Published on January 5, 2024, 4:16 pm

In late December, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology released guidelines aimed at promoting the responsible use of generative AI in scientific research. These guidelines were developed with the intention to ensure the “healthy development” of research and outline various aspects of the research process, including topic selection and peer review. The main focus of these guidelines revolves around ethics, safety, and transparency.

One significant aspect addressed by the guidelines is that AI cannot be listed as a co-author. This particular rule seeks to address concerns raised by some scientists who have included AI tools as co-authors in their publications. It is worth noting that many journals have already prohibited this practice. Additionally, these guidelines require that any content or results generated using generative AI must be clearly identified as such.

A researcher from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences believes that the widespread use of generative AI is an “irreversible trend.” Therefore, it becomes crucial to find ways to allow researchers to utilize this technology appropriately while keeping up with international trends.

The Ministry of Science document emphasizes that the rapid advancements in AI technology have brought profound changes to scientific research paradigms. As a result, it is deemed necessary to clarify issues related to authorship, intellectual property rights, and data processing through these guidelines. The ministry has also mentioned that these rules are based on useful foreign experiences and reflect international best practices. It further emphasizes that they will be updated as technological developments progress.

Moreover, the guidelines require any AI-generated content and results to be specified in scientific texts, particularly when it pertains to essential elements such as facts and opinions. Authors should label this content either in footnotes, the methods section or appendices of their research papers. Additionally, they should provide explanations regarding how this content was generated and which software was used. It is important to note that content identified as AI-generated should not be treated as original literature. If other authors wish to cite this content, they must provide an explanation. Furthermore, the guidelines also stress the need to verify AI-generated citations before including them in research papers.

These guidelines from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology play a significant role in ensuring responsible and transparent use of generative AI in scientific research. By addressing concerns related to authorship and content identification, these guidelines contribute to maintaining ethics and integrity within the scientific community. It is expected that they will contribute to further advancements and discussions surrounding generative AI technology.


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