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New Misconduct Rules

China's science ministry is implementing new research misconduct rules, including ones aimed at "paper mills," Nature News reports.

It adds that the new rules stem from a 2017 scandal in which more than 100 research papers were retracted due to fabricated reviews and the use of paper mills, companies that churn out academic papers using fabricated data on researchers' behalf. According to Nature News, China's Ministry of Science and Technology will penalize researchers who break the new rules by rescinding their bonuses or barring them from seeking additional funding, depending on the severity of the offense. Harsher punishments are to be doled out to repeat offenders, it adds.

However, Shi-Min Fang, who writes about scientific fraud in China, tells Nature News that there are already research misconduct rules on the books that haven't addressed the issue. To have any effect, Bradley University's Xiaotian Chen says that an example needs to be made in a high-profile case. "There should be consequences for authors with research misconduct, especially those in powerful and important positions," Chen tells Nature News.