Thursday, June 18, 2009

China and academic plagiarism

Is China getting soft on [academic] crime?

"It's plagiarism, all over again"


Chen Jia

June 17th, 2009

China Daily

A major university in Beijing has thrown a student out of its doctorate course for plagiarizing a research paper and smearing a vice headmaster's name in the process, in the latest case to mar academia in the country.

Beijing Normal University student Yang Lun, a PhD candidate in the school's philosophy and social science institute, plagiarized more than 80 percent of another researcher's work and published it in the leading Philosophy Research monthly in April, according to the Oriental Morning Post Tuesday.

Yang's tutor, Liaoning University vice headmaster Lu Jierong, was also disgraced as his name was on the plagiarized work, the paper's original author said.

"Their behavior deeply hurt me and tainted the country's academic landscape," said Wang Lingyun, a lecturer at Yunnan University in Yunnan province.

"They only revised a few sentences at the paper's beginning and summary part, and added some footnotes and references," he said.

The copycat case is among the growing number of plagiarized papers colleges have identified from students or professors.

In March, an associate professor at Zhejiang University's college of Pharmaceutical Science reportedly wrote eight theses by plagiarizing the research result from a former doctoral supervisor.

In the latest case, Wang said he wrote the plagiarized paper in 2002 and used it in a public lecture. Academic websites have also published the paper, he said.

He found the plagiarized paper last Friday, and asked the two to apologize to him in the media.

He also demanded financial compensation, though he didn't reveal how much money he planned to ask for.

Yang has apologized to him over the phone, and said he signed his tutor's name on the paper as it was hard for a student to publish a paper in a core academic magazine.

"My tutor helped revise the paper, but he didn't know I published it with his name," he said.

Yang said he didn't think he would be caught. "I have felt upset every day since it was published in the magazine."

The magazine and Lu both refused comment Tuesday.

Huo Qingwen, an education expert at Beijing Foreign Studies University's language education testing service, Tuesday said some students take chances due to their lack of awareness of academic discipline and loose surveillance from their tutors.

Xu Mei, the spokeswomen of the Ministry of Education, earlier said that universities should handle these kinds of cases in a fair and open way, and order institutes to set up workshops for teachers and students to improve the awareness of academic discipline.

A national supervision committee was established in 2006 to curb violations of academic rights in social sciences, while the Ministry of Science and Technology also founded a new organization to supervise the financial integrity and efficiency of State-level programs.

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