July 15, 2014

Taiwan’s education minister resigns in wake of SAGE peer review scandal - Retraction Watch

Taiwan’s education minister, Chiang Wei-ling, whose name appeared on several of 60 retracted articles by Peter Chen — apparently the architect of a peer review and citation syndicate we were first to report on last week — has resigned over the publishing scandal.
According to the University World News:
Chiang said in a statement that the decision to resign was made to uphold his own reputation and avoid unnecessary disturbance of the work of the education ministry, after the incident ignited a wave of public criticism.
The UWN reports that Chaing’s resignation on Monday came after Taiwan’s premier, Jiang Yi-huah, instructed the Ministry of Science and Technology to investigate the Chen case.
What’s more, according to the UWN — in news that, we humbly submit, hammers home the point of our New York Times op-ed last Friday:
The Ministry of Science said this week that it may have funded the research for 40 of Peter Chen’s questionable papers amounting to some NT$5.08 million (US$169,164), according to Lin Yi-Bing, vice-minister of science and technology.
He said in remarks released last Sunday that if Chen was found to have violated academic ethics, the science ministry would demand a return of any research funds awarded to him and bar him for life from applying for such funding.
The relationship between Chiang and Peter Chen is a bit complicated, but may hinge on the researcher’s twin brother C.W. Chen, the UWN reports.
Five of the 60 papers, written by CW Chen – Peter’s twin brother – bore Chiang’s name as a co-writer but also listed Peter Chen as one of the writers.
Chiang was CW Chen’s former thesis advisor. In a statement issued this week CW Chen acknowledged that the papers in question bore Chiang’s name without Chiang having been informed in advance because they were a continuation of research on subjects related to his thesis. “It was my decision,” CW Chen said.
He said he had also sought the opinion of his twin brother on some of the papers and therefore had listed him as a co-author but had not informed Chiang. His academic advisor and his brother had never met to discuss the papers, CW Chen said.
At an earlier press conference, CW Chen insisted that the minister did not have any links to his brother. Peter Chen and the minister had met on only two occasions, once in 2004 when CW Chen graduated from the doctoral programme at National Central University where the minister was teaching, and at a science forum.

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