Faculty appointment and promotion in Taiwan’s medical schools, a systematic analysis

Jiunn Tyng Yeh, Boaz Shulruf, Hsin Chen Lee, Pin Hsiang Huang, Wen Hua Kuo, Tyzh Chang Hwang, Chen Huan Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: A rigorous faculty appointment and promotion (FAP) system is vital for the success of any academic institution. However, studies examining the FAP system in Asian universities are lacking. We surveyed the FAP policies of Taiwan’s medical schools and identified an overreliance on the CJA score (manuscript Category, Journal quality, and Author order). The potential shortcomings of this metric and recommendations for refinement were discussed. Methods: We obtained the FAP documents from all 12 medical schools in Taiwan, and analyzed their use of traditional versus non-traditional criteria for FAP according to a published methodology. The influence of the journal impact factor (JIF) on the FAP process was quantified by comparing its relative weight between papers with two extreme JIFs. To better understand the research impact and international standing of each school, we utilized the public bibliographic database to rank universities by the number of papers, and the proportions of papers within the top 10% or 50% citation. Results: Compared with other countries, Taiwan’s medical schools focus more on the quantifiable quality of the research, mostly using a “CJA” score that integrates the category, JIF or ranking, and authorship of a paper, with the JIF being the most influential factor. The CJA score for an article with a JIF of 20 can be up to three times the threshold for promotion to Assistant Professor. The emphasis on JIF is based on a presumed correlation between JIF and citation counts. However, our analysis shows that Taiwan’s medical schools have lower-than-average citation counts despite a competitive rank in the number of publications. Conclusions: The JIF plays an unrivaled role in determining the outcome of FAP in Taiwan’s medical schools, mostly via the CJA system. The questionable effectiveness of the current system in elevating the international standing of Taiwan’s higher-education institutions calls for a re-examination of the FAP system. We recommend a reduction in the relative importance of CJA score in the FAP system, adopting more rigorous metrics such as the h-index for evaluating research quality, and supporting more research aimed at improving the FAP system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number356
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Faculty
  • Journal impact factor
  • Medical education
  • Research


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