《南华早报》:在“熟蛋返生孵小鸡”论文丑闻背后的代写论文产业

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《南华早报》:在“熟蛋返生孵小鸡”论文丑闻背后的代写论文产业

记者:Linda Lew《南华早报》2021年5月15日

在一篇声称煮熟的鸡蛋能孵出小鸡的论文事件之后,中国论文赢利产业再次受到批评,但是评论者说这个臭名昭著的行业依然很兴盛。

这个判断得到了《南华早报》的调查的支持,调查发现,非常容易就能找到枪手提供撰写一篇“科学”论文并在学术期刊上发表。

中国中部一所职业学校春霖职业培训学校校长声称她能用“超心理意识能量”孵出小鸡的论文被发现后,该校上个月据报道已关闭,校长已辞职。人们还发现她以前发表的论文也有惊人说法,例如声称有能力能够让物体穿过墙壁。发表鸡蛋论文的杂志也已关闭,编辑部主任辞职。

在美国的学者方舟子20年来一直在揭露伪科学和造假,据他说,中国有全世界最大的论文市场,部分原因是因为各行各业都要评职称,都有发表论文的要求。

他说,那些没有做研究的能力或条件的,就要通过论文代笔或造假论文付费发表。

“看到熟蛋论文的时候感到很可笑,但是不意外,”方说,“我以前见过不少也很可笑的论文。跟20年前我刚开始揭露中国学术造假的时候相比,并没有根本的改观。”

据方舟子说,论文发表方面的剽窃和造假方式变得更“高级”了。他说,在可以查出抄袭的软件问世之前,逐字逐句的全盘抄袭很常见,但是现在那些不容易被发现的造假例如复制图片更多了。

方舟子说,论文代笔最大的消费群体是医生,中国医生要晋升都必须发表论文,很多医生不会真正做研究,只能去找人代写论文。

2020年,荷兰微生物学家和科学道德倡导者伊丽莎白·比克和其他专家发现,有400多篇可能含有伪造图片的科学论文怀疑都是中国一家论文工场生产的。

据比克的一篇博文,所有这些论文的作者似乎都来自中国医院,有100多篇论文将吉林第一人民医院列为作者单位。

论文写作和发表服务在中国很容易找到。《南华早报》发现在中国最大的电商平台淘宝上有几家店提供这类服务。

一名姓李的店家声称他们是“博士和硕士枪手”,能够安排写作论文并发表在由中国最大的论文数据库CNKI索引的期刊上。

“我们能够安排发表在一份合适的地质学或地理学杂志上,没有问题的。”李在微信对话上说,“最迟你想在哪一天发表?”

李说写一篇论文并发表在CNKI索引的期刊上通常收费2500到3000元。要在李推荐的一份地质学杂志上发表,写论文收费3000元,发表在该刊上另收3000元“版面费”。

中国顶级的研究人员和科学家也被指控有问题。在2019年,比克和她的同事发现中国医学科学院前院长、免疫学家曹雪涛的论文的图片造假。

在受到指控之后,中国科技部对现在是南开大学校长的曹雪涛和其他著名中国科学家做了调查。

今年一月,中国科技部发布简短的调查结果,没有提供细节,只是说没有造假或剽窃的证据,但是论文存在图片误用。曹雪涛被禁止在一年内申请科研资金和招研究生。“调查结论认为所有这些论文中都不存在造假,太让人震惊了。”科学期刊《自然》引用比克的话说。

曹雪涛的论文有的图片含有不自然的重复部分,比克认为这是没法从技术上解释的。该报道说,这些图片看来是被改过的。

中国管理部门已发布规章要处罚学术不端行为以及改变对研究人员和学者成绩的评估方式。

去年中国科技部发布指南,要求国家科研经费资助的研究机构不要再把论文数量与资金发放、奖金挂钩。

它还说,学术不端将会导致失去国家科研经费,被列入科研诚信数据库,或剥夺研究人员或机构的资金申请资格长达五年。

然而,方舟子说,对曹雪涛的处理结果和信息不透明表明当局实际上是在包庇作假。

“这就是为什么造假泛滥——造假即使被发现了也不会有后果,”方舟子说,“曹雪涛的案子最初是国外的学者揭露的。这种明显包庇的调查结果,让中国学术界成了国际笑柄。”

(方舟子 译)

SCMP:Behind China’s ‘mind power’ egg scandal, where academic ghostwriters quote US$400 to get bogus science published

May 15, 2021

Linda Lew

China’s for-profit academic publishing industry has drawn criticism again after a paper claimed chickens could be hatched from boiled eggs, but commentators say shady practices continue to thrive.

