Recently the falsification of scholarly research has attracted a high degree of public attention. I would like to take this opportunity to remind every researcher of the importance of academic ethics. In academic research, integrity is of utmost importance. Only when based on integrity, can academic research carry out its goal of searching for the truth, and enjoy the trust and support of the society. The principle of universal integrity should be the most basic requirement of academia, and regarded as a standard.

The most commonly seen violations of academic ethics are data fraud and plagiarism, and in some fields, translation may replace writing. These are all deceptive behaviors. Of course, deception is not allowed in any community, and is never more unacceptable than in the academic community.

It is regrettable and painful to learn about the unfortunate incidence in the academic community. But this is also the time to learn from experience, and consider how to help Taiwan’s academia to build a more sound value system. Some people blame structural problems in the academic system, such as the culture of the community and the promotion and reward systems. Although these should be thoroughly reviewed, most fundamental is the honor and pride of the researchers. For our own honor and that of our research team and Academia Sinica, with guarding the honor of Taiwan as the ultimate goal, we should routinely conduct rigorous self-examination. We should be proud of our achievements because of their substance, not because of any external quantitation or vain recognition from the outside world; we repeatedly stress the “emphasis on quality not on quantity” mentality.

If our researchers at Academia Sinica are reported to be in violation of research ethics, and there is clear evidence for verification, Academia Sinica will conduct a fair investigation and deliberate in accordance with set procedures. The academic community puts emphasis on the academic reputation of scholars, the development of which is not easy. However, such reputation is easily destroyed at once, if research ethics are violated. We should not tolerate fraudulent acts, but we should also not condone false accusations.

We must jointly safeguard the honor of Academia Sinica and all of Taiwan’s academic community. I hope that all my colleagues will remember our initial motivation, the pursuit of knowledge breakthroughs and scientific innovation, and enjoy the accompanying satisfaction, and not get lost in fame and wealth and abandon our academic conscience.

James C. Liao