Following a string of scandals involving academic fraud and plagiarism this year, China issued a trial regulation on scientific misconduct Thursday.
"This is the first time that a unified regulation has been issued to put scientific misconduct in the legal system," Mei Yonghong, director of the policy and regulation department of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).
According to the regulation, the acts of falsifying resumes, plagiarizing works of others, fabricating scientific data, and violating regulations governing research on humans and animals will be given punishment ranging from warning, suspension of research projects, confiscating project funding and being expelled from research organizations.
"The heaviest punishment will be disqualification from state science projects for life," Mei said.
"The regulation will provide a legal basis for handling future scientific misconduct and serve as a warning to others," said Shang Yong, vice minister of MOST.
When China has been advocating and pushing for innovation, the scientific community has been plagued by a number of high-profile scientific scandals.
Top scientist Chen Jin was in May sacked from the prestigious Shanghai Jiaotong University for faking data relating to a digital computer chip that was developed with state-funding.
A professor at the elite Tsinghua University in Beijing, Liu Hui, was removed from his post in March for faking his academic achievements and work experience
In late April, Yang Jie, former director of the Life Science and Technology Institute at the prestigious Tongji University in Shanghai, was sacked after the veracity of his academic record was questioned.
Experts say it is not easy to completely eradicate scientific misconduct, but it can be minimized by strong preventive measures, fair competitions and greater transparency.
(Xinhua News Agency November 10, 2006)