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OECD Unofficial Report on Best Practices for Ensuring Scientific Integrity and Preventing Misconduct

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Misconduct in research (for example, fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism) damages the scientific enterprise, is a misuse of public funds, and undermines the trust of citizens in science and in government. Misconduct is a special concern for governmental administrators, who are the primary constituency of the OECD Global Science Forum. On behalf of the public, and to achieve societal benefits, they fund, oversee and evaluate research, much of which is conducted directly in public institutions or is otherwise sponsored by governments. At a time when scientific advances are considered to be critical in areas such as economic competitiveness, health, national security, and environmental protection, public officials are strongly motivated – indeed obligated – to ensure the highest levels of integrity in research. Widespread attention has recently focussed on a few cases of misconduct in research. Their significance, the damage done, and potential preventive measures are debated by scientists, government officials, the press, and concerned members of the public. Recognising that the issue affects all of these stakeholder communities and that, like science itself, the problem has a major international dimension, the OECD Global Science Forum sponsored an international consultation of government-designated officials and experts, based on an initiative from the Delegations of Japan and Canada. On February 22-23, 2007, in Tokyo, the Global Science Forum and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT) held the Workshop on Best Practices for Ensuring Scientific Integrity and Preventing Misconduct. The goal of the OECD Workshop was to deepen the understanding of the underlying phenomena, to identify the range of possible solutions and, based on experience, to enumerate the pros and cons of various practical measures, lessons learned and good practices. This report summarises the deliberations that took place in Tokyo. Its findings and conclusions pertain to all domains of basic and applied science: the physical and life sciences, social and behavioural sciences, and the humanities.

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