Yale Professor Criticizes Wide Spread Plagiarism at Peking University

From China’s Scientific & Academic Integrity Watch: Professor Stephen Stearns of Yale has spent this Fall at Peking University teaching two undergraduate courses on evolution. The school, also affectionately known as Beida, is one of the most prestigious universities in China. Today, a letter by him is circulating the school’s BBS and a few other web sites in China. In the letter, Professor Stearns expressed great dismay in his discovery of plagiarism cases among his students (after his explicit warning, no less), as well as behaviors of the school and the country in ignoring international intellectual rights.

What I found particularly interesting is his observation that “The fact that I have encountered this much plagiarism at Beida tells me something about the behavior of other professors and administrators here. They must tolerate a lot of it, and when they detect it, they cover it up without serious punishment, probably because they do not want to lose face. If they did punish it, it would not be this frequent.”


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