MOST Unwelcome News, pt 1

One of the annoyances of being a professor in Taiwan is that you’re expected to successfully apply for government grants to conduct research, even if you’re in a field of the humanities that doesn’t really require money or equipment of any kind. The application process is fairly streamlined and simple but a couple of years ago the National Science Council (NSC) was renamed the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and since the re-branding I haven’t had time to apply for a grant. I don’t have time this year either but thought I’d better try since I miraculously have this weekend free.

Well, unfortunately a couple of days ago a colleague was kind enough to call me up and tell me that the MOST now requires “first time applicants” to take a 6 hour online course in “Academic Ethics,” followed by an actual exam, before applying for a grant. Oh well, plagiarism is rampant in Taiwan so I can kind of see where they’re coming from. (More about this later). Am I going to click my way through this mountain of childish (see screenshot) material any college freshman should know about? Not on your life.

Background to all of this attention to ethics is a scandal involving the President of National Taiwan Univ. (supposedly our flagship Uni) who was accused of plagiarizing his grad student’s work or self-plagiarizing (I forget which, but I know he was caught plagiarizing). Although the Ministry of Education has absolute control over the entire education system of Taiwan, it never thought to propose a national policy to educate students about academic ethics or even basic shit like what is the difference btwn paraphrasing and plagiarizing. In fact, I was laughed at when I suggested making plagiarism instruction mandatory for students in our English composition classes. Somehow this fell to the MOST, which I guess decided to enforce this with a vengeance.

UPDATE: 12/17/2018
Having said “fuck this” last year, I’m back here a week or so before the deadline looking for this stupid academic ethics course for kids. It’s no damn where to be found on this stupid website…wait, finally found it!

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