29 August 2007
Chinese legislators are said to be discussing a draft amendment to the Law on Science and Technology Progress that would make failure of scientific projects more acceptable, whilst clamping down on fabrication of results and plagiarism. The draft amendment states: "Scientists and technicians, who have initiated research with a high risk of failure will still have their expenses covered if they can provide evidence that they have tried their best when they failed to achieve their goals" (see news report).
It is hoped that these changes would reduce levels of scientific fraud, whilst also encouraging innovative research. Currently, a general fear of failure is said to be common in science and medicine, with researchers who fail to achieve desirable results facing loss of reputation and funding; this is presumed to account for the relatively high levels of scientific fraud. The Chinese government has been making efforts to eliminate this practice in recent years, including blacklisting academicians for fraud.