Code of Conduct for Scientists
- Updated on March 1, 2016
Academic research has its roots in the intrinsic inquisitiveness of researchers. Their research outcomes contribute to world peace, human progress, and the maintenance of the global environment. Considering all these, academic research can rightfully be called a noble endeavor, and in order to maintain its sustainable development, researchers autonomy and the freedom to conduct academic researches must be ensured. At the same time, it is vital that researchers themselves be ethically independent.
In the case of academic research, the basic numerical data is made public first, and through further testing, the data's reproducibility is confirmed. Only after these processes, can researchers take credit in their achievements. Researchers must not rely on fictitious data. Moreover, as the basic objective of academic research is to supersede previous researches, plagiarism is not to be tolerated. Furthermore, patent is an exclusive right granted only in return for a public disclosure of the finding, thus do not falsify or insinuate the outcome when filing.
Since academic researches at National University Corporation are supported by government grants and other external funds, inappropriate spending of such research funds would betray the public trust, which will undoubtedly lead to the loss of social credibility for the university. Accordingly, it is critical that researchers do not act or say anything that might be misinterpreted.
Both researchers and universities that provide them with researching facilities are a part of the society, thus they must also bear legal and moral responsibilities to the society. Researchers must be aware that academic researches conducted at universities may involve materials or cause incidents that can inflict serious damages to the society. Researchers often come across other people's personal information while conducting academic research. In the case of medical science, researchers involved in clinical study will have information about patients' medical conditions. As educational institutions, universities must manage all personal data of their students. Accordingly, those who are in charge of such information at universities must take precaution in properly managing the gathered data.
Academic researches at universities are supported by collaborative work of researchers, who are diverse in nationality, gender, and age. When evaluating the performance of researchers, they must not be discriminated against by their nationality, gender, or age. Harassment by pulling rank on co-workers will not be tolerated.
Since the incorporation of Japanese national universities, academic staff members have expanded their range of activities. Some are serving as board members of corporations, and others are registered as lawyers or patent attorneys. This fact may bring about a conflict of interest.
- Prevent misconduct in academic research
Do not engage in acts of fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism. Research data and records must be managed and maintained in safekeeping. Security must be heightened at research and academic facilities to prevent unauthorized breach of confidentiality.
- Publishing research findings
When publishing, ensure the validity of the research data. If the publication includes excerpts from other researcher's findings, give due credit to these publications. Be very careful when reusing published data or paper with authorship when publishing a scientific paper; follow all rules and regulations set by each research organization, research field, and research journal precisely; then gain approval from all authors.
- Proper use of research funds
When implementing researches or when using internal/external research funds, carefully consider the purpose for which the research funds (subsidy, trust) were given, and observe all designated conditions of use for each grant (subsidy, trust) given.
- Considerations for the environment, security, and bioethics
When implementing researches which involve the handling of materials that may be harmful to the environment, (radiation, radioactive isotope, genetically altered organism, foreign life form, nuclear fuel material, poison, or environment pollutant), observe all guidelines and regulations designated by relevant laws, Kobe University, government agencies, and academic conferences. If necessary, gain approval of regulatory committees on and off campus as well. When researches involve human or non-human subjects, show greatest respect to bioethical standards.
- Joint ownership of research results/data, confidentiality obligation, protection of personal information
Disclose published results and data to help further the advancement of the research community. However, if they involve a joint research contract or an intellectual property right, the predetermined confidentiality obligation must be adhere to. Information about other researchers' unpublished work, gained by examining research papers or application forms for funds, should be kept strictly confidential. Moreover, proper measure should be taken to protect all personal information gained through research.
- Eliminate discrimination and harassment
Kobe University does not discriminate researchers for their personal attribute, belief, or creed nor infringe upon their freedom or individuality in any aspect of their research activities. Researchers themselves must not abuse their authority and say or act in any way that will put their subordinates or students at a disadvantage.
- Resolve conflicts
Be especially careful not to create a conflict of commitment nor a conflict of interest when engaging in research. Should a conflict arise, make full disclosure to the University and wait for the management to resolve the conflict.
- Responsibilities of the research leader
The research leader is responsible mainly for the following four points:
- To safe keep all research data and references produced by the research group.
- To prepare a research environment which allows each researcher to reach his/her full potential.
- To manage the group fairly through unbiased evaluation of each researcher's contribution to the group.
- To make sure all group members understand the 'Code of Conduct for Scientists', and making sure that they do not deviate from it.
* Please report any fraudulent acts or unethical activities to the appropriate person in charge.