Responsible Conduct of Research
Importance of Research Ethics
Science is built upon the foundation of social trust.
Research ethics, also referred to as research integrity, is a critical matter in the scientific community. Scientists, as well as the general public, believe that all research activities are performed properly and conscientiously, and that the findings and theories are accurately reported and earnestly discussed. Based on the published information, scientific research are carried on to pursue further scientific advancement. This means that science is built upon the foundation of overall social trust. If this trust is deteriorated, the existence of science itself will be threatened.
Therefore, Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is extremely important for the scientist toward high research ethics, and it is necessary for staff members who support researchers to establish the environment where the research is conducted with high ethical standards.
Unfortunately, many research misconducts have been found and as a result, trust to science has been trembling.
To deal with this situation, many academic communities have established a code of research ethics and asking members to put the RCR into practice. In addition, the Science Council of Japan (SCJ) formulated “Code of Conduct for Scientists” and MEXT established “Guidelines for Responding to Misconduct in Research”, requiring scientists and research institutions to comply with the Code and Guidelines and strengthen their efforts on the RCR.
Please refer to the following websites to view the codes and guidelines.
MEXT Regarding Decision of the Guidelines for Responding to Research Misconduct (Japanese only)
SCJ Code of Conducts for Scientists
SCJ RESPONSE About Promoting Integrity in Scientific Research
JST Research Integrity Portal (Japanese only)
JSPS Research Integrity Webpage (Japanese only)
Guidelines and OIST Rules
OIST has amended the Policies, Rules and Procedures (PRP), Chapter 4 and 23, and established the Guidelines on Archival and Disclosure of Research Data, Laboratory Notebooks, Research Specimens and Chemicals in order to promote the RCR, and respond the SCJ code and the MEXT guidelines.
With this amendment, education of RCR became mandatory for researchers and research support personnel (13.3.1), and Investigation and Determination of Misconduct & Whistleblower Protection (23) have been clearly defined. Basic policies and procedures to archive and disclose research references have been clarified on the guidelines. Please find the details of the Guidelines in the Archival of Research Specimens and Chemicals webpage, sub-page of this webpage.
Education of Research Ethics
The foundation for practice of the RCR is research ethics education. If you are a research unit member or engaging in research support directly, complete “Responsible Conduct of Research” training course prior to commencing work and make efforts to foster the culture of the RCR as well as put RCR into practice. At OIST, the RCR training course is provided online, which is mandatory for research unit members and those engaging in research support directly. To deepen your understanding of the subject matter, we are making a system where educational videos and external educational materials on research ethics available to OIST members. Please utilize those resources. Please be aware that additional research ethics education may be required by the funding agencies if awarded competitive research funds.
For those who are not directly involved in research or research support, the RCR course is not mandatory. However, as a member of the University, understanding research ethics is important. It is highly recommended to actively and voluntarily learn research ethics regardless of whether it is mandated or not.
Ethics in Research Support
Ethics in Research Support
For those supporting research directly and indirectly, the consciousness of management responsibility may sometimes lead to establishing excessive or complicated rules and procedures. Although it is important for administrators to avoid being pointed out by compliance or regulatory agency officials, it also must be noted that excessive and/or complicated rules and procedures may affect negatively on appropriate practice of RCR by researchers.
Think in Other Person’s Position
Scientists and research support staff must recognize each other’s importance in professional duties and it is important to see things not only in one’s position but also from another person’s perspective. To accomplish this practice, open communications with respect for each other on daily basis is essential. Thinking from another’s perspective is also a key to uphold high research ethics standards.