Author of a non-fiction work did not violate responsible conduct of research (TENK 2021:23)

A university’s humanities docent A wrote a book that passed its peer review and was published in a scientific publication series. In the opinion of X, a person outside of the university, references were incorrectly cited in the book, non-scientific sources were used without source criticism, and readers were misled by covering up information. In their RCR notification to the university on the suspected violations, X alleged that A had engaged in fabrication, falsification and other disregard for responsible conduct of research.

The university decided that A was not responsible for the RCR violations alleged by X because the inaccuracies in the book were insignificant. In addition, some of X’s allegations related to differences of interpretation, which are not matters of research integrity. X was dissatisfied with the university’s decision and requested a statement from TENK on the RCR process and decision. According to the documents received by TENK, the university had handled the allegations appropriately. TENK also agreed with the university’s decision that A had not acted in violation of responsible conduct of research, as the suspected actions did not reflect gross negligence as defined in the HSH guidelines, and some of the allegations were related to issues not connected with research integrity.