Fri, Jan 11, 2019 - Page 1 News List

NTU physician fabricated research: report

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

National Taiwan University Hospital is pictured in Taipei on July 22, 2016.

Photo: Chung Hung-liang, Taipei Times

National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital attending physician Chen Kuen-feng (陳昆鋒) was found to have fabricated research data in 10 of his papers, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported yesterday.

The fabricated data include previously published photographs that were reversed or cropped to appear different, as well as recycled phrases, the report said.

Five of the papers he cowrote with National Yang-Ming University (NYMU) professor Shiau Chung-wai (蕭崇瑋), who heads the university’s Institute of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, it said.

The Ministry of Science and Technology has suspended Chen for 10 years, the most severe disciplinary measure after lifelong suspension, and ordered him to return research subsidies of NT$680,000 to the ministry, while Shiau has been suspended for five years and is to return NT$325,000 in research subsidies, the report said.

Shiau had met the requirements to be promoted to professor partly by submitting the fraudulent papers and could be demoted to associate professor, the report said.

Chen is also an adjunct associate professor at the NTU Graduate Institute of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology, and has been an attending physician at the hospital’s Department of Medical Research since 2005.

He has received numerous awards for his research, including the 2012 Research Award of the Trans-Century Medical Research Foundation and the 2014 National Innovation Award.

Chen told the Apple Daily that he has a different view on the matter, but had to accept the ministry’s conclusion, as there is no way for him to appeal the case.

The newspaper quoted him as saying that he would correct the errors.

NTU president Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), who was attending an event at National Chung Hsing University, said that academic misconduct is a complex issue and he had yet to read the full report on the case.

“Academic integrity is a basic requirement for any researcher. There is no question about that,” Kuan said.

The Ministry of Education has requested that NYMU reopen an investigation into the five papers that Shiau cowrote with Chen.

The university would follow the ministry’s instructions in the matter, NYMU said, adding that its academic integrity committee last year reviewed the papers, but did not find any academic misconduct on Shiau’s part.

Shiau has asked the university to return the research subsidies to the technology ministry, but would also seek administrative remedy, it added.

Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) told reporters that his ministry disciplined the academics last year, but did not release their names at the time.

The science ministry in April last year tightened its disciplinary measures for academic fraud and has since bolstered education on academic integrity, Chen Liang-gee said.

It would also consider amending regulations so that names of academics caught committing research fraud could be published, he added.

Chen Kuen-feng and Shiau were punished under an older version of the regulations that mandates lighter punishments, he said.

Under new regulations, universities whose academics are found guilty of research fraud would also be punished, he said, adding that since the new rules took effect, no academic fraud has yet been uncovered.

Additional reporting by Wu Po-hsuan and CNA

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