Allegations of scientific misconduct have been sustained by a formal investigation and recently reported to the Board of Governors and the Cabinet Office. OIST sincerely regrets that this research misconduct occurred. We take misconduct and inappropriate activities by faculty, staff members and students very seriously and will deal firmly with transgressions while working to prevent their recurrence.
In a paper published in May 2019, several figures were used without proper acknowledgement of their origin, images were incorrectly described as coming from one cell line when they were from another, and there were inconsistencies in the science. The quality of the work fell far below the standards expected at OIST. The violation of scientific ethics, whether deliberate or through negligence, is serious research misconduct. The principal investigator has been suspended for six months. The President has requested the paper to be retracted.
We continually develop our training in research ethics. To reinforce our high standards of research integrity and ethics, we will strengthen training for researchers, and the Graduate School will further emphasize research ethics as part of its Professional Development course. New policies on Research Data Archiving, developed in 2019, will be enforced, and awareness of ways of reporting potential research misconduct will be enhanced.
OIST's guidelines for responding to misconduct in research activities and OIST’s commitment to research fairness can be found at https://www.oist.jp/research-integrity.
A report on the investigation can be found at https://groups.oist.jp/system/files/2021-01-27_research-misconduct_en.pdf.
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