Disregard for responsible conduct of research in the abovementioned case concerning the field of medicine that was investigated at a university was verified. Docent A, who put forth the allegation, worked at the university in the research group led by docent B. According to docent A, there were violations against research integrity occurring in the activities of the research group led by docent B. On the basis of a preliminary investigation that was carried out, the university recognised that docent B was guilty of disregard for responsible conduct of research by, for example, inadequately reporting on the research methods used.
In the request for a statement to TENK, docent A displayed dissatisfaction in how the working group that carried out the preliminary investigation heard out the parties and especially in that the working group did not hear out the individuals named by docent A who could have verified that docent B declined to talk about the case that led to a patient’s death. Furthermore, docent A suspected docent B of falsification. According to docent A, there should have been an official investigation made on the matter in accordance with the RCR process.
According to TENK’s evaluation, hearing out the parties had, however, fulfilled its purpose. The working group that carried out the preliminary investigation had the right to not hear out the individuals as named by docent A because of the fact that even if there was this claimed refusal, it could not be deduced that there was an intentional attempt to deceive the scientific community. Docent B’s actions in the matter were justified.
In its statement, TENK states that the parties agreed that there was no report published on the case that led to the patient’s death. The difference in opinion, however, is a question of what the non-publication of the case means. In situations in which the publication has shown to be limited to the reporting of one case, it cannot be assumed that there would be reporting on other cases at the same time. The fact that possible other cases are in this way kept quiet, shows that it is not the fabrication of discoveries but rather that the researcher has the freedom to make this kind of choice.
The university working group that carried out the preliminary investigation saw several problems in its report involving the reporting of published cases and recognised that they can lead to the fact that the reader will get a misleading picture from the outcome of the treatment. Those who carried out the preliminary investigation considered this to be disregard for responsible conduct of research. This evaluation, which is justified according to TENK’s view, is not, however, sufficient to show that there would have been an attempt to intentionally deceive the scientific community.
The preliminary investigation of the case implemented by the university could, in its justification, be compared to an official investigation. It could not be assumed that the continuation of an investigation would produce significant new information. Furthermore, docent B did not call for an official investigation. The university therefore had the right to make a decision on the matter on the basis of the preliminary investigation.