There has been much discussion here in Beijing of late around the ethical challenges that plague the Chinese academy and, as a consequence, that hamper China’s own progress in science, technology, and innovation. What is unfortunate, however, is that this discussion has occurred without reference to a tangible standard of ethics, perhaps for fear of introducing however backhandedly the taboo topic of faith-based moralities.
Ethical challenges in research are not limited to China, and the book On Being a Scientist from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences is an attempt to build a rational case and framework for ethics in the academic professions. This should be required reading across the entire academic spectrum, and the Ministry of Education would do well to consider the wide usage of this text, translated appropriately, in every pre-doctoral program in the PRC.
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