Monday, December 10, 2007

Wang Rui, One With Many Faces (And Genders)

In July, 2007, a netter reported to Fang Zhouzi that a Dean at Yunnan Nationalities University (云南民族大学) by the name of Wang Rui (王锐) has a peculiar resume. The resume was posted in the official school site but has since made unavailable.

In his resume, Mr. Wang Rui claims that he had spent six years (1997 - 2003) in University of Southern California (USC) under the Nobel Prize winner Professor George Olah and earned a Ph. D. in Chemistry there. He then spent a year or so there doing postdoctoral research. His resume then listed five papers he had coauthored and published in prominent research journals during the period.

What was peculiar, however, was that none of these papers listed USC as the author's address. Neither was Professor Olah in the coauthor list. Could this be a blatant case of identity theft?

This won't be hard to find out. Indeed, Fang Zhouzi's investigation quickly turned up the following facts:
  1. One of Wang Rui's papers, published in Nature Biotechnology, is the product of a lab in University of Kentucky. The coauthor Wang Rui of that paper, is a female. Not even the same gender of the Dean at Yunnan Nationalities University.
  2. The other four papers are all the products of a group from North Carolina State University. According to the corresponding author of those papers, Dr. Chen-Loung Chen, the Wang Rui in these papers is still in the United States and can not be the same person at Yunnan Nationalities University
  3. Responding to Fang Zhouzi's inquiry, Professor Olah testified that "Mr. Rui Wang to my recollection spent maybe six months in my Institute on a Chinese fellowship in the late 90's. He never received a Ph. D. degree here or thus could not have been a post-doctoral fellow."
  4. A search in ProQuest database showed two other Wang Rui's who had obtained Ph.D.'s during the time period in question. But their major areas are so different from the Dean's, they could not be possibly a match.
Therefore, it's pretty safe to conclude that the resume of this Dean at Yunnan Nationalities University is a complete fabrication. This Wang Rui most likely had never earned a Ph.D. degree as he claimed. His publications are stolen from other people with the same name.

Sadly, such a clear-cut fraud case did not seem to disturb much within Yunnan Nationalities University itself. Students in the school reported, anonymously, that their discussion of the issue in the internal BBS has been banned by the administration, and that Wang Rui continues to enjoy strong support from the school leadership.

Four months later, in November, a reporter from a local evening paper picked up the story. The reporter managed to get Mr. Wang Rui on the phone, who told the reporter that "not everything Fang Zhouzi said is true" and made an appointment to meet with the reporter. But alas, he turned out to be a no-show.

What Mr. Wang Rui did tell the reporter, though, is that he had since received a lot of phone calls from renowned professors throughout the country, inviting him to join together and sue Fang Zhouzi (presumably for libel and defamation).

The reporter still could not get in touch with Mr. Wang Rui and there is so far no news from Yunnan Nationalities University on this matter.

4 comments:

何人可 said...

Good job, Eddie! But, my worry is that Wang Rui's danwei Yunnan Peoples University (云南民族大学) will do nothing about it unless it's direct authority jumps in and do something. What else can we do then?

PoohHunny2 said...

Nice work. Eddie. Thanks!
We should write to 高教部 (not sure if it's correct) about our serious concern for this case.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Eddie. Perhaps one should write to Premier Wen Jiabao about it and post your article on as many websites as possible.

Anonymous said...

Nice work, Eddie! Go on!