Publish or Perish Purchase: China Grapples With Massive Black Market For Fake Academic Publications

260px-Gerbrand_van_den_Eeckhout_003We have followed controversies over fake pictures in Chinese newspapers, fake eggs in Chinese stores, fake meat in Chinese markets (here and here) and fake lions in Chinese zoos, but that does not appear to the end of it. Recently, cash rained down from an apartment building after a raid by policemen. The occupants tossed out $50,000 to try to destroy evidence of their fraud: fake scholarly articles being sold to academics.

As Chinese academics struggle to secure top research spots, the Chinese counterfeit industry has kicked in to satisfy demand. What is interesting is that it appears that Chinese research grants and promotions are generally awarded more on the basis of the number of articles published rather than their actual quality or originalism. Such fake research papers have been estimated as amounted to a $150 million industry and growing in China. (In a wonderful ironic twist, someone at Wuhan University published a paper on the fraudulent papers. Hopefully, this was original research).

There has been increasing international criticism of the integrity of Chinese research papers. One survey discussed in the article below one that one third of more than 6,000 scientific researchers at six leading institutions admitted to plagiarism, falsification or fabrication. Notably, in 2009, Acta Crystallographica Section, a British journal on crotabystallography, retracted 70 papers co-authored by two researchers at Jinggangshan university in southern China due to fabricated evidence.

I recall at the University of Chicago, one of my economics professors challenging us to disprove the efficiency of a system where academic degrees and grades are simply sold to the highest bidders. It appears that some wealthy Chinese have seized on the same idea. In a recent trial, Zhang Shuguang, a former railway-ministry official, admitted to $3.9 million in bribes to get himself elected to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He reportedly used the cash to buy votes and writers to produce books under his name.

Source: Economist

16 thoughts on “Publish or <del datetime="2013-10-01T13:16:59+00:00">Perish</del> Purchase: China Grapples With Massive Black Market For Fake Academic Publications”

  1. @hskiprob: Money & its advantages…payoffs and the perennial market of politics unspoken….your on the money trail ! Bravo! (recall this one):

    (from the editorial on Amazon: excerpted):
    ” What does it say about American politics when a famous 1970s cult leader publishes a Washington newspaper, dresses up in the U.S. Senate offices like King George III, and no one in D.C. seems to care? One night in 2004, at one of Washington’s most outrageous dinner parties, members of Congress bought a shining crown and robes to a billionaire mystery man who calls himself the True Father: the Reverend Moon, sushi mogul, conservative philanthropist, and publisher of the right-wing Washington Times. After journalist John Gorenfeld broke the story of Moon’s coronation, the New York Times compared the scandal to an act of the Roman emperor Caligula.”
    From the introductory review for:
    Bad Moon Rising: How Reverend Moon Created the Washington Times, Seduced the Religious Right, and Built an American Kingdom
    by John Gorenfeld

    Obviously the “Rev” Moon Published…and now he’s perished! But it says a great deal about the “market mentality” of American media power and socio-political consciousness. His cult in Korea was based upon the same process of mass consumption of his right wing (fundamentalist) extremism.

  2. Black markets are a part of every economy. I’m told moonshine and sex slaves still thrive in Amerika; obviously college degrees as well.

    I wonder if the Chinese have gotten ahold of any of the junk science coming out of the global warm and fuzys and their huge government budgets. Some black market products are crap. Buyer beware people, especially when the data is coming from the government bureaurats. How many peer reviewed scientific “theories” have latter been found to be incorrect or debunked theories by academia, later were found to be valid?

    1. @ hskiprob…very interesting. There is a standing caveat in the field of epidemiology when judging the (incidence & prevalence) rates of disease.

      Basically it stipulates that certain rates may appear to go up simply because we have become (for what ever reason) more aware of the conditions or of the disease itself. I think the problem with cheating in all of academia is that it is easier to get caught and when it is exposed it becomes the flavor of the day heading for media interests. Look at the SAT testing where rich kids cheated to get scores. I doubt that just started recently! The same is true across the board, Ask yourself why the Chinese rates of falsification is so interesting at this time. Haven’t we always joked about things made in China? The reality is that Americans are trying o rank on China with the implication (unspoken) that our standards are so superior. The real testy side of this is that those paper productions are aimed at international competition and our own market interests.

