Ensuring propriety in research activities

Scientific research nowadays involves, without question, complex and diverse research methods and procedures in order to extend specialist knowledge.

As a result, while on the one hand scientific results and knowledge are increasing at a swift pace, this makes it difficult for scientists to always stay abreast of the research activities being carried out by others, and the prevention of improprieties within research among scientists has become an even more important issue than it once was.

However, a constant stream of cases of impropriety in research activities has led to the issue becoming a matter of great public concern. In response to this situation, the government issued the Guidelines for Responding to Misconduct in Research in August 2014 (decision by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology). In order to prevent improprieties and promote appropriate research activities, we need to carry out research ethics education (hereinafter referred to as RCR (responsible conduct of research) education) for researchers to train them on the ethical standards that they are required to meet.

Based on the new guidelines, Kyushu University has also enhanced its countermeasures by revising related internal rules and appointing an RCR education officer in each department. RCR education officers are responsible for providing research ethics education to researchers in their department and managing their attendance.

○Code of conduct

Kyushu University requires all its researchers to be aware that they are members of the University, which is a place of learning, creativity and development, and to abide by the Kyushu University Research Charter at all times. Researchers should act in good faith and according to their conscience, and must always strive to implement research activities worthy of the trust placed in them by society.

<Basic responsibilities and attitude required of a researcher>
  • (1) A researcher takes pride as a researcher and remains aware of their mission.
  • (2) A researcher never engages in illegal behavior such as forgery, manipulation or plagiarism, nor in the misuse of research funds or tacit approval of misuse, and is of course never complicit in misuse.
  • (3) A researcher observes all laws and related regulations when conducting research activities and using research funds.
<Behavioral Rules to Observe when Conducting Research Activities>

A researcher shall observe the following criteria in order to maintain sound research activities and create a proper research environment.

  • (1) A researcher must maintain an awareness that the achievements and supporting data generated through research activities at Kyushu University are not personal possessions of the researcher, but public property. A researcher must also ensure proper management and instructions concerning records and storage of such data in line with the guidelines formulated in accordance with Paragraph 3 of Article 3 of the “Regulations for Appropriate Research Activities in National University Corporation Kyushu University (General Regulations for Employment of National University Corporation Kyushu University No.14 of 2009).”
  • (2) When conducting joint research, individual researchers must clarify their respective roles and responsibilities, and a research representative who is in a position to understand and manage the entire research project must properly confirm its contents and achievements from time to time.
  • (3) When publishing research achievements (papers), behaviors that are considered misconduct include “improper authorship,” where someone not qualified as an author is included as an author, or when someone qualified is not included as an author, and “double submissions,” where a paper that has essentially the same contents as one that has already been published or submitted to another academic journal is submitted as an original paper, regardless of the print or electronic media used. A researcher must pay due attention to the submission rules of the research community and each academic journal.
  • (4) Concerning industry-academia collaborations, if a researcher is engaged in research that may generate a conflict of interest, he/she must clarify which organization bears the primary responsibility for the research and manage the products of the research in a proper manner.
  • (5) A researcher must act in accordance with research ethics. During a peer review process for a paper, researchers must not be unreasonably critical or intentionally postpone the process. Also, during the assessment process for competitive funds, if a judge has a relationship with an applicant that may influence the assessment, they must voluntarily remove themselves from the post of judge.

○Definition of “researcher”

  • (1) Teacher, student or any person engaged in research activities at the University
  • (2) Any person undergoing training in research at the University
  • (3) Any person using the facilities of the University
  • (4) Any person compatible with (1) to (3) above

○Definition of “impropriety”

The following are examples of improper action in research activities (except the cases where it can be proven based on evidence that it was unintentional or not as a result of failing to perform one’s basic duties as a researcher).

  • (1) Faking data:  Creation of data, research results, etc. that do not in fact exist.
  • (2) Falsification: Changing research materials, equipment, processes, etc., resulting in untrue data, research activities or results
  • (3) Theft: The use of ideas, analysis, interpretation methods, data, research results, theses or terminology belonging to another person, without that person’s understanding and/or appropriate credits
  • (4) Other: Falsified records, or any other behavior equivalent to (1), (2) or (3) above.
  • (5) Hiding evidence of any of the above practices, or impeding investigation into to the truth of such matters.

〇Implementation of RCR education

At the University, to promote proper research activities, “Research ethics education” is provided. Faculty members and those directly involved in research such as graduate students are required to take “general education for researchers” using university-wide general material. (“specialized education” may be available depending on the department) General education for researchers is available through e-learning so make sure to take the course. For more details about taking the general education for researchers course, please refer here.

〇Appropriate storage and management of research data, etc.

Any person who carries out research activities at Kyushu University must appropriately store research data, etc., which serve as evidence of published research results, such as papers and reports, to ensure accountability for the propriety of their scientific evidence-based research activities when required.

Each department provides rules for the handling of such data based on the Guidelines for Research Data Storage stipulated by the university. Please ensure appropriate storage and management of research data according to the rules provided by your department.
(Excerpt from the Guidelines)

  • (1) Research data that must be retained
    Laboratory notebooks, numerical data, images, specimens, and devices that serve as evidence of papers, reports and presentations of research results (hereafter referred to as "research data, etc.")
  • (2) Management of research data
    Researchers must store and manage the research data, etc. that they created at their own responsibility. (Even after the researcher’s transfer or retirement, they must be managed properly for the period specified in these guidelines.)
  • (3) Storage method
    Research data, etc. must be stored properly so that they can be made available for future use and verification (they must be made easy to search by organizing them by author name, date, attributions, etc.)
  • (4) Storage period
    ・Materials, including laboratory notebooks, numerical data, and images
     →10 years after the publication of the paper concerned, in principle
    ・Articles, including specimens (experiment specimens, samples) and devices
     →5 years after the publication of the paper concerned, in principle

○On-campus contact point for advice and reporting concerning improper conduct

On-campus contact point
Extension number
E-mail address
Reporting Audit and Compliance Office Ito 90-6648 tuho@jimu.
Consulting Director of General Affairs Division, Humanities, Human‐Environment Studies, Law, Economics and Integrated Sciences for Global Society Ito 90-6301 jbskacho@jimu.
Director of General Affairs Division, School of Science Ito 90-4002 rixskacho@jimu.
Director of Academic Research Cooperation Division, Medical Sciences, Dental Science and Pharmaceutical Sciences Maidashi 91-6771 ijkkacho@jimu.
Director of Hospital Research Support Division Maidashi 91-6014 byhkacho@jimu.
Director of Scientific Research Support Office, School of Engineering Ito 90-3852 koekacho@jimu.
Director of General Affairs Division, School of Design Ohashi 95-4410 gkskacho@jimu.
Director of General Affairs Division, School of Agriculture Ito 90-4502 noxskacho@jimu.
Director of General Affairs Division, Chikushi Campus Chikushi 93-7501 srskacho@jimu.
Director of Library Planning Division, The University Library Ito 90-2469 tokkacho@jimu.
Head of Administrative Office (Medical Sciences, Dental Science and Pharmaceutical Sciences) Ito 90-6931 iqshitsucho@jimu.

*All email addresses end in “”

○Off-campus contact point for reporting

* Please refer to the website at the following URL.

〇Important points for reporting ​

・You must give your name, in principle. As long as the report is not found to be made with malicious intent, no person reporting a violation will be treated unfavorably on account of their having made a report.
・Please provide reasonable grounds for submitting a report, along with proof of the alleged impropriety.
・Those reporting violations are requested to cooperate with the investigation in good faith.
・If the report is found to have been made with malicious intent, the name of the reporter as well as other information may be open to the public.