Rules on Actions, etc. concerning Research Activity Misconduct at National University Corporation Tokushima University

Rule No. 4, established
April 21, 2015

 The entirety of the Rules on Actions concerning Research Activity Misconduct at National University Corporation Tokushima University (Rule No. 22 of 2007) is hereby revised as follows.

 

Chapter 1 General provisions

(Purpose)

Article 1. These Rules are designed to set forth matters necessary for prevention of misconduct in research activities and proper actions to be taken at occurrence of any misconduct at Tokushima University (hereinafter referred to as “University”).

 

(Definitions)

Article 2. In these Rules, the following terms have meanings specified as indicated respectively below.

  • (1)“Misconduct” in research activities includes the following.
    • A.Fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism committed, either willfully or due to gross negligence of the basic duty of care expected of a researcher (hereinafter referred to as “specific misconduct”)
    • B. Inappropriate research-related conduct other than matters specified “A” above, deemed significantly deviated from research ethics and codes of conduct expected of scientists and socially accepted norms.
  • (2) “Researchers, etc.” are those employed by the University and engaged in research activities and those engaged in researches while utilizing the University facilities and equipment.
  • (3) “Researcher ethics education” is conducted to instill the standards for ethical practice demanded of those who carry out researches in the University, for the purpose of preventing misconduct and promoting fair research activities.
  • (4) “Allegations, etc.” mean allegations or consultation concerning misconduct committed in the University.
  • (5) “Funding organizations” mean certain fund-granting organizations that have distributed or executed funds for research activities associated with allegations, etc.
  • (6) “Departments, etc.” mean departments and educational/research sections of graduate schools of the University, joint research facilities, etc. stipulated in Article 4 of the Tokushima University Bylaws (Rule No. 9, 1958; hereinafter referred to as “University Bylaws”), the Shikoku Innovative and Collaborative Organization for Industry, Academia and Government (SICO), University Library, University Hospital, Administration Bureau, Administration Office of Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the Health Service and Counselling Center.

 

(Obligations of researchers, etc.)

Article 3. Researchers are forbidden to commit any misconduct or other inappropriate acts in their research activities and must endeavor to prevent others from committing misconduct.

2. Researchers, etc. must take or attend training or courses, etc. on laws and regulations concerning research ethics and research activities.

3. Researchers, etc. must secure means evidencing validity of research activities; and in order to secure third party verifiability, the General Manager stipulated in Article 5 must retain and manage experiment/observation recording memos, experiment data, and other research data, etc. properly, as separately specified; and they must be disclosed when disclosure is deemed necessary and appropriate.

4. Researchers, etc. must comply with the Tokushima University Codes of Conduct (established on September 13, 2006).

 

(Obligations of President)

Article 4. The President must establish opportunities for research ethics education and enlightenment, etc. for researchers, etc., so that misconduct can be effectively prevented.

 

Chapter 2 Framework for preventing misconduct

(General Manager)

Article 5. The General Manager shall be a Vice President appointed as such by the President.

2. The General Manager supervises enhancement of research ethics and prevention of misconduct, etc., and takes proper measures for promotion of fair research activities.

 

(Responsible manager in charge of research ethics education)

Article 6. The responsible manager in charge of research ethics education (hereinafter referred to as “Responsible Manager”) shall be, as a general rule, the head of each department.

2. The Responsible Manager, as a supervisor of enhancement of research ethics and prevention of misconduct within the department, implements proper measures for promotion of fair research activities, and upon receipt of any notice stipulated in Paragraph 3, Article 8, takes proper actions, including implementation of preliminary investigations set forth in Article 10.

3. The Responsible Manager conducts research ethics education regularly for researchers, etc.

4. The Responsible Manager may appoint an assistant responsible manager in charge of research ethics education, as an assistant for operations stipulated in Paragraph 2.

5. The assistant responsible manager in charge of research ethics education (or Responsible Manager in a department where the assistant responsible manager in charge of research ethics education has not been appointed) provides junior researchers, etc. with appropriate assistance and advice, etc. enabling them to conduct independent research activities.

 

(Research Ethics Education Promotion Office)

Article 7. The Research Ethics Education Promotion Office is established in the University to, among other things, promote research ethics planning and develop measures for prevention of research-related misconduct (herein after referred to as “Promotion Office”).

