Fri, Sep 06, 2019 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

Ethics of academic writing

After reading a recent article about ghostwriters in academia, I wondered why not all papers published by the author or authors? And why stop at ghostwriters? (“Draft amendment would make hiring thesis ghostwriter ethical misconduct,” Sept. 1, page 3).

It is relevant to point out that in Taiwan, the major rewards from academic activity in the sciences are for publications in “internationally recognized journals” which, for most purposes, means the articles have to be rewritten in English.

Is hiring a translator a breach of ethics? Or, for that matter, would hiring somebody to edit or proofread the original version of the thesis or report — whether in Mandarin or any other constitutionally acceptable language — be a breach of ethical standards?

Moreover, how should we deal with an Aboriginal researcher who is more comfortable writing in his or her native language, but is studying at an institution that demands that the thesis be written in Mandarin?

If we go that far, then how are we going to deal with people who use spell and grammar check for their documents or use Google Translate to convert one language into another? What about people who ask a friend or colleague to help with these tasks?

These activities might differ from “hiring a ghostwriter” only if it is explained in considerable detail why using a human to achieve an end is different from using software that achieves similar results.

If the underlying issue is the payment of money from a grant without notifying the grantor, then why does the government not just declare that as an ethical violation, spell out how the grantee has to notify the grantor and leave it at that.

Emilio Venezian

New Taipei City

KMT and ill-gotten assets

For years, I have written to expose the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) with regards to the ill-gotten assets it acquired in the beautiful country of Taiwan. You published my last commentary.

Given the plight of Hong Kong, Taiwanese — the most wonderful people on our planet — need to be aware of the following: China will also violate Taiwan.

To be a republic is a serious task, one that requires political parties to be financially supported by a nation’s citizens and its citizens only. Start with that!

Parties with ill-gotten assets must be abolished. Taiwan must demand that these assets be returned to the country to begin the remedy that is required.

Taiwan has one of the biggest markets in the world and has a voice. It must use it. This market is also of benefit to China as some Taiwanese products are produced in China.

Therefore, the US, Europe, Africa, South America, the Middle East, every country in fact, will be supportive.

Buying weapons from crooked US politicians is not the answer. Holding on to the nation’s position in the world market or expanding it is the answer.

Chris Petri

Chicago, Illinois

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