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Congratulations to Xinqu Zhang, our PhD candidate, whose PhD study was recognized by the 8th World Conference on Research Integrity

13 June 2024

Congratulations to Xinqu Zhang, our PhD candidate, whose PhD study was rewarded the Excellence in Doctoral Research Award by the 8th World Conference on Research Integrity (WCRI) from 2-5 June in Athens, Greece. This award is the first time won by our PhD student. His recognized study is “Research Misconduct in China: Towards an Institutional and Emotional Analysis.”


This study examines the causes of research misconduct in Chinese universities. Traditional approaches mainly focus on problematic personal moralities and insufficient institutional supervision. However, the author argues that the research about the causes should also include examinations of institutional (e.g., the university’s bureaucratic governance system) and emotional factors (e.g., working stress brought by the university and faculty/department’s policies of academic performance assessment). This study adopted a qualitative approach for data collection (in-depth interviews and official documents) and analysis, arguing that faculty members’ breaching academic integrity may be a strategy to cope with working stress brought by the “publish or perish” policy, which is currently implemented in elite Chinese universities.


The institutional factors mentioned in this study are published in the following two articles:


Zhang, X., & Wang, P. (2024). Research misconduct in China: towards an institutional analysis. Research Ethics. 


Zhang, X., & Wang, P. (forthcoming). The politics of higher education in China: the signal–response mechanism, downward tiered pressure escalation, and the Double First-Class University Initiative. Comparative Education.


Xinqu’s article in Research Ethics, co-authored with Dr. Peng Wang, was also featured in Nature news. The article is the only academic source and the focus of the news article, with additional commentary from other researchers.

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