China has surpassed the US in the number of scientific publications. Unfortunately for China, it has achieved that landmark accomplishment by streamlining the process of publishing garbage. They have institutions dedicated to making up data, forging results, and writing up formulaic papers.
Apparently, the Chinese paper mills even handle submissions, peer review (if there is a peer review, that is) and sign the copyright consent forms while pretending to be the listed authors. This is evidenced by the fact that in some cases only bizarre Gmail addresses are provided for alleged corresponding authors in China. Gmail access, as all Google services, were blocked by the Great Chinese Firewall in 2014, on Party’s orders. It is theoretically possible to use Google via VPN, but the Party has criminalised this, so hardly anyone dares. Whoever answers the Gmail accounts like CaseyPeiffer8311@gmail.com is definitely not some doctor in China listed as paper’s author, but the paper mill operator.
They are assisted in this endeavor by obliging editors in Western journals, who seem to accept anything that follows the form of a scientific paper without regard for the content. Just keep churning out stuff that vaguely resembles the LPUs that get dumped on familiar journals, and it will be accepted.
The papers mills churning out masses of 100% fabricated, never performed science which only exists in Photoshop, are the secret of Chinese science output supremacy which we in the West so admire and strive to keep up with. Reality is: nobody cares if the published research is real, slightly falsified or entirely made-up. Fraudsters face little consequences if they are well-connected, and one can always denounce a western conspiracy. The good scientific practice lessons preached by Chinese science elites do not even apply to themselves, as the case of Xuetao Cao demonstrated.
As per official hagiography, Cao was awarded his PhD at the age of 26, because his Master thesis was so excellent that his examiners gave him a doctorate instead. At 28, Cao was made the youngest medical professor in China, at 40 he was appointed Vice President of the Second Military Medical University in Shanghai. In 2005, the 41 year old genius was elected as the youngest member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, of which the Medical Academy is part, and he simultaneously rose to the military rank of a general, the youngest in China.
Damn. I had to write a whole thesis to get my Ph.D., and I didn’t get a military rank, ever. I’m less than a private.
And what is all this furious scientific labor being applied to?
The extra joke on top is that many of these fake paper mill emissions tout the alleged powers of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to cure cancer and other maladies, all because the nation’s President Xi Jinping himself is such a big fan of TCM. The Communist Party of China is merely getting what it ordered, again and again.
Then all the quacks cite these fake papers that get published in “peer reviewed” journals to justify their belief in quackery. Thanks, China!