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在线翻译:
szdaily -> In depth
Climbing up the academic ladder with decency
    2017-May-2  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

ACADEMIC fraud in some Chinese research papers has led to calls for a new system of academic evaluation that is less reliant on published papers.

The medical journal Tumor Biology published by Springer Nature, last week retracted 107 Chinese papers after an investigation found the peer review process had been compromised with fabricated email addresses of reviewers.

The action came as no surprise to Li Lin (alias), a stomatologist who has worked in Guangzhou for five years.

Under the current occupational evaluation system, he needs to publish two papers and a research project in order to become an associate chief physician.

“It is like a mission impossible. As a clinician, I work five days a week from dawn to dusk. This is a public hospital and I always work overtime. It would be extremely difficult for me to write papers,” he said.

He admits that many of his peers somehow find the time, but he doubts the value of their papers. Papers with meaningless figures and insubstantial lab research are useless in clinical practice.

“The academic evaluation system is not practical. It is like asking a chef to develop a new strain of rice or to come up with a new edible oil to prove he can cook,” Li said.

He suggests academic authorities separate the evaluation of clinicians from that of medical school professors.

“Published papers should only be one factor in occupational promotion, not a hard target to evaluate an academic level,” he said.

According to the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, the number of Chinese papers listed on the Science Citation Index (SCI), which includes leading science and technology journals, has ranked second for seven years. In 2015, China had just under 300,000 SCI papers, 10 percent of which were on clinical medicine, topping the list.

SCI papers are crucial to promotion in China’s health sector, which is part of the reason why fraud occurs most frequently in the medical field. This produces a system whereby doctors who are good writers get promoted faster than doctors who are good doctors.

“There is no excuse in any circumstances for academic fraud. Academic misconduct should be severely dealt with,” said Zhao Zijian, an expert working for China’s Medium- and Long-term Talent Development Plan (2010-2020) or China’s national “Thousand Talent” program.

Xiao Haipeng, head of Sun Yat-sen University No. 1 Hospital in Guangdong Province, described how, in Western countries, it usually takes a research team several years to work up a report that can be published on a SCI journal. In China, a doctor may write more than one a year.

“Under the evaluation system, some doctors find it more worthwhile to keep lab rats than do clinical training,” Xiao said. However, doctors who can only do clinical work are mere “craftsmen,” he added. Good doctors should use their experience from clinical work to develop new solutions through analysis. New research should in turn be applicable to clinical work.

Language is another issue. Liang Zonghui, a radiologist with Jing’an District Center Hospital in Shanghai, said that “translation agencies” help medical workers to get their papers published in SCI journals.

“It is not easy for most Chinese medical practitioners to write papers in English. There are translation agencies specialized in ‘assisting’ them, even acting on their behalf to find foreign publishers,” he said.

Public support will give an extra push to plans to shake up the academic evaluation system.

The authorities of Guangdong Province have begun by allowing research personnel to use patents or new technology in the place of SCI papers, and SCI papers are no longer a prerequisite to evaluation, the first of such changes to the rules in China. (Xinhua)

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