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Intellectual Property Violations and Research Misconduct


Intellectual Property Violations and Research Misconduct

in Anna Lora Wainwright’s Resigned Activism

Dear FORHEAD colleagues:


Since 2008, FORHEAD has worked to promote interdisciplinary research on the complex interactions between environment health and development in China. Through small grants, our annual conference, the Summer Institute and other gatherings, we have provided a platform for academic exchange and collaboration that has helped to strengthen the evidence base for policy and raise public awareness of the complex challenges of environmental impacts on health. (Click here to see a brochure on 10 years of our work).


FORHEAD has always been committed to the principles of equality and mutual respect among participants from different disciplines and backgrounds. We are therefore sad to report that Anna Lora Wainwright (ALW), a researcher at the University of Oxford who participated in several FORHEAD projects, has violated those principles and committed intellectual property violations and other forms of ethical misconduct in her book, Resigned Activism: Learning to Live with Pollution in Rural China, which was published by MIT Press in 2017. This includes the misappropriation of the work of others (plagiarism) and errors of fact, as well as selective referencing and language that obscure the division of labor and the roles and contributions of Anna Lora Wainwright and other researchers to the research.


In an exchange with her in June 2016 over one draft chapter of Resigned Activism, we warned ALW about these problems. She insisted they were oversights and made revisions to that chapter. But in 2018 we discovered that the problems in other chapters of Resigned Activism are worse. As the evidence shows (click here for relatеd evidence), this is not a case of a few missing citations or minor misunderstandings. It is serious plagiarism and misrepresentations involving multiple projects. Especially after our warning, we do not see how this could have been unintentional.


The most direct effect of ALW's misconduct has been to deny her collaborators professional recognition and rewards for their work. FORHEAD is supporting them in seeking redress and documenting this process. But this case has implications far beyond the individuals involved. The issues it raises of trust, fairness and reciprocity go to the heart of the project of collaboration to which our FORHEAD network has been committed. We are sharing the evidence with you in order to encourage debate and reflection about how individuals and institutions can ensure high ethical standards in international collaborations.

Detailed evidence is attached.

FORHEAD Working Group on Ethics in Collaboration


关于Anna Lora Wainwright所著的《Resigned Activism》





    FORHEAD自2008年成立以来,一直致力于推动跨学科环境与健康问题研究,通过大量的学术交流、研究活动、圆桌会议、政策论坛等方式,力图从跨学科的视角,能够更全面理解具有复杂性和综合性特点的环境、健康和发展之间的相互作用关系,并基于研究成果,提升公众和决策者对环境-健康的认知和意识,以便制定更有效的公共政策。作为一个基于共同愿景和兴趣形成的学术共同体,遵从学术伦理,求真务实,一直是FORHEAD以及各成员的基本共识和承诺(点击了解FORHEAD十周年工作回顾)。但是,非常遗憾,我们极为震惊地发现,作为受到FORHEAD资助,并参与FORHEAD相关活动的Anna Lora Wainwright博士 (以下简称ALW,在其所著的《Resigned Activism: Learning to Live with Pollution in Rural China》《顺从的行动主义:在中国农村学会与污染共同生活》)【FORHEAD 资助了此书中所提到的大部分研究,该书于2017年由麻省理工学院出版社(MIT Press)出版】存在着对知识产权的严重侵犯和其他形式的学术不端行为。为此,2018年,经过审慎的调查和分析,健康、环境与发展论坛(FORHEAD)的代表向牛津大学提交了关于Anna Lora Wainwright所著的《Resigned Activism》涉嫌侵犯知识产权和学术不端的行为的证据。《Resigned Activism》讨论了在中国农村,人们如何认知和应对工业污染及其带来的健康影响,以及影响村民们采取不同的应对方式的主要因素。该书以专著(单独作者)的形式出版,但却大量采用了几位中国研究人员的研究成果,而没有对这些学者的贡献做出符合学术规范的恰当的引用和承认。该书存在着盗用他人的著述(剽窃)以及错误解读他人研究成果等问题,并以选择性引用和语言,模糊了学术研究的分工与合作,模糊了ALW和其他研究人员在相关研究中的作用和贡献。


    事实上,在2016年6月FORHEAD联合主任在与ALW就《Resigned Activism》中一个章节的草稿的交流中,已经就其草稿中存在的剽窃和滥用他人成果的问题向她提出了警告。当时,她坚称这些都是她的疏忽所致,并承诺进行修改;我们原以为事情已经得到解决。但是在2018年,我们发现这些问题在《Resigned Activism》正式出版的版本中更为严重(详见相关链接)。经过反复审读以及与相关受影响的FORHEAD成员的交流,我们认为ALW的著作中所存在的问题,并不是少数引文的遗漏或是对他人研究成果的不重要的错误解读,而是一名资深的研究人员的严重剽窃行为,且涉及到历经多年和多个学科的多个项目。