Research institute did not follow TENK’s instructions in an RCR investigation

Two researchers submitted a request for TENK to issue a statement on whether a research institute acted correctly in handling an allegation of an RCR violation directed towards their actions. The allegation concerned a project and a scientific article published for the project. One of the requestors served as leader of the project and the other as researcher.

The researchers were dissatisfied with the procedures the research institute followed in this RCR process as well as the decision issued on the case. The researchers felt that they were not informed of the progress of the investigation and that it focused on internal disputes of the working community, something not within the sphere of RCR. The researchers explained that they did not receive written notification that the investigation had started. They were also not told who made the report and on what grounds. It was also unclear to them how the article was selected as a subject for an RCR investigation.

There were no references to RCR violations in the research institution’s RCR investigation, but the final report showed that the research findings in the article were exaggerated to some extent.

In its statement, TENK concurred with the requestors’ view, according to which, the research institute failed to carry out the RCR investigation properly in many ways. The suspects should have been given written notification on the subject of the allegation and who reported it, and they should have been informed of the progress of the investigation. The exaggeration noted in the final report of the investigation does not fall under the RCR process, only academic disputes.

Since transparency of the process forms the fundamental basis for fair handling, TENK concluded that the research institute did not comply with the RCR guidelines in its investigation. TENK’s measures taken were to recommend that the research institute review its practices according to the guidelines.