美捷登官方博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/medjaden


中国每10篇生物医学类论文有4篇涉嫌学术不端 精选

已有 19486 次阅读 2017-9-26 09:29 |系统分类:科研笔记

编者按:我们团队分别在2010年和2015年对在公司注册的中国生物医学科研工作者进行了问卷调查,了解他们对我国科研工作中存在的学术不端行为的看法。该研究结果于今年3月发表在《科学与工程伦理》(Scienceand Engineering Ethics)杂志上,引起了多方关注[1]。应RetractionWatch特邀记者MarkZastrow的邀请,该文的共同通讯作者夏华向教授和何华女士接受了MarkZastrow的电话采访[2]

Retraction Watch


Four in 10 biomedical papers out ofChina are tainted by misconduct, says new survey


Chinese biomedical researchers estimatethat 40% of research in their country has been affected in some way bymisconduct, according to a new survey.


The authors are quick to cautionagainst putting too much stock in this figure due to the subjective nature ofthe survey, published in Science and Engineering Ethics. The estimatesalso spanned a wide range, with a standard deviation of ±24%. But they say thatthe responses to this question and others on the survey suggest that scientistsin the region feel academic misconduct remains a major problem that authoritieshave failed to adequately address. (Indeed, a recent analysis from Quartz usingRetraction Watch data showed that researchers based in China publish morepapers retracted for fake peer reviews than all other countries put together.)

此项调查结果发表在《科学与工程伦理》(Science and Engineering Ethics)杂志上。由于调查类研究的主观性,同时也由于估计的范围比较广(标准差达到±24%),作者们提醒不要过于关注这个数字(40%)。但是,他们同时指出,从对问卷上的这一问题和其他问题的回复来看,生物医学研究人员认为学术不端行为依然是一个尚未被有关管理部门足够重视的重大问题。(事实上,Quartz近期通过调取撤稿监察的数据所进行的一项的研究表明,中国的研究者因为虚假评审而遭到撤稿的论文数比其他所有国家加在一起还要多。)

The survey was designed by employeesat Medjaden, a Hong Kong-based editing company that assists mainland Chinesebiomedical researchers publishing in English-language journals. They invitedall of their registered users by email to complete two surveys—roughly 10,000users in 2010 and 15,000 in 2015. Like most online surveys, this one had a lowresponse rate—around 5%, so caveats about sampling bias apply.


Study co-author Hua He, who is alsoMedjaden’s CEO, said:


To be very honest, no one can reallyknow the actual statistics. And the data we collected from surveys are based onpersonal experience or subjective individual perception. [...] So I wouldsuggest we look at the data not literally, but rather use them as an indicatorto draw a bigger picture.


This bigger picture, she said, showsthat perceptions among biomedical researchers have changed little between 2010and 2015—despite Chinese authorities’ efforts to crack down on academicmisconduct. Overall, 55% of respondents thought that academic conduct was“serious,” “very serious,” or “extremely serious,” and 71% thought thatauthorities were paying little to no attention to the issue. Roughly as manythought that punishments for academic misconduct were too lenient.


The survey also shows that scientistsstrongly feel authorities have done little to address the underlyingpublish-or-perish environment that breeds misconduct; 72% thought that reformsto current systems of academic assessment was the most important measure, withonly 13% prioritizing stronger systems of monitoring for misconduct.


Hua He told us:


We think the most important factorthought to be associated with scientific misconduct, which is the academicassessment system in China, has to be fundamentally solved to tackle thisproblem. So I think the main problem largely remains.


The forms of misconduct that were mostconcerning to respondents—ahead of falsification, fabrication, andduplication—were plagiarism (25%) and the “inclusion of someone withoutpermission or contribution in the authorship” (28%).


The latter encompasses two behaviors,the first of which is putting more famous names on the author list withoutpermission to enhance a paper’s credibility. But the bulk of cases in thiscategory—roughly 70%, estimates study co-author and Medjaden editor-in-chiefHua-Xiang Xia —refers to adding names to the author list as a favor.


This is known as “gift authorship,”said education policy researcher Shuangye Chen of East China Normal Universityin Shanghai, who was not involved in Medjaden’s study. Although academicauthorship back-scratching can happen anywhere and is often regarded as simplecourtesy, she said,

It’s more complicated in the Chinesecontext. [...] They try to do it as a kind of collective. They know thatsomeone who is [up for promotion] needs this kind of paper or authorship. Theywould gift this kind of authorship, not as an individual act, but to benefitthe whole group or the whole lab.

