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致台湾“国科会”李罗权主任委员的信:两岸科学合作的一个问题

 
(2011年8月9日发出中文和英文的email,鉴于将有刊物要发表采访,特公布信件全文) 
 
李羅權主任委员, 
 
我希望和您商讨您主持的科学委员会一项政策。 
 
2007年以前,我还在美国任教,已经认识位于台湾新竹的清华大学教授江安世博士,也曾在北京听过他的学术报告,非常钦佩他的研究。 
 
我于2007年9月任北京大学教授后,曾邀请江教授访问北大、并作学术报告。承江教授美意,我也曾访问清华大学,这是我在美国期间访台后,第一次以大陆学者身份访台。 
 
江教授是优秀的神经生物学家。我和我的学生非常尊重他研究果蝇神经环路,江教授梯队的工作世界一流,我曾经专门派一位博士后到他实验室学习和培训。 
 
近年,我和江教授实验室也开始了多个合作研究。 
 
最近几天,我们有篇依据于我们合作的文章。北京的科学家发表英文论文,一般地址写Beijing,PRC。我觉得,我们可以写成Beijing, China。这样避开任何政治意味。正如美国作者的论文不可能没有USA一样,中国大陆的论文,最多可以没有PRC,但不可能没有China,所以,不可能我和我的学生不用China的地址。不用PRC,而用China,是我们能做到的极限。 
 
但是,我惊讶地得知,您主持的科学委员会,规定台湾科学家发表论文可以用Taiwan, ROC或者Taiwan,而不允许用Taiwan,China。好像违反此规定的科学家,可能研究经费将会失去、或受到影响。 
 
以上理解是否准确? 
 
如果我以上理解错误,您可以忽略我以下的讨论。 
 
但是,江教授和他的学生,宁可不要作为论文的共同作者,也不愿将Taiwan,China作为他们的地址,原因说是由于您的委员会有明文规定。 
 
我专门看了江教授和很多台湾的科学家以前的论文,都写过Taiwan, ROC。这样,我就比较不理解,既然可以写ROC,其中C也就是China,为什么地址就不能用Taiwan China。如果台湾海峡两岸合作时,两边都去掉带有政治的词汇(RO或PR),留下China,应该就是很好的妥协。 
 
我想,如果您服务的政府完全去除ROC的称号,您的委员会禁止使用China有其缘由。而在您的政府尚使用ROC的情况下,禁止使用China的地址,在任何方面都不可理解。如果有人希望台湾独立,可能由您的委员会这样一个掌握科学经费的机构自行先于其政府以任何形式的起步也不很合适。 
 
江教授非常善意和我们合作。他和学生不在意做作者。他们很慷慨。可是:在他们做了实验后,不做作者,我和我的学生非常内疚; 更重要的是,如果这样,台湾海峡两岸的合作全部要出现问题,因为合作后无法写论文的地址。
 
您在美国阿拉斯加大学任教多年,自然可以脱离您目前职务来看此事,很难不认为这种规定不是不必要为难台湾科学家。 
 
这个问题不是我和江教授两个实验室的问题,而是两岸合作的问题。这个问题不是两岸很大的政治问题,而是您的委员会规定导致的很具体问题。 
 
作为一个科学家,作为一个希望促进两岸合作的科学家,作为一个受益于与台湾优秀科学家合作的学者,我请求您重新考虑:对于您的委员会资助的台湾科学家的研究、或者他们和大陆学者的合作研究,允许使用Taiwan China的地址。您可以不允许他们使用PRC地址,这在政治上和您服务的政府一致,也有智力诚实。 
 
我和台湾多位科学家,包括中央研究院和清华、台大的教授有交往,还有一些访问在预计中,包括2012年将来台开会。台大生命科学学院多位教授曾经组团来北大我的学院。我们交流最好的希望是有合作,如果我们合作成功却在发表论文的时候出现不可逾越的问题,那么海峡两岸不仅合作有问题,交流的意义都大大减小。 
 
我非常希望此事能够得到您和您的委员会其他同仁妥善解决。 
 
我在写此信前,没有征得江安世教授同意,如果有任何不妥,责任完全在我。 
 
顺致  
 
       夏安! 
 
北京大学 生物学教授 饶毅 
 
2011年8月9日 
 

Dear Dr. Lou-Chuang Lee,
 
I would like to discuss an issue with you about a specific policy of the Science Council which you chair.
 