      Now we are talking reality.

      1. @Bruce E. Woych – A good story none the less. I remember a movie, supposedly based on true story about a small town in Romania? where the teachers in it’s parochial school were being paid off by Nazi parents to get superior grads. The story centers on a young Jewish girl caught up in the middle between right and wrong.

        Do do you remember the controversy that Ivy league schools, specifically Harvard, were giving “all” their students A’s and B’s eliminating anyone falling into the lower half of the class. Reminded me of how GW Bush might have gotten his degree…. Our ruling oligarchy is now being run by a vast number of these graduates.

        I’m still trying to figure out this black hole theory???

        Money has always had it’s advantages and paying off educators like Judges has always been part of the system. Like the black market, we can only speculate on its prevalence and affects. We know it’s there, my Ex-Wife’s grandmother, probably 78 at the time, got caught up in a Atlanta, GA situation, where a Judge was getting kickbacks for taking money to exonerate DUI charges. Her cousin happened to be one of the exonerees.

  3. How many of the Presidents Staff bought papers from China…… Bush proved you could buy degrees….

  4. Dredd,

    “Let’s hope the climate change deniers do not get wind of this”.

    This is where they got it from. ….. It’s a virus!!!!! :o) ….

    HEWG. Human Ethical Weakness Gene, (no not our JT. blog Gene :o)

    The evolutionary survival of the best fit, and the liars that manipulate the not so fit.

  5. State Penn is playing football with Ohio State each year. Your money goes a long way to educate them boys and girls in those two states.

  6. Reality is only as good as the paper its written upon. History, however, is “another story” altogether.

  7. Compare this to George Bush getting his MBA and faking it in front of the whole world. And when it comes to fabricated “EVIDENCE” we are the master race! Just consider the WMDs in Iraq!

    And talk about fraudulent paperwork? How about ALEC and the template for assembly line legislation…New Report Identifies 466 ALEC Bills in 2013 That Reflect Corporate Agenda. In 2013, ALEC is going to new lengths to hide its lobbying of legislators from the public eye. It has taken to stamping all its documents as exempt from state public records laws, dodging open records with a “drop-box” website, and other tricks.

    Deception and Lying is as American as GMO Apple Pie!

  8. Not to worry, according to a neoCon in the House.

    When asked about the following article, she exclaimed that she was glad the government shutdown helps us to be finally pulling ahead of the Chinese:

    According to an alarming new report published Wednesday by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, third-graders in China are beginning to lag behind U.S. high school students in math and science.

    (Report: Chinese Third-Graders Falling Behind U.S.).

  9. Maybe this is where the religious rightis getting its “scientific” support for its fundamentalist views. Oh yes and that Saudi cleric with the scientific position that women can to drive cars because it caises birth defects. Maybe the trickle down economists in the country are using some of these Chinesej papers to fashion their — so successful policies.

    And we are turning our manufacturing and food processing over to these people. Good grief!

  10. One wonders how the Chinese can build space vehicles, rockets, hydrogen bombs, and orbit astronauts.

    Not to mention their academic acumen in the hard sciences.

    Maybe the students don’t read the garbage academic papers:

    With China’s debut in international standardized testing, students in Shanghai have surprised experts by outscoring their counterparts in dozens of other countries, in reading as well as in math and science, according to the results of a respected exam.

    “We have to see this as a wake-up call,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in an interview on Monday.

    “I know skeptics will want to argue with the results, but we consider them to be accurate and reliable, and we have to see them as a challenge to get better,” he added. “The United States came in 23rd or 24th in most subjects. We can quibble, or we can face the brutal truth that we’re being out-educated.”

    In math, the Shanghai students performed in a class by themselves, outperforming second-place Singapore, which has been seen as an educational superstar in recent years. The average math scores of American students put them below 30 other countries.

    (Top Test Scores From Shanghai Stun Educators).

  11. Some Chinese entity just bought Smithfield Barbeque company in NC. Is that pork or a snake on my plate?

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