Taiwanese Researchers’ Perceptions of Questionable Authorship Practices: An Exploratory Study

Sophia Jui-An Pan, Chien Chou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In 2014, SAGE Publications retracted 60 articles authored by Taiwanese researchers due to suspected peer-review fraud. This scandal led to the resignation of the Minister of Education at the time since he coauthored several retracted works. Issues regarding the lack of transparent decision-making processes regarding authorship were further disclosed. Motivated by the scandal, we believe that this is one of the first empirical studies of questionable authorship practices (QAPs) in East Asian academia; we investigate Taiwanese researchers’ perceptions of QAPs. To meet this purpose, a self-reported survey was developed. Four hundred and three local researchers, including research faculty (e.g., professors), postdoctoral researchers, and Ph.D. students, participated in the survey. Four major findings resulted. First, the underlying causes of Taiwanese doctoral students’ engagement in QAPs were attributable to their desire to achieve particular academic-related successes and their feeling of reciprocal obligation to support other researchers. Second, the underlying motives for Taiwanese research associates’ (i.e., research faculty and postdoctoral fellows) engagement in QAPs were attributable to their attempts to achieve particular career successes and of the desire to consolidate their professional networks. Third, the participants generally agreed that QAPs had a long history among local academics but were rarely reported. Fourth, participants’ backgrounds (i.e., research discipline, academic rank, and type of affiliations) had significant effects on their responses regarding particular authorship issues; however, their gender did not have a significant effect. QAPs are a critical issue in Taiwanese academia; therefore, we discussed the implications of the current findings including subsequent instruction and future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1499-1530
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
StateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jan 2020


  • Authorship
  • Cultural ethics
  • Publication ethics
  • Questionable research practices
  • Research integrity


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