The impact of SSCI and SCI on Taiwan’s academy: an outcry for fair play
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The increasing importance of the competition in global university ranking has resulted in a paradigm shift in academic governance in East Asia. Many governments have introduced different strategies for benchmarking their leading universities to facilitate global competitiveness and international visibility. A major trend in the changing university governance is the emergence of a regulatory evaluation scheme for faculty research productivity, reflected by the striking features of the recent changing academic profile of publication norms and forms that go beyond the territories of nation-states in the East and West. With the expansion of the Taiwanese higher education system in the last two decades, the maintenance of quality to meet the requirements for international competitiveness has become a key concern for policy makers. Since 2005, the Ministry of Education has introduced a series of university governance policies to enhance academic excellence in universities and established a formal university evaluation policy to improve the competitiveness and international visibility of Taiwanese universities. In so doing, the government has legalized a clear link between evaluation results and public funding allocation. Research performance is assessed in terms of the number of articles published in journals indexed by the Science Citation Index (SCI), the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index and in terms of citation rates and associated factors. Therefore, evaluation has taken on a highly quantitative dimension. Despite the efforts of concerned parties to encourage academic excellence, the abovementioned quantitative evaluation indicators have resulted in bitter complaints from the humanities and social sciences, whose research accomplishments are devalued and ignored by the current quantitative indicators. In this paper, the authors describe the recent petition for collective action initiated by university faculty to protest the privileging of SSCI and SCI publications as critical indicators for academic performance regardless of faculty discipline and specialization. The article concludes its argument with a group petition calling for more diverse and reliable indicators in recognizing the research of different natures and disciplines while creating culturally responsive evaluation criteria for social sciences and humanities in the Taiwanese academe. The article not only sheds light on academic evaluation literature, especially on the uncertain paradox of globalization and market economy, but also proposes alternatives to the evaluation system for humanities and social sciences in higher education.
KeywordsAcademic evaluation University ranking SSCI Globalization Neo-liberalism
We would like to acknowledge the assistance of Prof. Tsung Chi and Ms. Pei-lun Lee in translation.
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