- "Academic Production Amid Global Neo-liberalism" by Chen Kuang-hsing (published Nov. 30, 2004)
- "Reflections on Academic Evaluation and Academic Production: Taking Economic Sciences as Example" by Chu Wan-wen (pub. Dec. 1, 2004)
Chen argues that the government-encouraged value of competing internationally in the academic marketplace (including having the goal of placing a Taiwanese university among the top 100 of international universities) has led Taiwan "to treat academic production as a quantifiable indicator that counts toward national competitiveness and to implement rewards and punishments based on quantified scores." International academic production necessarily means writing in English instead of Chinese and writing for an audience that is perhaps not so interested in the Taiwan situation for its own sake, he continues.
At the same time, if researchers must use the theoretical framework and language familiar to the English-speaking world in exchange for the possibility of publication, then in the longer term the context and concerns of our society, politics, culture, and history will gradually be hollowed out and publication in the humanities and social sciences will more and more resemble that of the natural sciences and become equally monadic. This obviously runs counter to the recent trend in world academia of emphasizing diversity and heterogeneity.Chu agrees with this assessment, pointing out that
international evaluation criteria do not attach importance to the functional goal of "serving the needs of the local society." The problems that international journals are concerned about, their problem awareness, is led by the European and North American (it would be more accurate to say the U.S.) academic circles. While these concerns also have their universal significance, they do not necessarily have a lot of overlap with the immediate concerns of Taiwan and any other region.Chu goes on,
The globalization phenomenon of the humanities and social sciences in catching-up economies like Taiwan is not at all an "international division of labor." Instead, under the shroud of U.S. cultural hegemony, we invoke on our own account U.S. criteria (that we affirm) as standard for mutual evaluation. This might lead to a blind following of Western theory. At the same time it might translate into the commitment of vast academic resources for the research of U.S. mainstream issues as well as the examination of local issues from an American perspective and American problem awareness.Chen and Chu both argue that Taiwan scholars and government organizations like the Ministry of Education should be aware that using "international" criteria for judging academic production can come with a price if the concept of international standards of quality is conflated with the goal of publishing internationally in Western (mostly U.S.) academic journals. What gets lost is a concern with locally pressing issues and concerns.