A social credit system for scientists?

Researchers in China who commit scientific misconduct could soon be prevented from getting a bank loan, running a company or applying for a public-service job. The government has announced an extensive punishment system that could have significant consequences for offenders — far beyond their academic careers.

Under the new policy, dozens of government agencies will have the power to hand out penalties to those caught committing major scientific misconduct, a role previously performed by the science ministry or universities. Errant researchers could also face punishments that have nothing to do with research, such as restrictions on jobs outside academia, as well as existing misconduct penalties, such as losing grants and awards.

“Almost all aspects of daily life for the guilty scientists could be affected,” says Chen Bikun, who studies scientific evaluation systems at Nanjing University of Science and Technology.

The policy, announced last month, is an extension of the country’s controversial ‘social credit system’, where failure to comply with the rules of one government agency can mean facing restrictions or penalties from other agencies.

The punishment overhaul is the government’s latest measure to crack down on misconduct. But the nature and extent of the policy has surprised many researchers. “I have never seen such a comprehensive list of penalties for research misconduct elsewhere in the world,” says Chien Chou, a scientific integrity education researcher at Chiao Tung University in Taiwan.

By David Cyranoski in Nature, via Michelle Dawson.

Comments

We need to do that here. Put those climate "scientists" and other Marxists hiding out in academia in jail. Obamacare just got repealed. Trump is getting tired of winning .... Next, the WALLL

It would be nice if this ended climate fraud, but remember, this is China. "Scientific misconduct" is whatever the government says it is.

(In the US, it's lefty journalists that decides what is "science" and what isn't, but at least they can't deny people a mortgage.)

Well, they like boycotts. Give them time.

"'Scientific misconduct' is whatever the government says it is. (In the US, it's lefty journalists that decides what is 'science' and what isn't, but at least they can't deny people a mortgage.)"

Trump Fan should be careful what he wishes for, and TPM might want to re-assess his view on mortgages. The New York attorney general is already going after energy firms that have expressed contrary views on climate change. Maybe, we haven't yet denied climate change skeptics mortgages, but people have been denied access to the financial system for their views on gun rights or, at least, there have been attempts by financial regulators to pressure banks into such access denials. China's social credit system is what happens when the concepts that "everything is political" and "politics is personal" merges with a central government with the power to implement those concepts.

In this country, we use Twitter for this purpose.

'Researchers in China who commit scientific misconduct'

Well, among other things. A Chinese researcher has many things to pay attention to and avoid, even if possibly such a researcher is living in a place with more freedom of speech than the U.S. - https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/12/sam-altman-fear-political-correctness.html

But at least this article seems to understand how a surveillance state uses its power.

(As for the West? Cutting off credit cards is old school and extremely easy - just ask some Russian shopper in Baden-Baden after it turns out the credit card being used to buy a $25,000 necklace is connected to a sanctioned company/individual.)

The conservatives see everything in political terms. In a way, that makes sense - their economic view of the world is contrary to human nature. To bring about their economic vision would require a powerful, vast, and largely unresponsive administrative state, to which there is much resistance. Hence, they are perpetually frustrated ... and angry.

Laws and policies have consequences, among them the need for enforcement and an enforcer.

To them I say, "good luck with that".

+1. That's why neocons love invading other countries.

Obama is a neocon?

You spelled communism wrong.

Conservatives are nicer and happier than progressives.

"perpetually frustrated ... and angry." is pretty much dead on for cons these days. Angry at Mexicans, Muslims, Hillary, everything really. No wonder they're popping opiates like candy.

Nothing nice or happy about Trump. With a billion scandals in the docks, 2019 will be a fun year for most of America and a great year for the US Constitution.

I feel that I was born at just the right time, the generation that was able to watch the moon landing live on television. And I will be dead before whatever apocalypse will happen, happens. Big Brother tracking and lack of privacy, social justice overkill, climate hell, whatever, I just think the worst is yet to come, and luckily I won't be around to experience it.

I think the Moon landing is a perfect example of Big Brother tracking, since it is well documented, that scientitst working on both the Manhattan and the Apollo projects were under harsh military and national security scrutiny. Oppenheimer's career for example was broken in half because Teller testified against him in a case where he was deemed too left-leaning.
Yet the fact that both projects were success also shows that such scrutiny and organization can yield efficiency in research.

Also, it probably didn't help Oppenheimer that he vented his moral ambiguity about the fission bomb to Harry Truman. Truman's reaction was: "I never want to see his face again!" A waste of a meeting that can enhance ones career.

>luckily I won't be around to experience it.

No one will miss you either, Adam Ludtz. Goodbye.

It's a social credit system individually tailored for everybody. Orwell could only envisage a one size fits all version. Who says there isn't innovation in China?

