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United Daily News: Academia must eschew material gains
Central News Agency
2014-07-20 04:04 PM
Scandals such as plagiarizing and producing fake papers have occurred in academia in many countries, but a recent case of alleged academic fraud involving a local professor has revealed a long-term serious problem in Taiwanese academic circles. Peter Chen, a former associate professor of computer science at National Pingtung University of Education in southern Taiwan, has been accused of academic fraud after 60 of his articles were retracted by the Journal of Vibration and Control, a leading international publication in the field of acoustics. The case, in which Chen is accused of creating fraudulent online accounts representing 130 academics to give favorable reviews of his papers and help get them published in the journal, shows the problem in Taiwan's academia of the pressure to be published. Over the past 15 years, the government has increased the academic and research budget from less than 2 percent of the GDP to 3 percent. However, this has not brought much positive influence to the academic environment in Taiwan. Quantity overweighing quality is another problem. Many universities have been asking their professors to produce as many papers as possible to put their universities in a better position to seek more funding from the Ministry of Education's "Five year, 50 billion" project. Under the project, the ministry is distributing NT$50 billion (US$1.66 billion) over a five-year span to selected universities to help them develop top-level research centers. The quota of published research papers is one of the criteria used to decide which universities get the funding. Another problem is university faculty affiliating with politicians for their own benefits, which means that they will use any means possible to achieve their ends. It is time to think more deeply about the problems in academia, seek solutions and improve the system. (Editorial abstract -- July 20, 2014) (By Elaine Hou)
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