Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) should move quickly to conclude a government investigation into the Kuo Min-liang (郭明良) academic fraud scandal and announce reforms, the National Federation of Teachers’ Unions said yesterday, while renewing calls for the resignation of National Taiwan University (NTU) president Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池).
“Our focus on Chen is not only on how he handles this specific case, but also the attitude and policies he uses to move Taiwanese academia forward,” National Federation of Teachers’ Unions president Chang Hsu-cheng (張旭政) said, calling on Chen to show resolve in implementing changes to a review system which some academics say incentives cheating.
The scandal sparked the withdrawal of a paper produced by NTU professor Kuo’s research team from the journal Nature Cell Biology last year, after allegations of falsification and bribery in more than 10 other academic papers, rocking the credibility of Taiwan’s leading institution of higher education.
First stage results from internal investigation released last month found that Kuo had “clearly” violated academic ethics, including failing to provide proper guidance and supervision for several papers.
Results of an ongoing separate Ministry of Science and Technology probe have yet to be announced.
National Chengchi University sociology professor Huang Hou-ming (黃厚銘) said the scandal reflected a problematic review system for faculty which focuses on points for papers published rather than substantive content.
“While the government has announced an end to the review for university departments, there is still a review in place for individual faculty members, so the effect will be limited,” he said, criticizing the ministry of science and technology over plans to implement an even more rigid points-based review system.
“The whole system is ridiculous because they only intend to look at journal labels rather than the content of the papers,” he said.
National Dong Hwa University psychology professor Wang Chun-chuan (王純娟) reiterated union calls for Yang to step aside for the duration of the university’s internal investigation.