Maintaining a Good Academic Ethos

July 19,2022


Source: Science and Technology Daily

For researchers, the academic ethos includes the way and attitude they approach their research, the sense of responsibility and value for the cause of science and technology, and the academic environment at large, such as research integrity, fair evaluation, incentives, and scientific spirit.

A good academic ethos is the lifeline of research and concerns the future of a nation’s sci-tech career. China has always paid great attention to building a good research style.

In the revised Law on Progress of Science and Technology, the construction of a good academic ethos is highlighted in article 98, marking the fact that the country’s sci-tech governance has achieved new heights, said Zhang Wenxia, researcher at the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development.

The requirement of the times

China has entered a new stage of development and faces new challenges. Having accomplished the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, China is embarking on a new journey toward the second centenary goal of building a modern socialist country.

The supporting and leading role of science and technology should be enhanced under this circumstance, said Zhang. Therefore, strengthening the construction of research style is an inevitable requirement for China to achieve high-quality development.

The researchers are expected to make more breakthroughs in basic research, original innovation and disruptive technologies, said Zhang, noting that only in a healthy environment will more research achievements be produced.

Remarkable results achieved

The academic ethos continues to be improved in China, and its governance has become systematic. This has been made clear from the national level, such as the obligations of the research organizations in managing research activities, the definition of research dishonesty, the subject to make investigations, the investigating procedures, the time span, and the punitive measures.

Zhang pointed out that the construction of academic ethos has become a regular practice in academic organizations since 2017. The universities and research institutes have realized that it is their responsibility to supervise the research activities, such as checking the recontributed and republished theses, and making investigations if necessary, said Zhang, adding that they also set up academic committees, introduce regulations, organize training and hold lectures to strengthen the awareness of researchers.

Make valuable and responsible research

Article 67 of the revised law also says the researchers should promote the spirit of scientists, such as patriotism, innovation, truth-seeking, dedication, and collaboration, adhere to the spirit of craftsmanship, and be honest and trustworthy in research activities.

Zhang said this underscored the researchers’ social responsibility. They are expected to have a practical attitude, and conduct high-quality research that has value and benefits society, instead of conducting the researchsolely for papers, she added.

In order to achieve further reform results, the country should continue to say no to the rigid talent evaluation system that overemphasizes the number of published papers, professional titles, academic backgrounds and awards, said Zhang, adding that what is more important now is to set new standards and truly practice the value advocated by the country through the evaluation mechanism.

To cultivate a good academic ethos needs interdepartmental cooperation, said Zhang, adding that apart from the Ministry of Science and Technology, other concerned ministries should explore ways to put the country's research value orientation into professional title evaluation and incentive systems.

(ZHANG Wenxia, researcher at the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development)