A university of applied sciences was unable to ignore an allegation against a member of staff

A, a researcher, had made an RCR notification to the rector of a university of applied sciences. A alleged that B, a lecturer in technology in this university of applied sciences, had inappropriately hindered A’s work by publishing disparaging and derogatory writings about A. The rector concluded, however, that the matter was not in the scope of RCR guidelines, since B did not participate in scientific research at the university of applied sciences.

In its statement, TENK concluded that the university had committed a procedural error in its decision that the RCR guidelines did not concern B. TENK concluded that universities of applied sciences are research organisations whose teaching staffs are part of the scientific community. Therefore, they should also comply with responsible conduct of research in interactive situations outside the scientific community, such as social media, when operating in the context of their teaching or research field. TENK furthermore concluded that the university of applied sciences should make a decision on the initiation or non-initiation of a preliminary investigation and explain this decision. 

TENK did not take a stand on whether an RCR violation had occurred as the matter had not yet been investigated in the RCR process of the university of applied sciences.