上海华东师范大学教育政策研究员Shuangye Chen(并未参与美捷登的调查)将这种行为称为礼赠性作者署名。她说虽然这种学术作者署名的问题会在任何地方发生,并通常被认为只是出于一种简单的礼节,但在中国则更为复杂。……… 他们试图将这种作法作为集体化的体现。当他们知道某人[由于晋升职称]需要这类论文或作者署名时,他们会赠与这种作者署名,这不是某个人的行为,而是为了使整个团队或实验室获益。

This practice has a darker side whenentrenched lab hierarchies and power dynamics deny first author status tojunior researchers who did the bulk of the work in favor of more seniorresearchers.


Chen told us she thinks the study’sfigure of 40% is significantly inflated from reality due to the low responserate, citing Chinese studies that suggest its more around 20%. But she agreedthat reforming academic assessments is key to stemming the tide of misconduct.


We are in a stage of trying to pushand press those young scholars, especially, to publish more and higher qualitypapers. Otherwise we wouldn’t have this kind of survival crisis. Being underthat kind of high pressure is most conducive to academic misconduct.


Xia argued that although the responserate is low, those motivated to respond may be a relatively neutral group ofactive researchers:


We’re getting firsthand informationbecause they are true biomedical researchers. The response rate is only 5 or6%, but I think the people who did respond to us are those who wanted to sharetheir real perceptions.


But still, those are only perceptionsof misconduct rates—not data on misconduct itself—so both he and studyco-author Hua He also warned against overinterpreting the 40% figure.


This pressure to publish inEnglish-language journals included in Thomson Reuters’ Science Citation Index(SCI) has given rise to editing companies like Medjaden in China. As our loyalreaders know, some of these companies have been caught in unsavory practices inrecent years. These include selling authorships (as covered by Science‘sMara Hvistendahl) and creating fake reviewers to whisk manuscripts through peerreview (which we reported on for Nature). These have led to massretractions,like Springer’s recent batch of 107papers retracted from a single journal.

在汤森路透的科学英文索引(SCI)的英文期刊上发表论文的压力在中国催生了许多像美捷登这样的编辑公司。我们的忠实读者都知道,有些公司近年来被发现有一些不当的行为,包括被《科学》(Science)杂志的Mara Hvistendahl揭露的买卖论文作者署名和被《自然》(Nature)杂志揭露的伪造虚假同行评审。这些都导致了大量的撤稿,比如斯普林格(Springer)最近从同一份杂志上撤下了107篇论文。

Xia told us:


This has seriously jeopardized theimage and reputation of scientific editing in China. [...] Those companies,they have not been punished. The researchers, they are cheated.


The Chinese Association for Scienceand Technology (CAST) and other government organizations even issued guidelinesfor Chinese researchers last year that told them not to use third-partyservices in writing or submitting papers.


He and Xia told us that, to theirknowledge, none of the papers they’ve worked on have been retracted, andeditors will check original data and scan text for plagiarism whenever manuscriptsraise concerns.


Medjaden says it hopes to root outthese nefarious practices from their industry. In October 2015, Xia spearheadedthe formation of the Alliance for Scientific Editing in China (ASEC),consisting of Medjaden and five other editing companies with operations inChina. They adopted an editing code in line with standards from theinternational Committee on Publication Ethics.

美捷登表示,他们希望在编辑行业铲除这些恶劣行为。在201510月,夏(华向)率先倡导成立了由美捷登和其他五个业务在中国的编辑公司组成的中国英文科技论文编辑联盟(Alliance for Scientific Editing in China, ASEC)。他们采用的编辑规范与国际出版伦理委员会(COPE)标准一致。

Although it’s questionable how much ofa difference self-imposed discipline can make, Xia said ASEC also plans to pushfor structural reforms. In March, they met with COPE representatives in Beijingto strategize opening a dialog with Chinese authorities on academic assessmentreform.


Xia told us:

The reason causing the misconduct isthe scientific assessment system. So we are trying to [change] that andhopefully with all this work, we can really help the scientists to do realresearch and publish quality papers.



[1] Liao QJ, Zhang YY, Fan YC, Zheng MH, Bai Y, EslickGD, He XX, Zhang SB, Xia HH, He H. Perceptions of Chinese BiomedicalResearchers Towards Academic Misconduct: A Comparison Between 2015 and 2010.Sci Eng Ethics. 2017 Apr 10. doi: 10.1007/s11948-017-9913-3.

[2] RetractionWatch. 2017. http://retractionwatch.com/2017/05/18/four-10-biomedical-papers-tainted-misconduct-chinese-scientists-say/.

(本文已获得Retraction Watch的翻译许可)


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