Article  Researchers in China had ‘no choice’ but to commit misconduct + I was cancelled: Why

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Elite researchers in China say they had ‘no choice’ but to commit misconduct

INTRO: “I had no choice but to commit [research] misconduct,” admits a researcher at an elite Chinese university. The shocking revelation is documented in a collection of several dozen anonymous, in-depth interviews offering rare, first-hand accounts of researchers who engaged in unethical behaviour — and describing what tipped them over the edge. An article based on the interviews was published in April in the journal Research Ethics.

The interviewer, sociologist Zhang Xinqu, and his colleague Wang Peng, a criminologist, both at the University of Hong Kong, suggest that researchers felt compelled, and even encouraged, to engage in misconduct to protect their jobs. This pressure, they conclude, ultimately came from a Chinese programme to create globally recognized universities. The programme prompted some Chinese institutions to set ambitious publishing targets, they say.

The article offers “a glimpse of the pain and guilt that researchers felt” when they engaged in unethical behaviour, says Elisabeth Bik, a scientific-image sleuth and consultant in San Francisco, California.

But other researchers say the findings paint an overly negative picture of the Chinese programme. Zheng Wenwen, who is responsible for research integrity at the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, under the Ministry of Science and Technology, in Beijing, says that the sample size is too small to draw reliable conclusions. The study is based on interviews with staff at just three elite institutes — even though more than 140 institutions are now part of the programme to create internationally competitive universities and research disciplines... (MORE - details)

I’ve been silenced, censored, and cancelled. The reason why, matters.

EXCERPTS: Few genres of medical writing are more pathetic than the “I was cancelled” essay, especially because these pitiful pieces are almost always written by loud, famous, influential doctors who never treated a patient with COVID, but instead spread copious misinformation about it.

[...] So it is with some trepidation that I submit my entry into the “I was cancelled” category. However, it’s 100% true. I’ve been silenced, censored, and cancelled. I am writing about it not to bemoan my fate, but rather because of what my cancellation reveals about the sad state of our pandemic discourse.

I’m going to be vague about the details because I don’t blame the people who cancelled me, and I don’t want them to receive negative attention. In fact, I sympathize with their predicament...

[...] Yet, they cancelled my talk, noting that a powerful politician in their state was a close ally of a certain presidential candidate who has resumed making threats against vaccines. I don’t think this powerful politician or any outsider actively intervened to disinvite me, though I guess it’s possible. Rather, I think the conference hosts feared my talk might bring unwanted attention to their organization... (MORE - missing details)

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