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Good practices

The impact of transparency

In 2014, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), one of the top basic-research funding agencies in the country, recorded fewer cases of ethical misconduct in grant requests than in previous years. The agency investigated 206 suspicious cases and confirmed wrongdoing in 33, which included plagiarism, data fabrication, and the use of false personal information, according to agency chairman Yang Wei, speaking at a press conference on December 30, 2014. From 2010 to 2013, the annual average was 49 cases. Wei told the journal Nature that this decline is the result of the NSFC’s recently enacted policies to combat misconduct. Since 2012, all proposals submitted by researchers have been analyzed using plagiarism-detection software. Transparency has also increased. In 2013, the agency began holding regular press conferences to release investigation results; according to the agency president, this has been has been helping to curb misconduct and foster good practices. At the December 2014 press conference, seven new cases were made public. In four of these, applications for grants were found to contain plagiarism. The other cases involved falsification of age, job title, or résumé.