technology field and the number of research papers published on the subject has topped the world.

The intense competition to get work published has led some researchers to exaggerate their achievements, said critics.

“In China, we care whether a paper is published in a magazine more than we care about the paper’s quality and academic influence,” Rao Yi, dean of the School of Life Sciences at Peking University, was quoted as saying in a report in China Youth Daily.

Universities and colleges are ranked according to the number of academic papers their staff can get published and the number of references they get in influential journals


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