On 9 October 2020, MOST and other 19 central government agencies issued the Rules for the Investigation and Handling of Research Integrity cases (Trial) (Guo Ke Fa Jian  No. 323). The document outlines the procedures through which central government agencies (led by MOST and CASS respectively for natural and social sciences) will collect, investigate and handle potential cases of integrity misconducts, which include:
- Plagiarising or encroaching on the research achievements or projects of others;
- Falsifying or tampering research data, charts, conclusions, testing reports, etc., during the research process;
- Buying, selling or commissioning papers or project applications, and creating false peer review evaluations and comments;
- Obtaining research grants, funding, prizes, honours or professional titles by means of intentional corruption, bribery, exchange of interests, or provision of false information;
- Violating ethical norms of scientific research;
- Violating the signature of research achievements (e.g. prizes and patents), as well as the norms for the publication of papers;
- Other behaviours breaching trust and credibility in scientific research.
The document outlines the channels and the requirements that reports of misconducts must meet, including: (i) existence of a clear misconducting actor; (ii) existence of a clear misconduct behaviour; (iii) existence of objective and clear evidence or clues. Real-name reports and whistleblowing will be encouraged so to avoid malicious and false reporting. An investigation of cases meeting the above requirements will be initiated within 15 working days, lasting for up to 6 months (at the end of which a report will be formulated).
Misconducts will be handled bases on their nature, magnitude and segment at which they took place. Punishments will include:
- Exhortation in scientific research;
- Limited or public criticism;
- Suspension of financial support to the research project/activity until rectification is completed;
- Termination of financial support, and recovery of funding already provided; nullification of scientific awards, professional titles, and recognitions;
- Temporary or permanent ban from government-funded projects, scientific awards, professional titles, and recognitions;
- Revoking of academician title and membership to scientific bodies;
- Temporary or permanent exclusion from endorsing researchers and from reviewing research proposals;
- Revoking of academic degrees;
One or more measures can be applied simultaneously. Members of the Communist Party will also be punished according to the Party’s Constitution and administrative norms. Misconductors can apply for a re-examination of their cases within 15 days.
Memorandum of Cooperation on Enforcing Joint Disciplinary Actions on Actors Losing Credit in the field of Scientific research (Fa Gai Cai Jin  No. 1600)