2. The Promotion Office is equipped with the Director and members.

3. The Director is the General Manager.

4. The members are composed of the following.

  • (1) Executive Directors
  • (2) Executive Director for General Affairs
  • (3) Executive Director for Financial Management
  • (4) Director for Research Promotion
  • (5) Other members deemed necessary by the Director

5. Clerical tasks for the Promotion Office are performed by the Research and Community Collaboration Department/Research Promotion Section

 

Chapter 3 Receiving allegation

(Misconduct whistle-blower contact point, etc.)

Article 8. Allegations, etc. shall be accepted at a specifically designated contact point, as stipulated in Article 4 of the Rules on Handling, etc. of Whistle-Blower Notification in Tokushima University (Rule No. 105 of 2005; hereinafter referred to as “Notification Rules”).

2. As a general rule, allegations, etc. shall be accepted only if they are made non-anonymously; they must clearly indicate the researcher or group suspected of specific research misconduct along with the nature of the misconduct and descriptions of the case, as well as rational reasons for considering it as misconduct.

3. Upon receiving allegations, etc. on misconduct or any information concerning misconduct, the General Manager promptly reports them to the President, and simultaneously notifies the head of the department (if the head is included in the respondents, etc., the Vice President or equivalent personnel not included in the allegations, etc.; the same shall apply to the rest of the document) with which the researchers, etc. targeted in the allegations, etc. (hereinafter referred to as “respondent”) (including the parties targeted in the misconduct information; the same shall apply to the rest of the document) is affiliated.

4. If the targets in the allegations, etc. include a person belonging to another organization, the General Manager may deliver the notification, etc. to the head of the organization.

5. Cases in which misconduct is pointed out by media, researcher communities, including academic associations, the Internet, or other organizations (limited to cases in which the contents specified in Paragraph 2 are indicated) shall be treated similarly as in the cases of allegations, etc. made according to the provisions of Paragraph 3.

6. Allegations, etc. made anonymously may be treated as stipulated in Paragraph 3 mutatis mutandis, if deemed necessary.

7. Matters concerning allegations, etc., not specified herein shall be treated as specified in the Notification Rules.

 

(Thorough communication about whistle-blowing handling system, etc.)

Article 9. The President communicates the misconduct whistle-blower contact points, methods for making allegations and whistle-blowing, etc., and other necessary matters thoroughly to all relevant internal and external parties.

 

Chapter 4 Investigation into reported case

(Implementation of preliminary investigation)

Article 10. Upon receiving reports specified in Paragraph 3, Article 8, the President instructs the head of the department with which the respondent is affiliated to conduct preliminary investigations, and report the investigation results back within thirty (30) days from the date of the original receipt.

2. The head of the department conducting the preliminary investigations may request the person who has made the allegations (hereinafter referred to as “complainant”), the respondent, and other relevant parties to submit necessary documents, etc., or may seek necessary cooperation, including implementation of hearings, etc.

3. The head of the department conducting the preliminary investigations may take preservative measures for relevant documents, experiment/observation records/memos, and experiment materials, etc. that can be used as evidence in formal investigations.

 

(Preliminary investigation methods)

Article 11. The head of the department conducting the preliminary investigations shall determine the reasonableness of the allegations, etc., logicality of the scientifically rational reason indicated in the information on the allegations, etc. or misconduct, whether the allegations, etc. can be investigated properly in a formal investigation, and other matters deemed necessary.

2. If a preliminary investigation involves any research paper(s), etc., withdrawn before the allegations, etc. were made, it is necessary to examine the situation, including the background and circumstances of the withdrawal, and determine whether or not the matter should be investigated as an instance of research misconduct.

 

(Decisions, etc. on formal investigations)

Article 12. Based on the results of the preliminary investigations stipulated in the preceding article, the President promptly decides whether or not a formal investigation should be conducted. If the decision is affirmative, the investigative committee should be established within thirty (30) days from the date on which a report of the investigation result is received.

2. If a formal investigation is to be conducted, the President notifies the complainant and the respondent about the decision, and makes a report to the research funding organizations.

