A government-backed ethics board found duplicate images and other visual discrepancies in papers by three of the five researchers it investigated, but no evidence of plagiarism.
(22 Jan 2021) Following a long investigation, five high-profile Chinese scientists have been cleared of allegations of plagiarism and academic fraud, a scientific integrity board under the central government announced Thursday.
Among the five, the scientist under the most severe scrutiny was Cao Xuetao, an immunologist and the president of the prestigious Nankai University in the northern port city of Tianjin. In 2019, post-publication peer discussion site PubPeer and U.S.-based independent researcher Elisabeth Bik had flagged Cao’s past research after noticing that it contained duplicate images.
Later that year, Chinese authorities launched an investigation of 63 scientific articles by Cao that was ultimately handed over to a scientific integrity board headed by the Ministry of Science and Technology. In Thursday’s announcement published by the ministry, the board said that, although Cao’s articles were found not to constitute fraud, there were indeed issues with the graphics, and he had failed to adequately supervise his laboratory.
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Communist Party gives Xuetao Cao, Meiyu Geng, Hongliang Li a slap on the wrist from For Better Science