Science and technology policy

Workshop on Best Practices for Ensuring Scientific Integrity and Preventing Misconduct, 22-23 February 2007


22-23 February 2007, Mita Conference Hall, Tokyo, Japan

Governments of OECD countries make large investments in scientific research, much of which is conducted directly by governmental institutions. On behalf of the public, and to achieve societal benefits, governments oversee, manage and evaluate research. Scientific misconduct (such as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, and other inappropriate actions) damages the scientific enterprise, constitutes misuse of public funds, and weakens the trust of citizens in science and in government. At a time when scientific advances are considered to be critical in areas such as economic competitiveness, health, national security, and environmental protection, governments are strongly motivated and determined to prevent scientific misconduct and to ensure the highest possible integrity in research.

The decision to address this issue by holding a workshop was taken at the 15th Meeting of the Global Science Forum in July 2006, based on a proposal from the Delegations of Japan and Canada. Following that meeting, fourteen countries nominated members to the International Steering Committee, which has supervised the work of the GSF Secretariat in preparing the workshop. The Committee is chaired by Prof. Makoto Asashima, Vice-Chair of the Science Council of Japan, and Dr. Nigel Lloyd, Executive Vice-President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The Committee designated national experts who were interviewed with the goal of developing the detailed Annotated Agenda as the basis for the workshop discussions.

A goal of the workshop was to deepen the understanding of research misconduct: its causes, consequences, and possible preventative remedies. Above all, however, the goal was to pragmatically explore the range of ways of dealing with allegations of misconduct, and to extract lessons learned and good practices. A number of countries are currently creating, modifying, or reviewing mechanisms for dealing with scientific misconduct. For these countries, the workshop was particularly timely, by providing opportunities for international consultation and for learning from the experiences of others. The workshop participants also examined problems that can arise in international scientific collaborations, and considered whether any new measures might be needed to deal with special problems created by the differences in the ways that collaborating countries deal with allegations of misconduct.

A policy-level report is currently being finalised under the supervision of the Steering Committee. It will be submitted to the Global Science Forum at its meeting in October 2007.

The workshop was organized jointly by OECD and MEXT, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. It was attended by representatives from 19 OECD member countries, the European Commission, China, India, Israel, South Africa, and ASEAN.

Workshop presentations.