By Chris Wang / Staff reporter
Opposition parties yesterday called for Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) to step down amid an academic scandal that has made international headlines and urged the nation’s academics to review the system as it places too much emphasis on dissertations.
Chiang was embroiled in the controversy after being listed as a coauthor in five of 60 articles submitted by former National Pingtung University associate professor Chen Chen-yuan (陳震遠) and retracted from the Journal of Vibration and Control over allegations of falsified peer reviews.
The minister has denied any involvement in fraud and reiterated his innocence at a press conference yesterday afternoon.
“As the alleged academic fraud is being discussed among international academics, with many questioning Chiang’s integrity, the minister should consider his options,” Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in Greater Tainan yesterday in response to a media inquiry.
The controversy reflects the long-term negative impact of the conventional practice among local academics that has always prioritized dissertations and citation indices and “it is time to take a good look at the system and do something about it,” Tsai added.
At a press conference in Taipei yesterday, Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Chou Ni-an (周倪安) demanded that Chiang step down for lying to the public and violating academic integrity.
Citing the example of former minister of defense Andrew Yang (楊念祖), who resigned only six days after assuming the Cabinet position last year over his alleged role in a case of academic plagiarism, Chou said Chiang has no option but to resign.
Chang Cheng-shuh (張正修), a former Examination Yuan member, said authors and coauthors should be responsible for academic articles they write, and since Chiang listed the dissertations in question on his page on the ministry’s Web site, it is impossible that he was unaware of being cited as he has claimed.
“[Chiang’s] saying that he did not know that he was listed by his student as a coauthor was a shameless comment. He should resign over this mess and enjoy retirement,” National Chiao Tung University professor Liu Gin-show (劉俊秀) said.
A well-known civil engineering professor, the 56-year-old Chiang was appointed education minister in February 2012. Prior to the current controversy, he was criticized for his role in what some said was oppression of student movements, revising the curriculum guideline based on a Sino-centric perspective of history and poor performance in the implementation of the 12-year national education program.