SCIO briefing on China's strategy of promoting innovation-driven development and efforts to build China into an innovation-oriented country

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China Daily:

The general public pays great attention to issues, such as scientific research ecology and integrity. In recent years, China has issued a series of rules and regulations. What problems do we currently have in terms of building work style and study style in the science and technology community? What can be further improved? Thank you.

He Defang:

Thanks for your questions. I want to make a point before answering your questions. Excellent scientific research work style and study style are the "lifeline" for performing well in science and technology works. General Secretary Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized the need to vigorously promote the spirit of scientists and strengthen the construction of scientific research work style and study style. The Ministry of Science and Technology should effectively improve its political position and make the construction of work style and study style a priority. Mr. Wang also introduced these in his statement just now. The Ministry of Science and Technology, in conjunction with relevant departments, will take various measures to advance the implementation.

For publicity and guidance, the "Spirit of Scientists" book series was compiled and published, and a column was set up to vigorously promote not only the spirit of scientists but also the spiritual outlook and innovative deeds of those outstanding scientists. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Science and Technology and other departments issued the "Five Advocacies, "advocating science and technology to serve the country, advocating rigorous truth-seeking, advocating devoted research, advocating rational questioning, and advocating academic democracy. These advocacies actively guide scientific and technological workers to write papers for their motherland and apply the results to the fight against the pandemic. The response is positive.

In terms of environmental construction, the Ministry of Science and Technology has implemented a dual approach. On the one hand, it established an incentive mechanism based on trust. It has continuously deepened reforms on project review, talent evaluation, and institutional evaluation. In conjunction with relevant departments, it also formulated a series of documents for "breaking the four standards," which means China will not just evaluate talents based on thesis, professional titles, education levels, or awards and will carry out seven special actions to reduce the burden on the grassroots and stimulate innovation vitality. On the other hand, it insists that trust is not laissez-faire, and tolerance is not indulgence. Strengthening supervision and restraint is for building better trust and tolerance. We have issued rules for investigating and handling scientific research integrity cases, as well as regulations for handling violations in scientific and technological work, so as to draw red lines, define boundaries, unify standards, and strengthen supervision.

In terms of serious punishment, our attitude towards scientific research violations, such as paper falsification, has always been clear and resolute. That is, once discovered, the case will be dealt with, and we will never tolerate it. On Sept. 16, several scientific and technological violations were publicly revealed. Mr. Wang just introduced the handling of 107 problematic papers on tumor biology, which will shape a regular notification system in the future. Rule-abiding people should be protected, while violators should be restricted everywhere.

Since the 13th Five-Year Plan, various measures for the governance of scientific research work and study styles have been effectively implemented, and some deep-seated problems have gradually been resolved. However, we should also see that the phenomena of exaggeration, quick success, academic misconduct, and even fraud are still happening from time to time, and the task of dealing with work and study styles is still very arduous. In the next step, the Ministry of Science and Technology will work with relevant departments to further transform government functions and shift more energy to making strategies, policies, and guidelines, as well as creating environments and improving service. For some innovative entities, such as universities and scientific research institutions, we must earnestly shoulder the main responsibilities, strengthen education and guidance, enhance academic management, and expose and deal with bad work and study styles and violations. The vast number of scientific researchers must inherit fine traditions, abide by scientific research norms, and cherish academic reputation. The ministry will work with all sectors of society and scientific researchers to form a strong joint force, guard the "lifeline" of scientific and technological work, and promote the construction of China's scientific research style to achieve greater results.

Hu Kaihong:

Does Mr. Wang have anything to add?

Wang Zhigang:

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to friends in the media, and thank you for your time and questions. Thank you all.

Hu Kaihong:

This concludes today's press conference. Thank you, Mr. Wang. Thank you to our four speakers, and thank you all.

Translated and edited by Zhang Rui, Zhang Liying, Zhu Bochen, Lin Liyao, Yuan Fang, Zhang Tingting, Huang Shan, He Shan, Xu Xiaoxuan, Wang Wei, Zhou Jing, Zhang Junmian, Wang Yiming, Guo Xiaohong, Geoffrey Murray, David Ball, Laura Zheng, and Jay Birbeck. In case of any discrepancy between the English and Chinese texts, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

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