BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- If the brawl over the alleged dishonesty of an academic continues, it will damage the reputation of not only the Chinese Academy of Sciences, but also the academia across the country.
The tip-off on Wang Zhengmin's alleged plagiarism in writing theses and preparing other research materials that enabled him to become a member of CAS was first received in early 2012.
In August 2013, the academic commission of Shanghai-based Fudan University, where Wang was a professor in the ear, nose and throat department of a hospital, issued its investigation report, asking him to explain his alleged academic irregularities.
Four of the seven senior academics who recommended Wang to CAS in 2005 asked the academy last year to disqualify him. In November, Wang's former student Wang Yucheng told CAS that the professor had won laurels through dishonest means and plagiarized foreign technologies and academics to get a patent. Wang Yucheng, a doctor in the same hospital, alleged that it is through such means and by exaggerating the number of theses he had written that Wang Zhengmin secured 40 million yuan (6.61 million U.S. dollars) of government funds.
CAS has said it is investigating the accusations against Wang in line with the required procedure. Is it really that difficult to find out whether Wang used dishonest means in his scientific work that the case has been dragging on for almost two years? It's time CAS launched a thorough, but time-bound, probe into the accusations to find out the truth.
Fudan University has responded to the charges against Wang Zhengmin saying that he was not found to have committed any academic fraud, except some irregularities.
Obviously, CAS needs to consult Fudan University about the case and check whether the university's investigation is trustworthy.
Scandals over plagiarism and other academic frauds in recent years have eroded the reputation of many academic institutions.
On the one hand, a crackdown on academic frauds is more than necessary to cleanse China's academia. On the other, measures should be taken to stop disgruntled rivals from leveling baseless charges against researchers and scholars.