3. If the formal investigation is not to be conducted, the President notifies the complainant about the decision, with reasons attached. In this case, the head of the department that conducted a preliminary investigation should preserve the materials, etc. concerning the preliminary investigation, to make them available at the request of the complainant.

4. If the allegations, etc. are found to be made out of malice as a result of the preliminary investigation, the President notifies the head of the department with which the complainant is affiliated (or if the complainant is a member of another organization, the head of the organization; the same shall apply to the rest of the document) about the finding.

5. When an objection is raised by the complainant about the result of the preliminary investigation, the President may order the head of the department with which the respondent is affiliated to conduct a reinvestigation.

 

(Investigative committee)

Article 13. An investigative committee stipulated in Paragraph 1 of the preceding article is composed of the following members.

  • (1) General Manager
  • (2) Head of the department with which the respondent is affiliated
  • (3) Researcher of other organizations, specializing in a field where the allegations, etc. are made: Two or more
  • (4) Learned person(s) specializing in the field of ethics and laws, etc., having no interest in the University: One or more
  • (5) Others deemed necessary by the General Manager

2. The majority of the investigative committee shall be external learned individuals.

3. The investigative committee shall be chaired by the General Manager.

4. The members stipulated from Item 3 to Item 5 of Paragraph 1 shall be appointed or commissioned by the President from among those who have no direct interest with the complainant or the respondent.

5. The clerical tasks for the investigative committee are performed by the Industry and Academia Collaboration/Research Promotion Section of the Research Promotion Department, in collaboration with other relevant departments.

 

(Implementation of formal investigation)

Article 14. When an investigative committee is established, the President notifies the complainant and the respondent about the names and affiliations of the members of the committee.

2. Upon receiving the notice specified in the preceding paragraph, the complainant or the respondent may raise an objection in writing to the President within seven (7) days from the notification date.

3. If an objection is raised as stipulated in the preceding paragraph, the President examines the details, and if the objection is deemed to be reasonable, the members about whom the objection is raised shall be replaced, and notification to that effect shall be made to the complainant and the respondent.

 

(Implementation of formal investigation)

Article 15. When commencing the formal investigation, the investigative committee promptly notifies the complainant and the respondent about the implementation and seeks their cooperation.

2. The investigative committee carries out the investigation by close examination of the research paper(s), experiment and observation notes, raw data, and other materials relating to the research in question, as well as interviews with the parties involved, etc.

3. The investigative committee shall give the respondent an opportunity to offer a defense.

4. The investigative committee may ask the respondent to demonstrate reproducibility by such means as replicating experiments, etc.

If the replicating experiments, etc. are requested by the respondent, and deemed necessary by the investigative committee, the required time, opportunities, and uses of instruments, etc. must be guaranteed.

5. The complainant, the respondent, and others involved in the cases associated with the allegations, etc. (hereinafter referred to as “persons involved”) must actively cooperate to promote smooth implementation of the investigation, and cooperate in good faith with the formal investigation by the investigative committee, including faithful presentation of the truth.

 

(Matters to be investigated)

Article 16. In addition to the research activities relating to the case under the allegations, etc., the investigative committee may decide to include in the investigation other research activities carried out by the respondent if deemed relevant to the formal investigation.

 

(Preservation of evidence)

Article 17. In conducting the investigation, the investigative committee shall take measures to preserve materials that might be relevant as evidence regarding the research activities relating to the case under the allegations, etc.

2. If the research activities relating to the case under the allegations, etc. were conducted at a research institution other than the University, the investigative committee shall request the research institution to take measures to preserve materials that might be used as evidence regarding the research activities relating to the case under the allegations, etc.

3. The investigative committee shall not restrict research activities by the respondent unless required for the measures stipulated in the preceding two paragraphs.

 

(Interim report on formal investigation)

Article 18. The investigative committee submits an interim report on the formal investigation even if it is not yet completed, at the request of the funding organizations.

 

(Protection of research and technological information during investigation)

Article 19. The investigative committee shall take sufficient due care not to allow leakage of information, including data, research paper(s), or other information covered by the investigation that has not yet been made public and whose confidentiality should be maintained from a technical or research perspective, outside of the scope necessary for conducting the investigation.

