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January 4, 2014

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Professor says ‘hatred’ is driving man behind plagiarism claims

AN eminent local doctor says a former student accusing him of plagiarism bears a grudge after being refused preferential treatment.

Professor Wang Zhengmin, 79, a hearing expert at Fudan University Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital, says Wang Yucheng, 45, is venting “hatred.”

Wang Zhengmin is accused of plagiarizing foreign technology to secure government funding of 40 million yuan (US$6.6 million), plagiarizing work and exaggerating his number of theses, CCTV reported.

He received the title of academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 2005.

Last November, Wang Yucheng, now a doctor at the hospital, told the CAS that Wang Zhengmin achieved this through dishonest means.

The academy has not responded, but at a press conference yesterday, Wang Zhengmin rejected the accusations.

Technology plagiarism claim

During an interview aired by CCTV recently, Wang Yucheng said Wang Zhengmin plagiarized foreign technologies to make artificial cochlea and obtained a national patent in 2003.

In 2012, Wang Zhengmin received more than 40 million yuan national funding for two projects related to the device.

However, it was never put into mass production and volunteers told CCTV it performed poorly in clinical experiments.

But the professor said while he drew inspiration from the exterior design of two Australian products, the interior components were an original creation.

“Inventing our own Chinese artificial cochleas was a long-time dream of mine,” he said.

Wang Zhengmin said he did not benefit from project funds.

Exaggerated academic output claim

Wang Yucheng further accused Wang Zhengmin of  exaggerating the number of theses he had written in CAS submissions, saying 57 of the 271 pieces were not theses.

Book chapters were published as articles, works published twice were counted twice and non-academic pieces were included, said Wang Yucheng.

The professor said he did not claim that every piece was a thesis.

“Technically speaking, about three quarters of them are theses. The other quarter are not,” Wang Zhengmin explained at the press conference.

“Those are mainly some essays about ideas on how to nurture postgraduate students and other subjects,” added the professor yesterday.

Academic plagiarism claim

Wang Yucheng also accused his former teacher of plagiarizing the work of Ugo Fisch, a professor at University of Zurich who taught Wang Zhengmin in the 1980s. The former student said about 200 pictures in Wang Zhengmin’s first book were copied from Fisch’s work without giving a credit.

“He asked us to scan about 200 pictures from some foreign books, then he replaced the English captions with Chinese ones. But he didn’t mention any of these books in the bibliography of his thesis,” Wang told CCTV.

He claimed his teacher had also plagiarized other foreign academics.

But the doctor said he did attribute Fisch in line with copyright regulations.

Preferential treatment claim

At yesterday’s press conference, Wang Zhengmin said he had refused to sign a document for Wang Yucheng promising preferential treatment, titles and financial support.

Fudan University official Fang Ming said this led to tensions in their relationship.

“I did not expect that his hatred towards me was rooted so deeply as I treated him well,” the professor said.

Wang Yucheng reported his claims to Fudan University in 2012 and the university conducted an investigation, reporting back last August, saying while the professor’s books did not adhere to standard practice, he had not plagiarized.

The university said yesterday that Wang Yucheng is still a doctor at the hospital.


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