July 14th, 2017

Success At Divisional Court In Research Misconduct Case

On July 13, 2017, the Divisional Court dismissed an application for judicial review brought by two researchers against University Health Network.  Eric Hoaken and Larissa Moscu represented UHN.

In 2016, after a lengthy investigation, an independent investigation committee at UHN concluded that the applicants had committed research misconduct by failing, over a period of approximately eight years, to comply with prevailing scientific standards in connection with  published scientific papers of which they were senior authors.  This conclusion was upheld following an internal appeal, and the applicants then sought judicial review on the basis that there were a number of procedural and substantive flaws in the investigation, the resulting report of the investigation committee, and the internal appeal decision.

On judicial review, the Court rejected each of the applicants’ arguments and confirmed that, in light of the evidence, it was reasonable for the investigation committee to find that the applicants had engaged in research misconduct.  The Court also agreed that sanctions imposed against the applicants were reasonable.  The Court’s decision confirms that leading research institutions like UHN are entitled to have and impose high standards for the integrity and rigour of research conducted within their walls. Read a copy of the decision here: Asa v. University Health Network 2017 ONSC 4287 – Div. Court File No. 018_17