Monday, December 17, 2007

Disciplinary Actions at Fudan University

The year is almost over, but the Committee for Scholarly Standard (学术规范委员会) at Fudan University (复旦大学), Shanghai, had just released its very first announcement of the year. But it's a good one.

The announcement include the results of investigation and subsequent disciplinary actions against three separate cases of plagiarism involving professors, teachers, a postdoctoral scholar and a graduate student at the school. Two of the three cases were reported at Fang Zhouzi's New Thread web site (but only one was credited as such in the announcement).

All three cases were found guilty of plagiarism. The graduate student who was found almost solely responsible for one case was expelled from school. The postdoctoral scholar received a penalty of similar effect. All the professors and teachers were publicly reprimanded. Professors who have the privilege of advising Ph. D. students have that privilege suspended for two years. (In China, the privilege of advising Ph. D. student is treated very seriously, almost regarded as an additional professional title along with Professorship.)

For many years, Fang Zhouzi's lonely crusade against academic fraud has been frustrated by the silence and inaction of various authorities. It is rare, although not the first time, to see a concrete action. This came from Fudan University, one of the top institutes of higher education in China, is definitely a huge plus.

However, Fang Zhouzi is also quick to point out that he is still waiting for the committee to report on another plagiarism case he had reported. One that involves an Academician in Fudan. Would Fudan just punish the small flies and let the big elephants get away?

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