In recent years, the illegal practices of scientists are reported in media, newspaper – domestically as well as internationally. Many factors could be considered as its background; such as global competition for achieving research results, sharp increase in research funds, stresses about the intellectual property or university venture, information disclosure, aspiration for honor, country’s prestige, etc.. There are just so many arguments going on such as the prevention and inspection of illegality by government, etc. that it is sometimes even disturbing.
These are not especially Japan-specific problems. They are heard from everywhere – occasionally even cited in famous science magazines like Nature or Science.
What could be done to prevent these scandals? This is entirely the social responsibility of each scientists and scientists as a whole. The Science Council of Japan published a book in collaboration with the Chemistry Fraternity on this problem. I also feel concerned about the problem, and have repeatedly discussed it personally as well as through the action and messages from Science Council of Japan.
Upon the publication of the book I have written a forward, "To the people in scientific research" (in Japanese). I appreciate it if you could spare time to read it.
I focused the discussion on the problem of social structure peculiar to Japanese society, which I have also repeatedly mentioned in my blog. The biggest problem is surely the people who have the biggest social responsibilities. Scandals of Association of Insurance Agencies and high government officials, illegalities of corporate executives, scandals involving politicians, etc. which repeatedly come out, all have the same composition. It is excessively poor and the autonomous function is lacking anywhere in the organization and in the responsible people who form the organization.
Why it is so? Even if the scapegoat is found and punished, nothing is changed. Read this, and each one of us should think honestly and carefully about what to do and take action.