CHINA: Rampant cheating hurts research ambitions

When professors in China need to author research papers to get promoted, many turn to people like Lu Keqian, writes Gillian Wong for Associated Press. Working on his laptop in a cramped spare bedroom, the former schoolteacher ghost-writes for professors, students, government offices - anyone willing to pay his fee, typically about 300 yuan ($45). Ghost-writing, plagiarizing or faking results is so rampant in Chinese academia that some experts worry it could hinder China's efforts to become a leader in science.

The communist government views science as critical to China's modernisation, and the latest calls are for government spending on science and technology to grow by 8% to 163 billion yuan ($24 billion) this year. State-run media recently exulted over reports that China publishes more papers in international journals than any country except the US.

But not all the research stands up to scrutiny. In December, a British journal retracted 70 papers from a Chinese university, all by the same two lead scientists, saying the work had been fabricated. Critics blame weak penalties and a system that bases faculty promotions and bonuses on number, rather than quality, of papers published.
Full report on the Associated Press site