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China Launches Nationwide University Probe into Retracted Research Papers to Address Academic Integrity Crisis

Given the large number of withdrawals of papers published by Chinese scholars in international journals, China’s Ministry of Education has recently required universities to launch self-checks of retracted papers.  Education departments in several provinces followed suit, also mandating self-checks of retracted papers. Numerous Chinese schools have made announcements on the topic, saying that publishers’ retractions of Chinese papers in 2023 has negatively impacted China’s academic reputation.

Wuhan University has reviewed papers from the past three years. Shandong University requested that all faculty and graduate students comprehensively identify retracted papers. The Henan Education Department received a ministry list of retracted papers from China’s Ministry of Education and has asked schools to investigate papers on the list, verifying each paper’s research process and data acquisition. Verified academic transgressions will be “dealt with” by Henan’s Education Department.

Around 30 Chinese universities conducted similar reviews in mid-2023, citing a ministry notice issued in April 2023 calling for the clean up academic misconduct dating back to 2018.

China publishes the second most papers in the Science Citation Index (SCI), following only the United States. The rate of paper retractions by Chinese scholars is very high, accounting for 52% of all SCI retractions in 2022 out of 5,488 worldwide. The main reasons for retraction are that papers come from “research paper mills,” contain plagiarism, contain unreliable data, or that peer review fraud occurred.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), January 4, 2023