Featured News Report of the Independent External Research Misconduct Inquiry: Oona Lönnstedt

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Thu, 13 Aug 2020

Report of the Independent External Research Misconduct Inquiry: Oona Lönnstedt

Report of the Independent External Research Misconduct Inquiry: Oona Lönnstedt

In late 2019, James Cook University established an external research misconduct panel under the James Cook University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research in relation to research conducted by former PhD student, Dr Oona Lönnstedt, at the University.

The panel consisted of eminent academics with expertise in field work, marine science, and ethics, and a former Federal Court Judge and former President of the Fair Work Commission. The members of the Panel were:

  • Emeritus Professor Alan Rix, Chair;
  • Professor Bronwyn Gillanders;
  • The Hon. Geoff Giudice AO;
  • Emeritus Professor Tony Underwood.

After consideration of all the evidence, the panel has confirmed that Dr Lönnstedt did not engage in research misconduct.

While the University’s internal investigations were unable to identify research misconduct regarding Dr Lönnstedt's PhD, the University was aware of reports concerning findings of research misconduct overseas as well as concerns about an article published in Biology Letters.

Therefore, JCU determined that it was in the public interest that the work undertaken by Dr Lönnstedt while a PhD student at the University from 2010-2013 be reviewed by a panel external to the University.

It is worth noting that the editors of Biology Letters have separately published the findings of their own investigation into the research published in that journal, which found no evidence of research misconduct.

Dr Lönnstedt’s research commenced 10 years ago. Since that time, in the normal course of process improvements and in response to changes in legislation and national policy, the research issues the panel refers to have already been addressed.

The University has accepted the panel's report and findings, and has released the panel’s entire report. A copy of the report can be accessed here.