China Institutes Nationwide Audit to Address Research Misconduct and Mass Retractions

China Institutes Nationwide Audit to Address Research Misconduct and Mass Retractions

Key Points:

  • Chinese universities face a February 15 deadline for a nationwide self-review of retracted research papers and research misconduct.
  • The self-review requires universities to submit a comprehensive list of retractions and investigate misconduct cases.
  • Researchers must explain the reasons for retraction, and universities must penalize misconduct.

Chinese universities face a looming deadline of February 15 to conduct a comprehensive self-review of retracted research papers and investigate cases of research misconduct as part of a nationwide initiative prompted by Hindawi’s retraction of numerous papers by Chinese authors.

The Ministry of Education’s Department of Science, Technology, and Informatization mandated the audit following concerns about the adverse impact on China’s academic reputation and environment.

Hindawi, a London-based subsidiary of Wiley, retracted over 9,600 papers in 2023, with approximately 8,200 having a co-author in China. The total number of retraction notices, three-quarters involving a Chinese co-author, exceeded 14,000 across all publishers in 2023. This initiative marks the first instance of a national-scale operation for retraction investigations in China, different from the previous case-by-case approach.

Universities must submit a detailed list of all academic articles retracted from English- and Chinese-language journals in the past three years by February 15. The analysis reveals that over 17,000 retraction notices for papers published by Chinese co-authors have been issued since January 1, 2021. This self-review addresses the reputational damage caused by mass retractions and promotes research integrity.

Researchers with retracted papers must explain the reason for retraction, whether due to misconduct or an honest mistake. Universities must investigate and penalize misconduct, with the first corresponding author responsible for submitting the response.

Failure to declare a retracted paper may lead to punishment, emphasizing the seriousness of the measure. Previous punishments for research misconduct in China included salary cuts, bonus withdrawals, demotions, and timed suspensions from applying for grants and rewards.

While some researchers express concerns about the tight deadline and potential preliminary reports, others see this initiative as a positive step toward addressing misconduct more effectively. The results of the self-review will shed light on the Ministry’s commitment to combating research misconduct and its approach to maintaining research integrity in Chinese universities.

TechGolly editorial team led by Al Mahmud Al Mamun. He worked as an Editor-in-Chief at a world-leading professional research Magazine. Rasel Hossain and Enamul Kabir are supporting as Managing Editor. Our team is intercorporate with technologists, researchers, and technology writers. We have substantial knowledge and background in Information Technology (IT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Embedded Technology.

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