China: readers respond to misconduct coverage
Three letters in Nature this week (22 June) respond to the journal's coverage of allegations of misconduct among Chinese scientists.
Shi-min Fang, webmaster of the New Threads website that posts accusations of scientific misconduct, says it is "ridiculous" to compare free speech on the Internet with the kind of persecution common during China's Cultural Revolution of the 1960s.
Regarding a letter which was sent to the Chinese government (see China 'must act on rising claims of scientific fraud'), Fang says it is "ironic that 120 Chinese-American scientists and self-appointed human-rights advocates have signed an open letter appealing to the Chinese government to suppress media and public opinions".
Zheng Huang from the University of Colorado in the United States also objects to the comparison and says it is the motivation of those condemning the New Threads website that needs to be questioned.
Both agree that China should establish an official channel to investigate allegations of misconduct.
Ushma Savla Neill, editor of the US-based Journal of Clinical Investigation, describes problems in dealing with the National Natural Science Foundation of China during an investigation of alleged fabricated data.
She says that by taking no responsibility for research misconduct, the foundation — which funded the study in question — both tolerates and endorses misconduct.Link to letter by Ushma Savla Neill