China's Ministry of Science and Technology has drafted a law that will allow scientists to report research failures without damaging their chances of future funding.
They hope the move will encourage scientific risk taking — essential to innovation — and curb the misconduct that has plagued the country in recent years.
The proposal will allow scientists to report failed research projects, so long as they can demonstrate their experiments were well planned and executed.
But critics say the real root of China's malpractice problems and lack of innovation is the lack of an effective, transparent mechanism to oversee research and ensure that fraudulent behaviour is punished.
Others say the notion of failure is problematic too, as negative results can yield knowledge.
The proposed law is being deliberated, with a decision expected in March.