Gaming the citation and peer-review system: A scandal that forced the Taiwan’s Education Minister to resign

It is sad to have this academic and public scandal associated with Taiwan, but it is not unexpected given the ways in which the publication citation indexes have been instrumental in distributing research funds in Taiwan.

Have a look at the most cited articles in Journal of Vibration and Control (with SCI Impact Factor:1.966), they are occupied by Chen brothers and Wei-Ling Chiang (the Taiwan’s now ex-Education Minister). According to the Washington Post, the 60 articles that are now retracted by the journal publisher SAGE, are published between 2010 and 2013. According to an op-ed piece in Liberty Times in Taiwan, the scholars involved in this scandal occupy almost all of the top ten most cited papers as the authors.

Thus, it is instructive to see how the citation ranking/patterns can and/or may be manipulated. It remains to been seen how it is going to change the academic governance in Taiwan, peer review practices in SAGE’s journals, the use of ScholarOne, and the ways in which we evaluate research.

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