Thursday, July 06, 2006

China to name and shame dodgy researchers

In a bid to curb the apparently increasing tendency for fraud amongst research scientists in the far east, the Chinese government has unveiled a plan to evaluate the 'credibility' of the researchers it funds. Those individuals or groups who fail, through breaking the rules or making 'mistakes', will be made public.

Assuming this isn't another control bid by the Chinese government, along the lines of censorship, then I think this could be a good idea. This sort of thing should happen anyway under the peer review system, but so much research is being done these days, much of it highly specific, that it can take a long time for fraud or other forms of misconduct to be found out. On the other hand, there's no indication of what criteria will be used to judge the 'credibility' of scientists. Or of whether any punishment will be applied, aside from publicity.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Faking it and taking it

Taking responsibility, that is. Hwang Woo-Suk has admitted a part in the faking of cloning research in his lab. A part, that is, as he still maintains that the actual faking was done by underlings.

This is rather disingenuous. Either he was in charge of his lab or he wasn't. If he was genuinely supervising his research staff, he should have known what they were doing. Giving 'specific orders' is neither here nor there. If he didn't know what they were doing he obviously wasn't involved enough in the work to claim the credit for it.