Prof. Jih-wen Lin
For the second Director of the Institute of Political Science at Academia Sinica (IPSAS), the burden is heavy and the road is long. The burden is weighted not by the size of IPSAS but by its quality, which can be seen from at least three dimensions. First and most important, the IPSAS has been recruiting the best and most qualified faculty members. Their curriculum vitae indicate that, no matter where the highest degree is obtained, qualified publication is the only way to accumulate one’s achievements. This capacity gives the IPSAS the confidence to play indispensible roles in the evolvement of political science in Taiwan and abroad. Second, the establishment of the IPSAS indicates that Academia Sinica, as Taiwan’s highest academic organization, has recognized that political science can be evaluated through the strictest academic standards. To ensure the quality of the IPSAS, Academia Sinica had provided this institute with a solid support when it was founded. Third, Academia Sinica cannot exist without the financial support of the taxpayers; by this logic, the IPSAS is eager to share its research with the public in ways the latter can appreciate. A good try is the Institute of Political Methodology held by the IPSAS every summer: this camp propagates the most updated knowledge of political methodology to the graduate students even though the IPSAS is not designed to be an educational institution.
It takes time for this quality to nourish. The preparatory office of the IPSAS was launched on August 1, 2002 until August 1, 2012, when the IPSAS was established as a full fledged institute. It is impossible for the IPSAS to keep its quality without Director Wu’s dedicated commitment. We should also bid greetings to those whom Direct Wu thanked when the IPSAS was fully launched as an institute: Presidents Wong and Lee of Academia Sinica who played essential roles for the birth of the IPSAS; Professor Hu Fu, whose leadership of the Academic Consultative Committee guided the research orientations of the IPSAS; Vice Presidents of Academia Sinica who helped make the IPSAS possible; the space generously provided by the Institute of European and American Studies and the Institute of Modern History; the staffs of Academia Sinica who offered invaluable advices for the founding of the IPSAS. Director Wu coordinated these efforts to make the IPSAS a top research institute.
During his term, Director Wu built a solid basis for the IPSAS to grow and persist. The formulation of bylaws, the allocation of budgets, the division of labors among the staffs, and the arrangement of daily routines all seek to release the non-academic burdens of the research fellows. With these helps, the IPSAS is able to recruit talented new bloods every year, hold international conferences, host scholars from Taiwan and abroad, and sponsor doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows. Director Wu is not only a frequent participant of academic activities hosted by the IPSAS but also a good discussant, which enhances the horizon and reputation of the IPSAS.
In line with this basis, I am mandated to achieve two goals.
First, the IPSAS should deepen and renovate its formal and informal rules that are strongly affected by the internationalization of academic research. For example, the Ministry of Science and Technology has begun to integrate the evaluation systems and give more emphasis on the citation impact of refereed journals. Since books have been an important source of publication for some disciplines in social sciences and humanities, whether the IPSAS should adjust its rules of peer evaluation is an important issue. Moreover, research ethnics have extended from life sciences to social and humanities sciences, and so are the accompanied IRB regulations. Should political science, which cannot easily obtain the agreement of the subject who live in an authoritarian system, follow this trend? Although the protection of privacy has become a consensus, how to draw a line between the public domain and the private sphere is still debatable. These examples suggest that rules of the IPSAS should be updated to the changes in the environment.
Second, research fellows and administrative staffs should share more responsibilities to keep the IPSAS growing. Institution building is difficult, and the IPSAS is fortunate to have Director Wu as the founding Director for 13 years. On the firm institutional basis established by Director Wu, the research groups and academic committees should deliberate the updated rules and adopt them by a collective decision. Plural participation may increase the communication costs or even cause some frictions, but this is what institutionalization has to experience.
The burden of the second Director is heavy, but we can complement individual incompleteness by the collective endeavors of the IPSAS. When the term of the second Director is over, successors will take over and make the IPSAS an eternal existence. The road is long because institutionalization makes the path of the IPSAS infinite.