Wed, Aug 15, 2012 - Page 4 News List

NTU professor calls on local academics to shed ‘index yoke’

Staff writer, with CNA

A National Taiwan University (NTU) professor has called on local academics to shed the yoke of US citation indices and embrace a “cultural awakening” while doing their academic research.

Taiwan’s academic community holds the US’ Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) and the Science Citation Index (SCI) in such high regard, Hwang Kwang-kuo (黃光國) of NTU’s department of psychology said, that he is worried about local academics’ lack of ability to think independently.

He said many Taiwanese academics are used to studying local subjects from Western perspectives and end up writing papers of interest only to foreigners.

To get their work published in foreign journals, Taiwanese researchers copy Western models and sharpen their skills in English writing, but fall short in their ability to explain their own ideas, Hwang said.

Hwang called on the academic community to find a way to solve what he described as “our own problems.”

In an effort to analyze and “rectify” this over-dependency on the Western approach to academic research, Hwang has written a book titled Foundation of Chinese Psychology: Confucian Social Relations.

During an event to launch the book, Hwang said one of its purposes is to remind academics in “Chinese” societies of the need for “cultural self-awareness.”

Meanwhile, National Chengchi University professor Chou Chu-ying (周祝瑛) said that while she is not opposed to using the SSCI, she has reservations about over-emphasizing its value.

In Taiwan, she said, the index has become almost indispensable when judging whether a university teacher’s ranking should be raised or when evaluating a university’s overall performance.

Hwang, Chou and others launched a campaign a few years ago to oppose the status given to the SSCI and SCI.

To date, 2,332 academics have endorsed the call, more than 80 percent with backgrounds in the social sciences and humanities.

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