The possesses a significant degree of influence and

The scientific community is an international body of
professionals that ultimately works in collaboration for the further progression
of scientific discovery and application. It is because of this global network
of interactions that occur between such scientists that individuals must make
every possible effort to ensure the integrity of their research being conducted
and in turn ultimately published. China, due to its sheer number of individuals
within the scientific work force, possesses a significant degree of influence
and responsibility when it comes to the scientific material that they publish
for use by a global audience. It is because of this responsibility that
officials within China’s scientific community are making every effort to both
address the growing concern of violations within scientific research as well as
educate individuals to prevent potential incidents in the future. One such
example of this collective effort is demonstrated in the article “Research
Integrity in China” published by president Wei Yang of the National Natural
Science Foundation of China. Not only does President Yang identify the current
issue of ethical misconduct within the Chinese scientific community, but he
also presents the collective efforts both domestically and abroad that were
created to address and rectify such discrepancies.

 The opening of Yang’s
piece focuses on the necessity for protecting the integrity of research being
conducted based on the implications that may unfold if otherwise. Scientific
research is no longer just a measurement of an individual scientist’s success;
it is also a reflection of the intelligence of their nation within a global standing.
The relative ease of publishing and obtaining information from practically
anywhere around the globe has permitted the explosive expansion of the
scientific community to levels previously unmatched. It is because of this
increase in communication across the globe that Yang points out the growing
concern of lapses in research integrity within Chinese academics. He presents
the issue that when such unethical issues come to the public knowledge, it
rarely remains localized domestically for long. When such news becomes known,
Yang points out that such controversies can degrade other contributions that
the Chinese scientific community may be presenting. It is unlikely that such an
occurrence would be unique to a single country. It is my belief that any occurrence
in which research integrity would be lacking would surely place a burden in for
the nation of origin. Perhaps the greatest consequence for such actions would
be the association of that nation’s scientific community with lacking
integrity, even if it may have only been a single group of individuals.

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Yang presents the fact that while the traits that
contribute to discrepancies in research integrity within scientific research
may be contributed to the “unhealthy research environment”, efforts are
actively being made to correct and prevent such issues from occurring in the
future (Yang, 1019). It is interesting to note that most, if not all, of these
efforts are similar to those within other scientific communities across the
globe. Such resolutions include placing limits on the number of submissions of
the same paper to different journals, increasing the length in which the review
process occurs to find errors (or fraud) prior to public release, and more
(Yang, 1019). These efforts further demonstrate that such issues are not isolated
within a single nation but also within the global scientific community. By
utilize international means of monitoring the research integrity of the
scientific community, Yang further demonstrates the interconnectedness and
interdependency that is required for China’s success both domestic and abroad.

Ensuring the research integrity within the scientific
community is not a single nation’s responsibility. Just as fraud and error
occur within research found across the globe, it is the responsibility of all
members within the scientific community to ensure that the integrity of
research being conducted is secured. President Wei Yang’s article about the necessity
of more active efforts within China is but one example of a growing trend. This
is perhaps best exemplified when Yang states that credible science cannot “happen
until the scientific enterprise is healthy and credible” (Yang, 1019). In order
for science to be able to progress at the quality and rate that is required,
individuals within the field must ensure that the integrity of their research
is ethical, credible, and supportable.

China’s Publication Bazaar

            As the
most direct form of interaction and use of scientific research is through the
use of publications, there has been observations within the community showing a
shift from an academic culture to more of a business model. China appears to be
one such epicenter of this business in which scientists purchase an authorship line
within a paper that has yet to be published (Hvistendahl, 1035). The most
direct comparison that I could make for such a practice would be to a company
buying advertising space for self-promotion. In both forms, they lack taste and
further diminish their respective communities as a whole. One of the more
critical issues that arises with the continued use of this practice is that it is
becoming a more relatively easy commodity due to the fast and ease of communication
via the internet. In this manner scientific articles are treated as a commodity
that could just as easily be purchased as any other consumer product. Such a
trend is of significant concern within China and is best described within Mara
Hvistendahl’s article “China’s Publication Bazaar” which outlines how this
practice is permitted to continue and the need for it to be prevented by the
scientific community.

            The trade
and sell of authorship for scientific articles becomes a significant issue as completely
demoralizes the overarching theme of science: the pursuit and application of
original thought. When scientists decide to deliberately use their research
solely as a means of income and recognition, then the whole scientific process
becomes tainted with corruption, dishonesty, and likely unimpressive research.
Hvistendahl best demonstrates this demoralization of scientific thought when one
such authorship company stated that “‘some authors don’t have much use for their
papers after they’re published, and they can be transferred to you'”
(Hvistendahl, 1035). This statement demonstrates how such authorship
publication trades degrade the research that was conducted. It is my belief
that scientists should take pride in the research that they accomplish and not
treat is as a means to a higher salary or promotion. Ownership of research is a
key tenant within the scientific community and practices such as this only do a
disservice to those who are attempting to present credible (and ethical)
research.

            While it
is likely that the practice of the authorship publication trade is not isolated
solely within a single nation or academic cultural group, I believe that
nations such as China are more prone to its occurrence due to the significant
pressures for having publications as a measurement of accomplishment. Any
academic or professional culture that places more emphasis on the number and
type of publication and individual has rather than the quality of such a
publication would likely be more susceptible to the pressures of utilizing this
practice. It is because of practices such as this that cause China, as well as
other similarly-organized groups, to possess a stigma of “corrupt”
research. The only possible resolution to prevent these organized group’s from
continuing to push this authorship-publication trade is through direct intervention.
One such example provided by Hvistendahl is the use of direct government
intervention similar to how other nations, particularly the United States, in
response. Another possible resolution proposed by Hvistendahl to this form of
unethical practice is shifting the criteria in which a scientist is measured.
Instead of focusing on the quantitative aspects of their “publications”,
Chinese scientific officials are beginning to shift to an emphasis on the
quality of their work and the impact that it possesses within the global
scientific community.

            Competition
for the limited number of positions and resources that the Chinese scientific
and academic communities have available has significantly contributed to the
growth of this unethical authorship publication industry. While this is surely
not solely isolated within China alone, the sheer amount of research that is
published annually makes the impact that this malpractice even more significant
within the global scientific community. In order to rectify such discrepancies,
professionals both within China and abroad need to make every effort to ensure
that honest authorship practices are being utilized as well as ensuring these
author publication companies are being identified and held responsible for their
actions. It is only after these practices are in place that actual progress
within the Chinese scientific community can be made.

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