Chiang Wei-ling resigns in midst of academic papers scandal
Taiwan News, Staff Reporter
2014-07-14 02:34 PM
Embroiled in an embarrassing scandal over academic papers submitted to an engineering journal in the UK, Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling offered his resignation to Premier Jiang Yi-huah Monday after maintaining his innocence for several days in the face of mounting criticism. Unable to stem the timed of rising calls for him to step aside, Chiang finally relented and handed over his resignation to Jiang and President Ma Ying-jeou.

Chiang was implicated in a scandal over 60 papers submitted to the Journal of Vibration and Control (JVC) by Associate Professor Peter Chen Chen-yuan of the Pingtung University of Education. The journal revoked all 60 papers including five which were co-authored with Minister Chiang, following a 14-month investigation which uncovered numerous deceptions and discrepancies in the authorship and reviews of the papers.

Chiang had previously insisted that he himself had committed no fraud and the problem apparently was a misunderstanding involving the submission and review process. He claimed that he acted only as a mentor to students who carried out research and repeated said that SAGE, the publishing company behind JVC, would ultimately confirm his innocence.

Eventually, however, determined digging by the media unearthed evidence that Chiang and Chen Chen-yuan had a long history of collaboration despite the minister’s denial that they knew each other. As calls for an explanation mounted up, even Premier Jiang grew impatient, calling three times in two days for Chiang to come forth and explain his role in the affair.

As late as Sunday Chiang was still protesting his innocence, saying that he and Chen had met face-to-face only two times, both times just in passing. On that basis, said Chiang, he was telling the truth when he said in the past that he does not know Chen. Chiang had also proclaimed, "If I am responsible for this in any way, I certainly will not try to evade it."

Chiang said that he would ask SAGE Publishing to provide more information about for the revocation of the papers in question. He said that he hopes they will explain why each paper was rejected. He added that he will be in touch with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to clear up the confusion over the 60 papers one by one. He said he should have no problem proving the innocence of the scholars and students involved in compiling and reviewing the papers.

Chiang emphasized that as Minister of Education and an academic, he is keenly aware of the importance of ethics and the need to pay close attention to the quality of the papers rather than just blindly rushing to push out a large number of papers.

DPP legislator Kuan Bi-ling said in reference to the scandal and the storm of criticism it has generated in academic circles, that Premier Jiang Yi-huah – who also comes from an academic background – should not have to listen to any more lies regarding the bogus papers. She emphasized that this is not the mark of true leadership and it is certainly not what people expect from academia. "The university should be our social conscience," she cried, “and not a shameless hodgepodge!

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