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Editor Spotlight: Kuo-Cherh Huang

In this Editor Spotlight, Dr. Kuo-Cherh Huang shares recent developments in healthcare research, his view on Open Access and his experience as a PLOS ONE author and Academic Editor.

Kuo-Cherh Huang, Dr.PH, MBA, is a full professor at the School of Health Care Administration, College of Management, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan. He obtained a doctorate of public health (with a major in health services research) from the University of Pittsburgh, USA, and an MBA (focusing on strategic management) from the Iowa State University, USA.

Dr. Huang’s research projects center on utilizing nationwide population-based datasets to analyze healthcare resource utilization, cost, quality, and outcome, mainly focusing on patients with psychiatric disorders, in collaboration with renowned psychiatrists in Taiwan. His latest research project concentrates on the effects of Taiwan’s pay-for-performance program for schizophrenia on healthcare resource utilization and the risk of suicide of patients with schizophrenia. All research projects of Dr. Huang have been supported by grants from Taiwan’s National Science and Technology Council for over 20 years.

In addition to academic research and teaching, Dr. Huang currently serves as Director of the School of Health Care Administration, Director of the International Ph.D. Program in Biotech and Healthcare Management, and Deputy-dean, College of Management, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan.

I feel that the quality-control mechanism in place at PLOS ONE is substantial, and the review comments from referees are mostly remarkable and in a professional fashion, aiming to make those submitted manuscripts become better published papers.

Kuo-Cherh Huang

You have a long and productive career in health services and healthcare management research. How has the field evolved since you started your career? What leads you to your current focus on patients with psychiatric disorders?

I happened to have the privilege to collaborate with a creative and talented psychiatrist at one of my university’s affiliated hospitals about a dozen years ago (before that, the focus of my research was on issues relating to strategic management of healthcare organizations and by adopting the survey methodology). My main role during the collaborative process was to perform statistical analyses. Our research team had carried out randomized controlled trials as well as utilized the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD), as the main data source for research projects, either independently or by teaming up with several psychiatrists in Taiwan.

I think both in Taiwan and many other countries, researchers in the health services and healthcare management increasingly use secondary databases, and one facilitating factor is the advancement of technology to make big data more manageable. With that said, the current development of relevant technology has already revealed its pitfalls and challenges in both clinical management and health services research, and the prime example here is the invention of ChatGPT. Take this new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine [1] as an example. The study compared written responses from physicians and those from ChatGPT concerning a couple of healthcare-related questions. The results demonstrated that artificial intelligence assistant-generated responses to patients’ questions were better than those from physicians with regard to quality and empathy. In a nutshell, it is imperative to keep an eye on such evolution.

How has Open Access influenced your field of research?

I would say that the impacts of the development of Open Access (OA) are double-edged. On the positive side, there are probably more opportunities now to boost the readership of OA journals which were beyond the reach of many readers throughout the world in the past. On the other hand, how to maintain the quality of OA journals to avoid becoming confused with predatory journals (which continue to flourish) is a crucial issue.

To augment the numbers of publications for the sake of either being granted tenure or fulfilling the requirements of a doctoral degree, quite a few people (including researchers in Taiwan) have been known to submit their work to controversial OA journals, even predatory journals. Indeed, several top-tier medical schools in Taiwan (including the university I am working at) recently decided to exclude publications from certain controversial mega-journals (including all journals from certain publishers) in their research assessments, clearly indicating so in their promotion policies.

As a PLOS ONE author and Academic Editor, why would you advise authors to publish in PLOS ONE?

Based on my experiences as a PLOS ONE author and Academic Editor, I would attest that PLOS ONE is a reputed mega-journal, especially considering a couple of controversial mega-journals (publishers) in the news recently. Admittedly, sometimes it takes longer than an author would desire to receive review results of the submission due to the fact that it is increasingly challenging to secure keen and capable referees.

Moreover, I feel that staff members at the editorial office of PLOS ONE always provide prompt and professional assistance when a need arises, either from me being an author or an Academic Editor. Finally, I feel that the quality-control mechanism in place at PLOS ONE is substantial, and the review comments from referees are mostly remarkable and in a professional fashion, aiming to make those submitted manuscripts become better published papers.


[1] Ayers JW, Poliak A, Dredze M, et al. Comparing Physician and Artificial Intelligence Chatbot Responses to Patient Questions Posted to a Public Social Media Forum. JAMA Intern Med. Published online April 28, 2023. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2023.1838

Disclaimer: Views expressed by contributors are solely those of individual contributors, and not necessarily those of PLOS.

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