Japan’s researchers face increased ethics oversight

first_imgTOKYO—Scientists in Japan applying for government grants will soon be getting new mandatory reading material: a manual for promoting research integrity.The manual, to be released by the end of the year, is being developed by the country’s three major funding agencies and the Science Council of Japan, the nation’s largest organization of researchers.”This is not a response to the STAP problem,” Makoto Asashima, executive director of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), told ScienceInsider, referring to a still-unfolding scandal centered on a now-discredited method of creating stem cells that was announced in January. Speaking on the sidelines of a U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)–JSPS collaborative workshop for research integrity, Asashima said that the society, the council, the ministry of education, and the Japan Science and Technology Agency recognized a need to fill a gap in research integrity training in Japan.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)During his presentation to the workshop, Asashima said that while the STAP problem and other recent high-profile cases of misconduct have gotten the headlines, the manual’s focus is on the gray zone between responsible conduct and deliberate misconduct. The manual covers issues such as the proper use of research funds, the management of notes from experiments, and the responsibilities of scientists participating in collaborations. “We’re trying to move researchers toward the ‘responsible conduct’ end of the scale,” he said.Japan is also mulling countermeasures for deliberate misconduct. Yoichiro Matsumoto, an engineer and executive vice president of the University of Tokyo, told the workshop that he and officials at other institutions responsible for research integrity are studying the possibility of creating a national archive of data on research misconduct. Studying such cases might lead to “a better understanding of how to prevent research misconduct,” he said.Starting next fall, grant applicants will be expected to have read the manual. By the following year, individual laboratories and institutions will need to show that they are moving to implement the manual’s recommendations or equivalent alternatives. Asashima, a biologist formerly at the University of Tokyo, says labs and institutions won’t be required to use this particular manual, but “it provides a standard” for upgrading training in the responsible conduct of research.The U.S. National Institutes of Health and NSF already have similar requirements. Having Japan move in a similar direction “presents an opportunity for fruitful comparison between the U.S. and Japan in thinking about cultivating cultures for academic integrity and research integrity,” Linda Layne, an NSF program director, told the workshop.last_img read more

Study downplays leaking mines impact on fish

first_imgA state Department of Fish and Game staffer works on sampling fish for a study on toxic metal concentrations in Tulsequah and Taku river fish. (Photo courtesy Department of Fish and Game)State biologists say a study shows pollution from an abandoned Canadian mine upstream of Southeast Alaska does not harm fish.A chief critic of the Tulsequah Chief Mine says the research doesn’t tell the whole story.Listen Now The Tulsequah Chief, about 40 miles northeast of Juneau, has been closed for more than a half-century. Two companies tried to reopen the copper, zinc, lead, gold and silver mine in the past decade. Both failed, the most recent earlier this year.So, polluted water has continued to leach into the Tulsequah River, which flows into the Taku River, which enters the ocean near the capital city.That has raised concerns among Taku fishermen that salmon runs are being damaged – or that the fish might be unsafe to eat.Dissolved metals such as copper, which can affect aquatic life, were of particular concern.A Department of Fish and Game study, released in late October, says fish samples aren’t showing metal contamination.“What we found was that the metals concentrations in the fish that we captured at the mine were real similar to the fish upstream and downstream of the mine,” said Jackie Timothy, Southeast regional supervisor of the department’s Habitat Division.The study she co-authored updated similar research released by the department in 2012, with additional sampling of the test fish, Dolly Varden char.Critics of transboundary mines, including the Tulsequah Chief, say the study could leave a false impression, because it doesn’t answer all the questions.“This is just one very small, very discreet little piece of data,” said Guy Archibald, who runs the Inside Passage Waterkeeper Program for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council.Archibald and other critics point to earlier research estimating 15 tons of dissolved metals flow out of the mine each year. Archibald, who helped write the study’s funding proposal, said it should also have looked for dead fish.Tests sites used in the 2012 Alaska Department of Fish and Game Dolly Varden study are shown. (Map courtesy ADFG)“When you collect fish, you’re collecting only the survivors. You have no idea of what that effluent is killing,” Archibald said.Another concern is that the study tested Dolly Vardens, not salmon.Fish and Game’s Jackie Timothy said Dollies are year-round residents, while salmon are not.Timothy also stressed that the study had a very specific focus.“We weren’t looking at whether or not there was a problem with the mine and whether there was pollution at the mine. That has been well-documented,” Timothy said. “What we were looking at was whether or not fish were being impacted because that was the concern of the fishermen.”Metals found in the sampled fish come from the general environment, she said. They occur naturally in the Tulsequah River, and other areas with mines and large ore bodies.last_img read more