Not at all. "This foreshadows Winston's time in Room 101 in Part Three, Chapter Five. Here, O'Brien elaborates by saying that the room contains the 'worst thing in the world'. He also acknowledges that for every individual, this 'worst thing' can vary quite..." -- https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-room-101-obrien-describes-206729

The Permanent Inquisition. Is it "scientific misconduct" or just politically inconvenient?

Galileo "And yet it moves" might not be enthused.

Yeah... Even if this starts out perfectly it will take five minutes before someone realizes that this is a very convenient way to punish the opposition. Russia tried it. Millions starved.

I'm pretty sure it was already understood when the system was implemented. The problem with a system that has draconian penalties for conduct that it common and, most likely even, required at least somewhat for professional success, is that the system becomes completely locked in political in-fighting since the informal networks and negotiating now determines who is punished through the formal system.

How naive is Nature? “The social credit system, which was introduced in 2014, has had a large effect on life in the country. Failure to pay debts or fines can be recorded on the system’s website and lead to restrictions when applying for a credit card, insurance, or even train tickets.”

We have credit scores in the US of A. The social credit system is designed to punish subjects for deviations from approved behavior, like being a Christian or a Mohameddan.

ribby
this large voting will keep an eye out for battisti
but we heard he was last seen in brazil
meanwhile
whats a brazilian butt lift?
and why did speaker of the house nancy pelosi try to rebrand a confirmation hearing as a job interview when everbody knows a hearing is a legal proceeding with legal oaths, a gavel, witnesses, legal charges of criminal behavior and a lotta lawyers with law degrees from harvard? doesn't really sound much at all like a job interview
is it because if you rebrand a legal hearing as a job interview
then you can more easily fubar due process and just tell everbody
that points that out to just shut up?
looks nancy poolosi mighta just
gave the dictionary a brazilian butt lift

supposed to be large voting butt
uh no we meant large voting block

When regulators commit that profound credit distorting mistake of considering that what bankers perceive as risky is more dangerous to our bank system than what bankers perceive as safe, would this apply to them too?
http://subprimeregulations.blogspot.com/2018/08/risk-weighted-capital-requirements-for.html

Are they instituting harsh penalties for things we might agree are misconduct such as fudging data or plagiarism, or are they planning to punish “wrong” science like favoring Darwin over Lysenko as the Stalin regime did? The Chinese must retain some recollection of Mao’s Great Leap Forward that impacted many scientists; I wonder what lessons they draw from that era.

The question isn't "Are they" but rather "Will they". Intentions at the outset are irrelevant; the second, MAYBE third person to get the power to define "scientific misconduct" and to decide the punishment is going to realize that they have a very, very, very powerful tool at their disposal. At that point, it ceases to be a question of scientific integrity and becomes a question of loyalty to the views of the one calling the shots. The results of that situation have been demonstrated so many times that unless something major happens (nuclear war, K-Pg size asteroid impact, full-scale zombie uprising, something on those scales) we can treat it as a foregone conclusion.

"The Chinese must retain some recollection of Mao’s Great Leap Forward that impacted many scientists; I wonder what lessons they draw from that era."

Yes, if you're looking for long and unremittingly depressing holiday reading, I recommend "Hungry Ghosts" about the Great Leap Forward famine. It's been more than a decade since I read it, and I think I started skimming after enough accounts of the horror...but I recall they wanted to have "close cropping" work. That was planting crops so close together that, for example, a person could walk across a field of corn without touching the ground. As I recall, they provided Mao with photographing actually showing their triumph in that regard. And this was before Photoshop, so they must have had some difficulty producing those photos.

One question I don't think I saw the answer to was whether Mao could really be so oblivious that he could not have even a clue things weren't going well (i.e. did he not know, or did he not care...or perhaps some of both)?

The social credit system perfectly encapsulates China's view that nothing should be beyond the government's reach. If the government can control non-academic hiring, then it should use that power to punish "academic misconduct". If the government has jurisdiction over airport slots, then it should use such jurisdiction to punish US airlines for content on their US websites.

In the wake of Tiananmen Square, we debated whether we should de-link trade issues from human rights. The argument for de-linking was two-fold: (1) what China's government does to its own people is really none of our business and (2) integrating China into the global economic system would also engender political openness. It's obvious now that both premises were wrong. De-linking has expanded the jurisdictional reach of China's government, and such expansion has only emboldened China's government to wield its expanded powers ever more aggressively.

We have struggled to articulate why trade with China is not about (the classical case for free) trade but about geopolitics. That case has been built around intellectual property theft. But, IP theft is just a special case of China's government not being suited to global or even regional hegemony. The real issue is that it was a mistake to de-link trade from human rights.

As if America ever cared about human rights. America supports totalitarian regimes such as Saudi Arabia`s, Red China`s, Japan`s, supported Saddam, Supported Central American death squads. America supported the Mujahideen terrorists. Even today supports Sunni terrorists. America only cares about money.

I wonder what the definition of "scientific misconduct" is.

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