Before 2007, while I was still on the faculty of an US university, I had been fortunate to know Dr. Ann-Shyn Chiang, Professor of Biology at Tsinghua University at Hsintsu, Taiwan. I had also listened to his seminar in Beijing, and highly respect his research.
 
After I took on my current position at Peking University in September, 2007, I have invited Professor Chiang to visit our university and he gave a beautiful seminar here. At his invitation, I visited Tsinghua University, which was the first time I visited Taiwan as a scientist from mainland China, although I had visited Taiwan as a scientist from the US before.
 
Professor Chiang is an outstanding neurobiologist. My students and I admire his research on neural circuitry in the fruit fly Drosophila. I had sent a postdoctoral fellow to learn from his lab.
 
In the past few years, our labs have started several collaborations. In the past few days, we have an article based on our collaborative research. When publishing papers in English, scientists from Beijing usually list the address as Beijing, PRC. I felt that we should put the address as Beijing, China to avoid any possible political associations. Similar to US papers which could not possibly leave out USA in their addresses, it is impossible to leave out China from papers published by scientists in mainland China. So, I and my students can leave PRC out of our address, which is our limit.
 
But, to my surprise, I learned that the Science Council chaired by you had issued a rule that scientists from Taiwan could list their addresses as Taiwan, ROC or Taiwan, but not as Taiwan, China. It was believed that any scientist in Taiwan who violated this rule could lose their funding, or their funding will be severely affected.
 
Is the above understanding of mine correct?
 
If the above understanding is wrong, then you can ignore the rest of my message.
 
But,Professor Chiang and students were willing to give up co-authorship, rather than listing “Taiwan, China” in their address, citing the rule of your council about the address.
 
I have read previous papers of Professor Chiang (and papers from other Taiwan scientists), and found that they had indeed listed Taiwan ROC in their addresses. I am therefore very puzzled that, if they can list ROC, in which C is China, why they are not allowed to just list Taiwan China in their address. When there are collaborations between scientists across the Taiwan strait, it seems to be a very good comprise for both sides to leave out words with political meanings (RO or PR), but keep China in the address.
 
I believe, if the government you serve wants to eliminate ROC from its title, your Science Council actually has a reason to make this rule. While your government still calls itself ROC, then it is completely un-understandable to ban the use of China in the address. Even if some may want independence for Taiwan, it is still inappropriate for your Council, which handles science funding, to take any step by itself ahead of its government.
 
Professor Chiang is very kind in our collaborations. He and his students do not mind about the authorship. They are very generous. But, after they have done experiments, if they are not co-authors, my students and I feel very sorry; perhaps more importantly, if this remains a problem, all collaborations across the Taiwan strait will be problematic, because the address for articles can not be agreed upon.
 
You have served as a faculty member at the University of Alaska for many years, and naturally can look at this from an objective viewpoint, independent of your current position. It would be very difficult to view this rule not as a problem that makes it unnecessarily hard for Taiwan scientists.
 
This issue is not a simple problem for the laboratories of mine and Professor Chiang. It is a problem for all collaborations across the Taiwan strait. It is not a major political problem across the Taiwan strait, but a detailed problem created by your Council.
 
As a scientist, as a scientist who would like to facilitate collaborations across the strait, as a scientist who has benefited from collaborations with an outstanding scientist in Taiwan, I hope that you would re-consider: to allow Taiwan scientists funded by your Science Council or their collaborative research with scientists from the mainland, to use “Taiwan, China” in their address. You can ban them from using PRC in their address, which is politically consistent with your government, and intellectually honest.
 
I have communicated with quite a number of scientists in Taiwan, including those at the Academia Sinica, Tsinghua and Taiwan Universities. I have planned more visits, including one in 2012. Biologists from Taiwan University have visited my school earlier this year. One of the best hope of communications and visits is to establish collaborations. But if, after any successful collaboration, we run into the insurmountable problem of authorship, then it is much less meaningful to communicate and visit.
 
I sincerely hope that you and your colleagues at the Science Council will solve this problem.
 
I have not obtained permission of Professor Chiang before writing this letter. The responsibility rests entirely on myself.
 
Best wishes for a lovely summer,
 
Yi Rao, Ph.D.
 
Professor of Biology, Peking University, Beijing, China
 



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