Their assertions are backed up by inquiries by the South China Morning Post that revealed how easy it is to find ghostwriters offering to produce a “scientific” paper and get it placed in an academic journal.

A vocational college in central China, Chunlin Education, was last month reportedly shut down and its principal resigned after an article claimed she could hatch chickens using “mind power”. It emerged that her past essays had made claims including the ability to make objects pass through walls, while the journal that published the eggs essay was also closed down and its director resigned.

According to Fang Shimin, a US-based scholar and commentator who has been exposing pseudoscience and fraud for 20 years, China has the world’s largest market for academic publishing, partly because many professions require publishing research papers as a job performance indicator.

He said that some of those lacking the ability to do research resorted to hiring essay ghostwriters and paying journals to publish fake essays.

“I was amused when I came across the boiled eggs essay, but not surprised,” Fang said. “I’ve seen many laughable essays previously.

“In the 20 years since I started working to expose academic fraud in China, there’s been no fundamental change.”

Forms of fabrication and plagiarism in academic publishing are getting more sophisticated, according to Fang. Before plagiarism detection software was developed, it was common to find entire sections of essays copied word for word, but now more subtle ways of cheating, such as using copied images, were increasingly common, he said.

The largest group of consumers for paid essay writing in China are medical doctors, who must publish papers as part of their job reviews. Rather than carry out real research, many paid someone to write their paper, Fang said.

In 2020, Dutch microbiologist and science integrity advocate Elisabeth Bik and other experts found more than 400 published scientific papers with potentially fabricated images that were suspected to have been produced by one paper mill in China.The authors of the papers all seemed to be based at Chinese hospitals, with more than 100 of them listing Jilin First People’s Hospital as an affiliation, according to a blog post by Bik.

Essay-writing and publishing services are widely available in China. The Post found several listings offering them on Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce platform – owned by Alibaba, which also owns the South China Morning Post.

A vendor surnamed Li who offered themselves as a “doctorate and master’s pen for hire” said they could arrange a paper to be written and published in a journal indexed by CNKI, China’s largest research database.

“We can work on placing it in a suitable geology or geography journal, there’s no problem,” Li said in an exchange over WeChat. “When is the latest date you need it published?”Li said writing an essay and publishing it in a CNKI-indexed journal would usually cost 2,500 to 3,000 yuan (US$388 to US$465). Submission to a geology journal recommended by Li would cost 3,000 yuan to write the essay and a further 3,000 yuan to pay “publishing fees” to the journal.

Accusations of questionable practices have reached the country’s top researchers and scientists. In 2019, Bik and her colleagues found what they believed to be manipulated images in papers by immunologist Cao Xuetao, former president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

After the allegations, the Ministry of Science and Technology began an investigation into Cao, now president of Nankai University, and other notable Chinese scientists.

In January, the ministry released a short summary of the investigation, giving few details and saying that there was no evidence of fabrication or plagiarism – but that the papers included misused images. Cao was barred from applying for grants and supervising student research for a year, the ministry said.“It is astonishing that [the committee] concluded that no fraud had been committed in any of these cases,” scientific journal Nature quoted Bik as saying.

Some of Cao’s papers contained images with unnaturally repetitive elements, which Bik said no technical reason could explain. The images appeared to have been altered, according to the report.Chinese authorities have introduced rules to punish academic misconduct and changes to performance reviews for researchers and academics.The science ministry last year issued guidelines discouraging research institutions that received national funds from tying the number of academic papers published to the awarding of funding and bonuses to researchers.It also said academic misconduct would result in loss of national funding, being added to a database tracking research integrity, or the researcher or institution having qualifications revoked for five years.However, Fang said Cao’s treatment and the lack of information released suggested the authorities were covering up fraud.“This is why academic fraud is rampant – there is no accountability,” Fang said. “Cao’s case was exposed by overseas experts. The investigation, which showed signs of a cover-up, has turned Chinese academia into an international laughing stock.”

(XYS20210602)

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