Rejection of an article in the peer review process was not an RCR violation (TENK 2022:7 and TENK 2022:8)

Researcher A suspected that social sciences researcher B and university lecturer C had committed an RCR violation when rejecting A’s article manuscript. B and C worked at different universities, so A had filed notifications of alleged misconduct with the same content to both universities.

A stated that B and C had rejected the article written by A in a journal where B and C were editors. By doing so, they allegedly made A’s work as a researcher delayed and more difficult. Researcher A further claimed that B and C had a conflict of interest as members of the editorial staff.

In their decisions made on the basis of the preliminary inquiry, the universities found that the researchers had not committed RCR violations. Researcher A submitted requests for statement from TENK on the universities’ decisions.

According to TENK, publication channels have the right to decide on their publication principles. In this case, it was a case of genuine scientific disagreement on interpretation and evaluation, which, according to the RCR guidelines, are part of scientific discourse and do not violate responsible conduct of research. No investigation proper was necessary due to this reason.

In its statements, TENK found that the RCR process had been carried out at both universities in accordance with TENK guidelines.