Tue, Nov 22, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Students urge follow-up probe into NTU president

WAITING:Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung said the ministry would conduct its own probe after the university clarifies Yang Pan-chyr’s involvement in the incident

By Wu Po-hsuan and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

National Taiwan University president Yang Pan-chyr attends a meeting of the Education and Culture Committee at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday to answer questions about allegations of forged research.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Student groups at National Taiwan University (NTU) launched a petition calling on the university and the Ministry of Education to set up an independent committee to conduct a follow-up probe into allegations of forged research by NTU president Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池).

The online petition was launched by members of the NTU Graduate Student Association and the NTU Labor Union, calling for measures to remedy abuses of academic ethics while limiting interference with students’ research.

The students said they do not want to do the “dirty work” of unethical professors who are not held accountable for their actions, expressing dissatisfaction over a lack of action taken against professors implicated in the incident.

The petition has so far collected more than 200 signatures.

The incident came to light when a report published in the scientific journal Nature Cell Biology on Oct. 19 drew the attention of users of an online academic forum who said that a research team led by former NTU professor Kuo Min-liang (郭明良) forged research findings by using duplicated images.

Post-doctoratal researcher Cha Shih-ting (查詩婷) — first author of the paper — said in the thread that she had “inappropriately duplicated” some figures in the article, after which Kuo had the article pulled and later resigned from his teaching position.

The research was published in 2006 by the journal Cancer Research and lists Yang as a coauthor along with Kuo.

Yang yesterday appeared before the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee, also calling for an independent committee to investigate the matter, adding that this would bring “clarity and public trust.”

The university said in a statement that Yang did not forge the research, adding that the school would boost preventative measures to avoid similar incidents.

Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said the ministry would wait for the university to clarify Yang’s responsibility in the matter before conducting its own investigation, adding that it would seek repayment of bursaries and scholarships for any illegitimate research that it funded.

An investigation is already under way at the university, Pan said, adding that as the case involves violations of academic ethics, an independent group has been formed to carry out the investigation.

He said that the university’s investigation committee will look into conflicts of interest and prevent interference from concerned parties.

Asked whether Yang should be removed from his post pending the outcome of investigations, Pan said that there is no need for concern, as the allegations involve the academic nature of Yang’s position and not its administrative aspects.

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