Two countries have recently announced plans to learn more about research misconduct, with the goal of preventing it from happening in the first place.
In Japan, the effort takes the form of a joint study group among six universities, which will interview researchers who have engaged in misconduct to discover patterns and common factors for their wrongdoing. In Taiwan, the government recently announced plans to establish an Office of Research Integrity, based on the version in the U.S., to investigate alleged cases of misconduct.
Here’s more about the new Taiwan office, from the Taipei Times:
“The office is to collect information on research integrity from other countries, including case scenarios and treatment solutions, and publicize them for research project heads,” [Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee] said.
The office is to create a database of different types of breaches of academic integrity to serve as a reference for case reviews…
Here’s more about the Japanese project, from The Japan News:
Unlike conventional investigations to identify wrongdoing — which are conducted by bodies to which the researchers in question belong — the joint study group aims to determine researchers’ mind-set when the misconduct happened and the background to their behavior.
The group believes it will not be difficult to elicit cooperation from researchers who have engaged in misconduct, since the purpose of the survey is to find ways to improve the research environment, not penalize them.
The joint study will start on a full scale in April. The study group will directly interview researchers involved in about 20 known cases in the country and from abroad that became a source of public concern. A written survey to cover a few thousand researchers and graduate students at about 500 institutions in the country is also planned.
The results of the research will be compiled by 2019.
Both announcements follow high-profile cases in both countries. In Japan, the University of Tokyo (which is not participating in the misconduct study) announced it had dismissed five researchers for misconduct.
In Taiwan, the president of a major university (National Taiwan University, or NTU) is currently being investigated as the co-author of several papers accused of fraud. Chen said the new Office of Research Integrity will not participate in the investigation into NTU president Yang Pan-chyr, but will include the case in its database.
In 2014, Taiwan’s education minister resigned after co-authoring several papers with Peter Chen, the supposed architect of a peer review and citation syndicate that has resulted in tens of retractions.
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