 

(Accountability regarding suspicion of specific research misconduct)

Article 20. If during the formal investigation the respondent wishes to dispel the suspicion raised concerning the research activity, the respondent shall be responsible for presenting and explaining the scientific basis showing that the research was carried out in accordance with scientifically proper methods and procedures and that any research papers were written using proper expressions based thereon.

2. In the case stipulated in the preceding paragraph, if replicating experiments, etc. are required, the investigative committee shall provide the guarantee stipulated in Paragraph 5,Article 15.

 

Chapter 5 Determination of misconduct, etc.

(Determination procedures)

Article 21. The investigative committee shall, within one hundred fifty (150) days from the commencement of the formal investigation, summarize the investigations and give its determination as to whether any misconduct occurred or not, the nature and maliciousness of the misconduct if any, the persons involved in the misconduct, and the degree of their involvement, and the roles of each of the authors involved in any associated research paper(s), etc., with regard to the research activities associated with the misconduct and the paper(s), etc., and other necessary matters.

2. Irrespective of the above provision, if there is any reasonable cause for inability to make the determination within one hundred fifty (150) days, the investigative committee shall offer the reasons and scheduled determination date to the President to obtain the latter’s approval.

3. If it is determined that misconduct did not take place and the investigation shows that the allegations, etc. were lodged out of malice, the investigative committee shall also issue the malicious nature as part of its findings. In making such a finding, the complainant must be given the opportunity to offer a defense.

4. When the determination stipulated in Paragraph 1 is completed, the investigative committee shall immediately issue a report to the President.

 

(Determination methods)

Article 22. Not only by hearing explanations given by the complainant, but also through a comprehensive assessment of the evidence obtained through investigation, including the physical and scientific evidence, the testimony and any admission by the respondent, etc., the investigative committee makes a determination concerning misconduct.

2. The investigative committee shall not determine misconduct, based solely on any admission by the respondent.

3. If the suspicion of misconduct is not dispelled by the respondent’s explanations or other evidence, the investigative committee may determine that the misconduct was committed. The same shall be true if the respondent does not present sufficient evidence to dispel the suspicion of misconduct due to a lack of raw data, experiment and observation notes, test samples, reagents, and relevant documents, etc., or other key components of research that should normally exists.

 

(Notification and reporting of investigation results)

Article 23. Upon receiving reports stipulated in Paragraph 4, Article 21, the President shall promptly notify the investigation results (including the determination) to the complainant, the respondent (including persons other than the respondent, determined to have been involved in the misconduct; the same shall apply to the rest of the document), and the head of the department with which the respondent is affiliated, and also report the same to the funding organizations

2. If it is determined that the complaint was lodged out of malice, etc., the President shall notify the complainant and the head of the organization with which the complainant is affiliated about the finding.

3. As for a case involving any specific misconduct, the President shall report the investigation results to MEXT.

 

(Appeal filing)

Article 24. A respondent found to have committed research misconduct shall be able to file an appeal to the investigative committee within fourteen (14) days from the date on which the notice specified in Paragraph 1 of the preceding article was received. It shall not be possible, however, to file repeated appeals for the same reason, even if it is within the deadline.

2. If the complainant is found to have lodged the allegations, etc. out of malice (including cases in which malice was determined during the investigation following an appeal by the respondent), an appeal may be filed by the complainant in line with the preceding paragraph.

3. Upon receiving the appeal stipulated in Paragraph 1, the President shall notify the complainant and the funding organizations.

4. Upon receiving appeal stipulated in Paragraph 2, the President shall notify the head of the department with which the complainant is affiliated and the respondent, as well as the funding organizations.

5. As for a case involving specific misconduct, the President shall report the appeal to MEXT.

 

(Implementation of a reinvestigation)

Article 25. Upon receiving an appeal stipulated in Paragraph 1 and Paragraph 2 of the preceding article, the President shall order the investigative committee to conduct investigations on the appeal. In this case, if the nature of the appeal concerns structure of the investigative committee, etc. and its fairness, or necessitates a decision requiring new expertise, the investigating committee members may be replaced or added, or a new investigative committee may be established for a reinvestigation.

2. Ordered to conduct an investigation stipulated in the preceding paragraph by the President, the investigative committee shall promptly decide whether to conduct a reinvestigation of the case, and report the decision to the President.

