How do Chinese universities address research integrity and misconduct? A review of university documents

Developing World Bioethics
Volume 19, Issue 2 Pages: 61-122 June 2019


How do Chinese universities address research integrity and misconduct? A review of university documents
Nannan Yi, Benoit Nemery, Kris Dierickx
Pages: 64-75
First Published: 15 May 2019
Scientific researchers are expected to follow the professional norms in their own domain. With a growing number of scientific publications retracted and research misconduct cases revealed in recent years, Chinese biomedical research integrity is questioned. As institutions educating and training future researchers, universities and the guidance they provide are important for the research quality and integrity of the country. Therefore, through a review of the guidance and policy documents on research integrity in Chinese universities, this work aims to investigate how the professional norms are specified in these documents.
After a stratified sampling, 53 universities were selected. Their guidance and policy documents on research integrity were collected via a web search of their official websites. The search was confirmed by these universities. Then the content of all the collected documents were analyzed using inductive content analysis.
118 active university documents were collected and analyzed. Most of the Chinese universities we investigated had their own guidance or policy on research integrity. They listed principles or examples of desired and undesired academic practices, investigation procedures and punishments of academic misconduct, and put forward measures to promote research integrity. Differences on specific practices and principles were observed between university groups and with European university documents.
Despite the discrepancy they have, all these documents were designed to promote research integrity and cultivate a good research environment in Chinese biomedical domain. Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement, for example, through more consultation of international guidance.