There is a rather breathless piece in the Australian this morning talking about a computer scientist at UNSW working with ‘generals’ in the Chinese military.
A University of NSW computer science professor co-authored research with Chinese generals linked to Beijing’s nuclear weapons program and supervised at least nine PhD students from China’s top military academy.
Professor Xue Jingling has been named by Beijing as an elite “Thousand Talents Scholar”, and maintains ongoing links to China’s National University of Defence Technology.
NUDT, which operates under the direct leadership of China’s Central Military Commission, has been blacklisted by the US because its supercomputers are “believed to support nuclear explosive simulation and military simulation activities”.
At the end of a long rant about the Chinese government stealing IP and what-not we get to this:
“This research has been published in internationally peer-reviewed academic journals which are in the public domain.”
All the nonsense and silliness around national security and university research comes down to the issue of why would anyone try to steal university IP when the university business model is to publish IP in peer-reviewed public domain journals? In fact, the Australian government policy on open access is such that foreigners wanting to read that research don’t even have to pay for a subscription anymore.
This non-story gets even better:
The Department of Defence warned that universities must take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves their activities did not breach the law.
What has UNSW done?
The spokeswoman said that, in 2017, UNSW sent a list of Professor Xue’s research projects to the Department of Defence, which advised that his research was “non-sensitive” and “not covered by government restrictions”.
Seems “reasonable” to me.