3. If the investigative committee decides that the appeal should be rejected without conducting a reinvestigation of the case, the President shall notify the complainant and the respondent about the decision, and report it to the funding organizations. In this case, if it is judged by the investigative committee that the appeal was filed mainly for the purpose of prolonging the case or delaying the sanctions accompanying the determination, the investigative committee will notify the appealing party that any further appeals will not be accepted.

4. If the report stipulated in Paragraph 2 determines that a reinvestigation should be implemented, the President notifies the complainant and the respondent about the decision, and reports it to the funding organizations.

5. As for a case involving any specific misconduct, the President shall report the review result of the appeal to MEXT.

 

(Reinvestigation method)

Article 26. If the investigative committee decides to conduct a reinvestigation, it shall request the appealing party to present materials deemed by the appealing party to be sufficient for overturning the earlier investigation result, and ask for cooperation of the appealing party toward the prompt resolution of the matter.

2. If such cooperation is not obtained, the investigative committee shall be able to halt the investigation without going ahead with a reinvestigation. In this case, the investigative committee shall report the decision to the President, who then notifies the appealing party about the decision.

3. If the investigative committee starts a reinvestigation, the committee shall, within fifty (50) days from the start date (thirty (30) days in the case of an appeal based on the provisions of Paragraph 2, Article 24; the same shall apply to the rest of the document), decide whether to overturn the earlier investigation result and, and shall immediately report the decision to the President. If there is any reasonable cause for not reaching a decision within the fifty (50) days, the investigative committee shall present the cause and a scheduled decision date to the President to obtain the latter’s approval.

4. Concerning notification of the reinvestigation results, the provisions of Article 23 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

 

(Announcement of investigation results)

Article 27. When it is determined that research misconduct has occurred, the President shall promptly make public the results of the investigation. However, if there are any rational reasons for not disclosing the results due to protection of personal information or intellectual properties, etc., the names of the persons involved in the misconduct, etc. may not be disclosed.

2. The contents to be disclosed as specified in the preceding paragraph include the names and affiliations of the persons involved in the research misconduct, the content of the research misconduct, measures taken by the University until disclosure, names and affiliations of the investigative committee members, and the investigation methods/procedures, etc.

3. Irrespective of the provisions of the preceding paragraph, if papers, etc. on which research misconduct is determined to have been committed are withdrawn before the allegations were brought up, the names and affiliations of the persons involved in the research misconduct may not be disclosed.

4. When it is determined that research misconduct has not occurred, the President may choose not to disclose research results. However, if it is deemed necessary to restore the respondent’ honor, if the case under investigation (complainant, respondent, content of allegation, and content/process of investigations; the same shall apply to the rest of the document) has been leaked, or if errors in research paper(s) or other publications were caused not willfully or due to gross neglect of the basic duty of care expected of a researcher, the results of the investigation shall be made public.

5. The contents to be disclosed pursuant to the provisions of the preceding paragraph include the finding that there was no research misconduct, that errors in research paper(s) or other publications were caused not willfully or due to gross neglect of the basic duty of care expected of a researcher, the name and affiliation of the respondent, the names and affiliations of the investigative committee members, and the investigation methods/procedures, etc.

6. If it is determined that the reports and allegation, etc. were lodged out of malice, the President shall disclose the name and affiliation of the complainant, reasons for the determination that the allegations, etc. were lodged out of malice, the names and affiliations of the investigative committee members, and the investigation methods/procedures, etc.

 

Chapter 6 Sanctions and punishment

(Temporary sanctions during investigation)

Article 28. During the period from decision to conduct a formal investigation to receipt of the investigation results from the investigative committee, the President may suspend implementation of expenses concerning the allegations, etc. and take other necessary measures.

2. If ordered by the funding organizations to suspend payments of research funds for portions relating to the respondent or to take other similar measures, the President shall take appropriate measures.

3. If measures stipulated in the preceding two paragraphs are taken, the President notifies the respondent about the measures.

 

(Suspension of use of research fund)

Article 29. The President shall promptly order persons determined to have been involved in research misconduct, persons determined to be materially responsible for contents of the paper(s) in which research misconduct is determined to have occurred, and persons determined to be responsible for uses of all or part of the research funds (hereinafter referred to as “persons determined to be responsible for misconduct”) to stop spending expenses relating to the allegations, etc.

