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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
Unease raised over China research
By Jill McGivering
BBC News

Scientists in Chinese laboratory
Some analysts say Chinese scientists have different values
Some 120 US-based Chinese scientists have expressed concern that research in China is improperly monitored.

They have written an open letter to China's science minister saying the lack of controls could damage the country's scientific reputation.

The issue has attracted attention after a series of recent scandals about academic work being plagiarised.

The scientists have called on China to develop a formal process to investigate claims of scientific misconduct.

This public move is likely to add to pressure on Chinese officials to tackle this issue and take bolder steps to defend China's scientific integrity.

Rumours

Credibility has been undermined by a series of recent scandals - including revelations of plagiarism, both by research students and some top scientific names.

Some Chinese websites and newspapers are increasingly focusing on naming and discrediting scientists, accusing them of making false claims.

Some of these allegations have been found to be true - but the US-based scientists are calling for confidentiality to be respected until proper investigations can be carried out.

The practice of making personal attacks anonymously in public or spreading rumours, the letter states, is not acceptable and should be discouraged.

The public disgrace of South Korea's prominent stem cell scientist, Professor Hwang Woo-suk, has added to concern within China that it needs more rigorous controls.

Some analysts describe China as having different scientific values and different ideas about what is and is not acceptable.

But as China becomes increasingly integrated with the rest of the world, science is proving another area where difficult adjustments may have to be made.


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