Wang Hui, Plagiarism, and the Great Bourgeois Academic Cultural Revolution

Susan D. Blum, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, writes on changing standards of academic conduct in China for The China Beat:

China is in the midst of a great upheaval in terms of higher education and intellectual work in general. Now second only to the US, China’s scientific research productivity is on track to be the highest in the world (see this article at the New York Times and this “Room for Debate” discussion for more on the topic). Chinese attendance in higher education has risen from about 400,000 in 1978 to almost 4.5 million in 2004 (and more since then), in large part at private, not public, institutions. Many students are trying to get through their student years however they can, knowing—or at least hoping—that their career prospects will improve if they have a degree. (Credentialism leads to fraud and corner-cutting in education everywhere.)

The number of universities and colleges in China has increased, and the number of faculty has more than quadrupled. The pressure to publish is extraordinary, and many faculty are obliging.

But they may not be writing exactly as their Western colleagues do, and nowhere is that more evident than in citation practices.


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