Misconduct found in the use of a non-peer-reviewed article for marketing a health test. The RCR process used to investigate the matter followed the RCR guidelines. (TENK 2021:15)

Doctor A had directed his allegations at the authors of a medical science joint article, researchers B and C of university X. They were suspected to have used a non-peer-reviewed article to support the scientific validity of a health test.

 During the RCR process initiated for the case by university X, B and C published an article which was essentially identical to the contested article and which passed the peer review.

On the basis of the investigation proper, the rector of X had decided that B and C had committed several RCR violations. These were misconduct as falsification, and disregard for responsible conduct of research in that the research results and methods had been reported in a careless manner, resulting in misleading claims. The suspects were also found guilty of misleading the public with regard to their own research.

On the other hand, no RCR violation was found regarding the ethical review required by the sample study. Since, according to the Rector, only B and C had overall responsibility and perception for the implementation of the study, the other co-authors of the controversial articles were not considered to have been involved in the RCR violation.

B and C contested the RCR violations in their request for a statement from TENK. According to them, the background to the notification was their scientific dispute with A.

The statement request questioned the RCR investigation team’s knowledge of the matter and expressed suspicions of its members’ unbiased stance due to a state of commercial competition between them and B and C. TENK took the view, however, that the investigation team had acted appropriately. In the conclusion to its statement, TENK stated that the university had carried out the RCR process in question in accordance with the TENK guidelines. TENK did not comment on the questions that the parties requesting the statement had identified as scientific disputes.