News & media

Opinion of the Ethical Review Board on plastics study received

2017-04-28

Today Uppsala University received the opinion of the Central Ethical Review Board on a study on the consumption of plastics by fish. The University has been waiting for this opinion before making its decision in the matter.

The study, which was published in the journal Science on 3 June 2016, was reported for misconduct by a group of researchers. (Science 03 Jun 2016: Vol. 352, Issue 6290, pp. 1213–1216. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad8828).

Immediately after the complaint, the University initiated a preparatory investigation, in which an external group was commissioned to state its opinion on the matter on the basis of the University’s internal regulations. At the same time the matter was forwarded to the expert group for misconduct in research at the Central Ethical Review Board for an opinion.

The first report, which was finalised in August 2016, concluded that no misconduct could be established. The University will base its coming decision on both reports.

The conclusions reached by the two reports differ, but they also proceed from different regulatory frameworks and cover different quantities of material, and the University will have to take this into account in its decision. However, the reports agree that the data was inadequately backed up.

“The University will now examine the documents available in this matter and take a decision based on this examination. The process has been protracted and we intend to have a decision as soon as possible,” says Per Andersson, the responsible official at the faculty, who will now pass the matter on to the Vice-Rector for the next stage in the process.

 

This is what has happened:
3 June 2016 The scientific article “Environmentally relevant concentrations of microplastic particles influence larval fish ecology” is published in the journal Science.
June 2016 Allegation of misconduct in research received by the University.
June 2016 The University appoints a group of external experts to conduct a preliminary investigation and, at the request of the complainants, requests an opinion from the expert group for misconduct in research at the Central Ethical Review Board.
August 2016 The preliminary investigation of the group of experts appointed by the University is completed.
April 2017 The opinion of the Central Ethical Review Board is received.