An investigation proper was necessary because, in addition to inadequate anonymisation, there was a suspicion of a more serious RCR violation than reported (TENK 2020:9)

Professor A of university X suspected that professor B and researcher C of university Y were guilty of inadequate anonymisation and dissemination of research without informed consent. The article described the working community of university X, whose member C had previously been.

The preliminary RCR inquiry carried out by university X stated that the authors were guilty of disregard for the responsible conduct of research by reporting research results and methods in a careless manner, and by misleading the scientific community. It was also considered that the publication included fabrication, and that it inappropriately hampered the work of another researcher, as the research participants were also researchers themselves.

In the request for a statement, B argued that X was not competent to carry out the RCR process because both B and C were employed by Y at the time when the publication under suspicion was compiled. B also contested the outcome of the RCR process because the preliminary inquiry had not understood their research method. In addition, B pointed out that the case did not concern a scientific article, but an essay not covered by the RCR guidelines.

In its statement, TENK stated that X was the correct body to investigate the matter, as C had been part of X’s scientific community during the time when material for the disputed study had been collected. As the suspects had not accepted the outcome of the preliminary inquiry and the preliminary inquiry found a more serious RCR violation than the original allegation, TENK concluded that an investigation proper should be initiated.

At this stage, TENK did not comment at all on whether B and C were guilty of possible disregard for the responsible conduct of research and/or research misconduct.