Education minister disavows links to scandal-tainted scholar

Taipei, July 13 (CNA) Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling has never associated, privately or professionally, with a scholar who allegedly published articles in an international journal, based on bogus peer reviews, the chief of staff of the Education Ministry said Sunday. Wang Jough-tai, secretary-general of the ministry, said academician Peter Chen was never a member of Chiang's research team when the minister was a university professor, but Chen's twin brother was. In a case of alleged academic fraud, the publisher of the Journal of Vibration and Control earlier this month withdrew 60 papers by Chen, accusing him of creating false accounts to subvert the peer review process. Five of the 60 papers were written by Chen's twin brother C.W. Chen and bore Chiang's name as a co-writer -- without Chiang's approval -- but also listed Peter Chen as one the writers, according to Wang. C.W. Chen admitted Saturday that he had put his brother's name on the five papers without Chiang's approval, Wang added. Furthermore, while Chiang knew his student C.W. Chen had a twin brother, he never associated in any way with Peter Chen, Wang said. C.W. Chen entered National Central University (NCU) in 1999 to pursue a master's degree and went on to study for a doctorate that he completed in 2004. One of his professors during that period was Chiang, who was employed at NCU until 2012, when he was appointed education minister. On Friday, the minister said C.W. Chen's five papers that were published in the journal were all based on "considerable research." According to C.W. Chen, he had consulted his twin brother on aspects of the papers before publication and therefore had listed him as a co-writer. Peter Chen resigned as an associate professor at National Pingtung University of Education in February after the university began to probe his peer review process, at the request of the publisher of the Journal of Vibration and Control. He could not be reached for comment. Wang's statement came a day after Premier Jiang Yi-huah urged Chiang to explain his role in the controversy and asked the Ministry of Science to probe allegations that the research for 40 of Peter Chen's questionable papers had been funded by the science ministry. (By Maubo Chang)