A university investigated a dispute over authorship and material but left the matter undecided

A, a medical researcher, had presented to his/her former university employer an allegation that B, a professor in the same field, and C, a junior researcher, were guilty of theft, distortion and photo manipulation as well as disparagement of A’s merits.

A had worked at the university as the lead researcher of a research project behind the article in question and as the supervisor of C’s doctoral dissertation. Yet A’s scientific contribution was not mentioned in the article. Instead, according to A, B’s merits in the research project were presented in the article in a misleading manner and B should not have been cited as one of the authors of the article at all.

During the project, C had been working for some of the time at a university abroad. According to the article, most of the animal tests for the research had been conducted at that university, while A alleged that they had been done in Finland under his/her supervision.

In the RCR investigation in was concluded that A was partly right about the location of the tests but that a dispute over the user rights of the research material between the parties also had an impact on the matter. The investigation had been further complicated by the fact that the university abroad was unwilling to cooperate.

According to the RCR process, as the lead author of the article, C was responsible for the collection and contents of the material, but B had also been guilty of disparaging A’s authorship. Moreover, the investigation group found inadequacies in the procedures of the unit that administered the disputed project. As a result of the RCR process, however, the university did not conclude whether an RCR violation had occurred or not. A was unsatisfied with the decision.

TENK concluded that in its decision, the university should have specified for each allegation made in the original RCR notification whether they were RCR violations or not. TENK asked the university to amend its decision in accordance with RCR violation criteria.