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Tenure track system

February 10, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Tenure track system is not a new trick for most higher education organizations and research institutions. However, it is just implemented in Japan recently.

In spite of those universities in Western countries, most universities in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan already have implemented this system earlier than those in Japan.

For example, assistant professor in Taiwan may need to be reviewed every three years or more, and may be tick out while he/she cannot pass the review in the maximum duration of their contract (usually it’s six year, depends on different universities).

I don’t have a comprehensive information about how the tenure track system works in Japan, however, it is surprised me that some of associates (equal to assistant professor in other countries) in Japan can survival without having any paper until the end of their contracts.

Of course, I believe it is not a general case but may happens on different individuals. Apparently this kind of situation could be amended by applying different incentives or regulations.

Another important issue along with implementing the tenure track system would be how to judge the quality of your works. While evaluating quality of papers basde on the journals indexed by SCI/SSCI and other indexing databases already has lots of critics in the worldwide academic communities, I am wondering whether Japan will have develop such as Japanese SCI/SSCI, just like China (CSSCI) and Taiwan (TSSCI) have done.

To develop such an indexing database, it always require those indexed journals using the peer reviewing system to review those submitted manuscripts. In this aspect, Japanese journals just implemented this double blinding review system a few year ago, while some of them may not have clear descriptions about that.

While hierarchy and authority of academic ranking remain dominate the practices of Japanese academic community, it may be expect that some junior/young scholars may be victims of these systems, I think this phenomena is what really matters for the development of tenure track system in Japan. I don’t know whether barriers of different academic clans could break or how long will it take or ease such pressures.

Apparently, I am not saying similar practices do not appear in other countries, but using Japan as the example. Personally, I do expect the academic community in Japan can have more systems compatible with other countries, because that mean a better integrate and confuse between both parties and e more fair standard to those hard work young / junior scholars.

Somehow, I am interestde about how those Japanese eared their doctoral degrees from non-Japanese countires accustomed Japanese system while they back from foreign countries. Obviously, before the implementation fo the tenure track system, some of them may enjoy Japanese system because they almost can wait to retire and have no burden about “perish or publish” once they can secure a position in the univesity. On the other hand, some may feel a little bit unfair or depress because of the hirerachy and authority of academic clans in the academic communities. In that sense, those junior/young scholars may even intentionally or unintentioanlly to do something favors those seniors without having their really helps.

Apparently, these kind of situations already imply lot of interesting issues for doing sociology of science / sciecne studies toward Japanese academic communities.

If the system only destroy the passion of young / junior scholars in donig academic research rather than inspiring them, the whole academic community cannot progress by becoming a series of virtual circules dominated by different clans.

Of course, personal choice should be also taken into account for exploring the reality of academic community.

Categories: Education, Research
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