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June 23, 2017

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MOE minister denies part in academic fraud

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) said yesterday that he would get to the bottom of an academic fraud scandal that is snowballing into a major career crisis and vowed to not to hide from due responsibility.

In a statement released yesterday, Chiang distanced himself from allegations that he has "co-written" a series of fraudulent academic articles with an associate professor.

Chiang released the statement at a press conference yesterday, pointing out that he has only met with alleged plagiarist co-author National Pingtung University associate professor Peter Chen Chen-yuan (陳震遠) twice, and had only extended a short courtesy greeting to him on both occasions.

The Journal of Vibration and Control earlier this month withdrew 60 papers by Chen, accusing him of creating false accounts to subvert the peer review process. Chiang was listed as the co-author in five of these articles.

Chiang said that he does not know Peter Chen personally, although he had advised Chen's twin brother C.W. Chen (Chen Chen-wu, 陳震武) when the latter was in graduate school.

C.W. Chen, who also attended Chiang's press conference yesterday, corroborated his former advisor's statement.

Local media pointed out on Saturday that it would be impossible for Chiang and Chen not to be acquainted with each other, as they had been co-writing academic articles since 2002. There have been calls for Chiang to step down.

Last week, Premier Jiang Yi-huah ordered the Ministry of Science and Technology to look into the said allegations, with Executive Yuan spokesman Sun Li-chyun (孫立群) noting that Peter Chen has committed fraud given that 60 of his academic articles are alleged to include falsified peer reviews. Chiang's name was printed on five of the 60 articles, while one article was co-authored by both Chiang and Chen.

The articles were withdrawn from the Journal of Vibration and Control after the allegations of the publication scandal were made.

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