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Universities, Science Council in Japan Issue Statement on Research Integrity

Presidents of the Japan Association of National Universities, Japan Association of Public Universities, Federation of Japanese Private Colleges and Universities Associations, and the Science Council of Japan released a statement on December 11, 2014 on the need to improve research methods and scientific integrity [1].

Citing “increasing numbers of research misconduct cases,” the Joint Statement for Enhancing the Integrity of Scientific Research outlines new mandated initiatives to support Japan’s goal of raising the level of research integrity and encourage other scientific societies throughout the world to do the same [1].

The organizations specifically advocated for the need to maintain integrity in the daily practice of research, especially in research institutions and universities [1]. The group proposed several commitments to achieving this goal in Japan. One of these mandates required all research institutions and universities in Japan to create and establish mandatory training programs devoted to appropriate research conduct and practice for all researchers [1].

The second of these commitments required all universities and research institutions to improve upon existing guidelines for research scientists, support the use of basic research ethics, and ensure the completion of all compulsory educational programs related to the subject [1]. Their ultimate objective is to “increase the reliability of scientific research” in Japan’s universities and research institutions [1]. Additionally, these four organizations are reported to be in the process of developing a manual of research integrity and appropriate conduct for all government-funded scientists [2]. Researchers receiving funding will be expected to have read this manuscript, and research institutions must demonstrate their adoption of the outlined initiatives [2].

In September of 2014, Japan’s Society for the Promotion of Science, in coordination with the National Science Foundation, sponsored a meeting on research integrity and scientific misconduct at the University of Tokyo [3]. Speakers made presentations on ethical considerations in research practice, the importance of responsible conduct, and developing training for scientists, among several other topics.

Sources
[1]http://www.scj.go.jp/en/pdf/kohyo-23-261211e.pdf 
[2]http://news.sciencemag.org/asiapacific/2014/09/japans-researchers-face-increased-ethics-oversight
[3]http://www.nsf.gov/od/iia/ise/tokyo/perspectives/cosponsored_workshop_research_ethics.jsp

This article is part of the Winter 2015 issue of Professional Ethics Report (PER). PER, which has been in publication since 1988, reports on news and events, programs and activities, and resources related to professional ethics issues, with a particular focus on those professions whose members are engaged in scientific research and its applications.