Taipei: Taiwan`s education minister Chiang Wei-ling resigned today after he was implicated in an academic scandal that sparked public outrage and a police investigation.
The controversy surfaced earlier this month when Chiang was linked to a scholar whose papers were retracted by a British publisher following allegations he used bogus identities to peer review his work.
Chiang appeared as a co-writer in five out of 60 articles that were withdrawn.
"After reflection overnight, in order to safeguard my own reputation ... I`ve decided to resign as the education minister," Chiang told reporters as prosecutors launched an investigation into the scandal.
The resignation deals another blow to the beleaguered Ma Ying-jeou administration, which has been beset by a series of protests earlier this year against a controversial services trade pact with China and a contentious nuclear power plant.
Chiang, a 56-year-old civil engineering expert, was the president of National Central University before he was appointed the education minister in February 2012.
His name appeared as a co-writer in five articles written by local academic Peter Chen in the last four years.
Earlier this month British publisher Sage withdrew Chen`s articles from the Journal of Vibration and Control, alleging he had been able to review his own work by using peers that did not exist.
In a press conference yesterday Chiang tried to distance himself form the scandal saying he did not know Peter Chen personally. Instead, he said he had advised Chen`s twin brother Chen Chen-wu in his doctoral thesis about 10 years ago.
Chen Chen-wu`s name also appeared on a number of the disputed journal entries by his brother.
Chiang`s explanation failed to convince critics and pressure mounted on the minister to explain how it was possible not to know Peter Chen given Chiang`s name appeared on co-written articles.
The leading opposition Democratic Progressive Party called on Chiang to step down, which he did 24 hours later.