Research Ethics

Code of Research Ethics

September 15, 2010

The School of Science of the University of Tokyo aims to uncover universal truths about nature and promote advanced scientific education and research, thereby contributing to a prosperous and peaceful society, in accordance with the spirit of the School's Charter. All members of the School are expected to conduct education and research in line with the principles of the Charter. The Code of Research Ethics must be respected and observed by faculty, staff, research fellows, and students of the School in the course of all research and educational activities conducted at the School. These activities include, but are not limited to, experimental, observational, and theoretical studies as well as laboratory courses, theoretical exercises and fieldwork for students.

1. Integrity

Research must be conducted with integrity and objectivity. Prejudice and bias must be avoided when designing experiments and observations, analyzing data, and interpreting findings. Fabrication, falsification or plagiarism of the ideas, data, or research findings of any other party is a violation of generally accepted standards for scientific research; such conduct can never be tolerated. Accountability of whether research has been carried out with integrity lies with the individual researcher. Educational activities must be approached with the same spirit of integrity as research.

2. Originality

Originality in scientific research is to be valued above all else. Individual projects of original research accumulate into intellectual assets, which can be handed down to posterity, and which will lead to greater understanding of the truths of nature. Researchers must strive to demonstrate objectively and accurately the originality of their own research, while at the same time they must also properly understand, and give credit to, the research results of other scientists. They must respect, from both an ethical and a legal standpoint, the intellectual property that has been amassed by previous researchers.

3. Record Keeping

The most effective way to demonstrate that research has been conducted with integrity is to ensure that, as far as possible, processes and results are accurately and objectively recorded at every stage of the research. In particular, researchers must preserve data that can be used to establish the validity and reproducibility of research results, notes on methods and processes, and, if necessary, reagents and samples used. Findings and discoveries resulting from original research can only be established as truths of nature when they stand up to peer review.

4. Publication

Publications (including both theses submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for academic degrees and papers published in academic journals) or oral presentations must accurately communicate the contents and significance of the research results. If material inaccuracies or errors are found after publication, corrections or retractions must be published. Inappropriate actions such as multiple publication of the same work cannot be accepted. Proper publications contribute to the intellectual property and cultural assets of the global community. They also serve to facilitate communication with the general public and to promote the applications of research findings.

5. Joint Research

Each individual researcher participating in joint research is responsible for ensuring that proper research ethics are observed by all members of the research team.

6. Responsibility of Faculty

Faculty members should take a leadership role in ensuring the compliance with research ethics by all members of their research group. They are expected to communicate proper research principles and methodologies to students and postdoctoral researchers as a fundamental part of their role as educators.