 

(Recommendation of withdrawal of paper(s) and other forms of publications, etc.)

Article 30. The President shall recommend the persons determined to be responsible for misconduct to withdraw any research paper(s) or other forms of publication connected with the research misconduct, or correct errors, or take other measures.

2. The persons determined to be responsible for misconduct shall express their intentions as to whether or not they will accept the recommendation, within fourteen (14) days from the reception of the recommendation.

3. If the persons determined to be responsible for misconduct do not following the recommendation stipulated in Paragraph 1, the President discloses the fact.

 

(Lifting of sanctions, etc.)

Article 31. If the research misconduct is determined not to have occurred, the President shall lift sanctions, including suspension of payment of research funds, etc., stipulated in Paragraph 1 and Paragraph 2 of Article 28. As for preservation of evidence stipulated in Paragraph 1 and Paragraph 2 of Article 17, the President shall lift the measures promptly after the appeal filing period elapses without any appeal or after the results of investigations on the appeal are finalized.

2. The President shall restore the honor of the person determined not to have caused research misconduct, and take measures to prevent that person from suffering any disadvantage.

 

(Punishment)

Article 32. If any research misconduct is determined to have occurred as a result of the formal investigation, the President shall impose necessary punishment on the persons determined to be responsible for misconduct, as stipulated in the Work Rules of National University Corporation Tokushima University (Rule No. 7, 2004; hereinafter referred to as “Work Rules”), University Bylaws, and other relevant laws and regulations, etc.

2. In the case stipulated in the preceding paragraph, the President may have the persons determined to be responsible for misconduct return all or part of expenses already spent on them.

3. If the punishment stipulated in the preceding two paragraphs is imposed, the President reports it to the funding organizations.

4. If the allegations, etc. are determined to have been lodged out of malice, and if the complainant is a staff member or a student of the University, the President may carry out necessary punishment, pursuant to the Work Rules or the University Bylaws.

 

(Corrective measures, etc.)

Article 33. If any research misconduct is determined to have occurred as a result of the formal investigation, the President shall order the head of the department where the misconduct took place to promptly take corrective measures, recurrence prevention measures, and other necessary measures for rectifying the overall situations (hereinafter referred to as “corrective measures, etc.”), and take campus-wide corrective measures, etc., as required. In this case, it is necessary to take measures required to prevent any unnecessary impacts on performance of research activities of departments and researchers, etc. not involved in the misconduct.

2. The President shall report the contents of the corrective measures, etc. stipulated in the preceding paragraph to the funding organizations, MEXT, and other related bodies, as required.

 

(Prohibition of disadvantageous treatment)

Article 34. The President and the head of each department shall not treat the complainant disadvantageously simply because he/she made the allegations, etc.

2. The President, the General Manager, and the head of the department shall not provide the respondent with excessively disadvantageous treatments simply because of allegations, etc., including complete prohibition of his/her research activities.

 

Chapter 7 Miscellaneous

(Confidentiality obligation)

Article 35. All personnel engaged in operations stipulated herein shall be prohibited from divulging secrets obtained in the course of the operations. This provision shall apply even after the personnel cease to be engaged in the operations.

2. The President must maintain confidentiality thoroughly to prevent any case under investigation from being leaked externally prior to conclusion of the formal investigation against the will of the complainant and the respondent.

3. If a case under the allegations, etc., is leaked, the President may, with the consent of the complainant and the respondent (hereinafter referred to as “relevant parties”), be able to provide a public explanation of the case even though the investigation is still ongoing. If the complainant or the respondent was responsible for the leak, however, that consent shall not be needed.

4. When it is necessary to transmit any communication or notification to the related parties, the President and all personnel engaged in operations stipulated herein shall take sufficient care not to infringe on human rights, compromise honor, or invade privacy, of the related parties.

 

(Strict observance of investigation period)

Article 36. Preliminary investigations, formal investigations, and any reinvestigations must be expeditiously carried out within the respectively stipulated periods.

 

(Miscellaneous)

Article 37. In addition to the provisions stipulated herein, any necessary matters concerning handling of misconduct shall be established separately by the General Manager.

 

Supplementary provision

These Rules shall be put into effect as from April 21, 2015.