National Taiwan University (NTU) professor Kuo Min-liang (郭明良), who has been embroiled in an academic fraud scandal since last month, was yesterday accused of accepting nearly NT$7 million (US$220,105) in exchange for letting other academics be listed as coauthors on papers written by his research team.
The Chinese-language Next Magazine, citing an unnamed source, yesterday reported that from October 2002 to December 2014, Yen Men-luh (嚴孟祿), a doctor at National Taiwan University Hospital’s Department of Obsterics and Gynecology, made 16 check or wire payments to Kuo’s account totaling NT$6.73 million.
Online academic forum PubPeer last month said that Kuo’s team may have forged 11 articles, including four that listed NTU president Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池) as a coauthor.
Yen could have acted as a middleman who helped other academics be listed as coauthors in the articles, Next Magazine said.
Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) yesterday expressed surprise at the allegation.
The ministry will instruct the Department of Civil Service Ethics to investigate and forward its findings to prosecutors, Pan said.
Department of Higher Education Director Nicole Lee (李彥儀) said that the university would submit a report on the allegations by the end of this month.
Although Kuo had tendered his resignation, which is still pending, the government research grants issued to Kuo and his team could be reclaimed if the allegations were found to be true, Lee said.
Yen denied the allegation in an interview with the magazine, saying that he offered to lend the money to Kuo to help him pay a mortgage.
“Even though Kuo is a professor, he had not been in an ideal financial situation,” Yen was quoted as saying.
Yen said that he and Kuo were friends since high school and that he had been providing Kuo with financial assistance.
He said that the bank wires were loan repayments, adding that he has a contract for the loan signed by Kuo as proof.
NTU secretary-general Lin Ta-te (林達德) said the university would launch an investigation.
If Kuo or any other people involved in writing the papers were found to be have accepted bribes, they would be punished in accordance with the rules governing academics and public-school teachers, he said.
Additional reporting by CNA