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Science responds to "counterfeiting" of China's fuel cell research

via:CnBeta     time:2020/9/4 15:51:23     readed:1049

Today, an "editorial expression of concern" by science has shocked Chinese academic circles.The team of Southeast University and China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) has been on the research of science before. After being reported and suspected of academic misconduct, many pictures of the article are highly similar to those published previously, and now science officials are responding.


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However, "editorial expression of concern" is not a trivial matter.

INature, the official account, said: "based on past experience,"The withdrawal rate is almost 100%, hardly any accident”!

Once the manuscript is withdrawn, it isScience articles withdrawn for the first time in China

According to the information on pubpeer, a "scientific research anti counterfeiting website", the questioner is Elizabeth bik, a well-known "professional questioner" in academic circles. Previously, he also questioned the problem of "improper copying" of experimental pictures in many papers of Nankai University by Cao Xuetao.

Elizabeth bik has questioned more than 400 scientific papers in China in the past three years.


Earlier, on July 22, 2020, Xing Lida of China University of Geosciences and others voluntarily withdrew the article on nature. Inature said at that time that this was the first time that Chinese scholars (with Chinese units as communication units) withdrew their articles from nature since the founding of China.

This time, what kind of research did Southeast University and China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) team question? What is the problem?

Why was it reported? What is the basis?

The study was published in science on July 10, but it was questioned on pubpeer just a month later.


The question lies in the following: many pictures and articles published by the authorHighly similar


The first figure is figure S10 in the paper, which is found by readers to be very similar to figure 8b in the paper "enhanced ionic conductivity of yttria stabilized ZrO2 with natural CUFE oxide mineral heterogeneous composite for low temperature solid oxide fuel cells" published by Rong Xu et al. In 2017.

Its corresponding author is one of the corresponding authors of this study.


The red boxes in the above image are areas that look similar. The questioner asked, these two pictures are not about the same combination, should they show the same structure?

In the second comparison chart below, figure s9b is highly similar to figure 8 of the paper "the composite electricity with an insulation Sm2O3 and semiconductor NiO for advanced fuel cells" published in 2018.

Its corresponding author is also one of the corresponding authors of the science study.

By contrast, it is not difficult to see that s9b has an extra "430 ℃" curve, while the other curves in the table look very similar.


Netizens also overlapped the two pictures and compared them. First, the x-axis overlaps


Next, the y-axis overlaps


In the words of pubpeer users——Perfect overlap

Another scholar pointed out that although the three articles all share the same theme, they are three different material materials, and there is no correlation between them. Therefore, he questioned the coincidence of the experimental curves of the three different materials.


"Heavy research in Southeast University"

The full name of this paper, which is focused on by science, is "proton transport enabled by a field induced metallic state in a semiconductor heterojunction".

The research topic of this paper belongs to the field of fuel cell. According to the relevant reports on the abstracts of the paper and the official website of Southeast University (Wuhan), this research proposed theMethods to improve the ionic conductivity of electrolyte, and completed the development of a high ionic conductivity electrolyte

Zhu bin, chief scientist of solar energy technology research center / energy storage joint research center of Southeast University, is the co authorship and main corresponding author of the paper.

Wu Yan, an associate professor at China University of Geosciences, is the co author of the paper, and song huaibing, an associate researcher at the University of Geosciences, is a co author.

In the report of DIU news network, this paper describes the research of this option as follows:

In the past, low valence cations were used to replace high valence cations, such as doping trivalent iridium ions to replace tetravalent zirconium ions, so as to produce oxygen vacancies and improve the conductivity of oxygen ions.

However, the structure doping method has not effectively solved the century challenge of fuel cell electrolyte, which has hindered the commercialization process of fuel cell to a large extent.

For the first time, the fuel cell innovation research team of our university has designed and constructed a proton channel with the lowest migration barrier by localized protons on the heterogeneous interface through the electronic state characteristics of semiconductor heterogeneous interface.


It is another important original research achievement in the field of energy.

In fact, a month ago, when this paper was published in science, the Southeast University where Professor Zhu bin works, and China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), where Associate Professor Wu Yan works, published the news with the titles of "major breakthrough" and "original".


According to the official reports of the two universities, the research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) and the high-level talent introduction program of Southeast University.


Just a month after the reports from both schools, on August 10, 2020, the article was questioned for academic misconduct. At the same time, science magazine also received e-mails from two independent sources, both of which questioned the paper.

On September 4, science released the latest statement, disclosing the specific information to readers, and waiting for the investigation and clarification of the author's institution.

At present, the school of energy and environment of Southeast University and Zhu Bin's team have not responded to the incident.

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