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2014年7月24日 (木)

早大博士論文 杜撰な審査がまかり通るのか

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Unsound methods for thesis screening should shock the public
早大博士論文 杜撰な審査がまかり通るのか

It has come to light that not only was Haruko Obokata’s Waseda University doctoral thesis grossly flawed—the school’s screening process itself was defective.
 博士論文がお粗末なうえに、大学内の審査も杜(ず)撰(さん)だった。

The thesis, about pluripotent cells, was submitted to Waseda in 2011 by Obokata, who was then a student at the university and is currently a scientist at the government-backed research institute RIKEN. Waseda’s investigative panel has concluded that her paper included plagiarism and other forms of misconduct and deemed it “extremely unreliable.”
 理化学研究所の小保方晴子氏が早稲田大学に提出した万能細胞に関する博士論文について、早大の調査委員会は、盗用などの不正を認定し、「内容の信ぴょう性は著しく低い」と結論づけた。

The investigation committee also criticized Waseda’s method for reviewing Obokata’s thesis, saying the university’s instructions to Obokata on how to write it were extremely flawed, as was its screening of her paper.
 早大側の対応についても、論文の作成指導や審査体制に重大な不備があったと批判している。

However, in spite of these findings, the panel decided that the defects in Obokata’s thesis do not warrant the revocation of the doctorate granted to her. In offering this conclusion, the committee said that her paper’s faults did not constitute irregularities created by falsifying experimental results.
 ところが、調査委は「博士号の取り消しには該当しない」と判断した。実験結果を偽った不正ではないという理由からだ。

We find the panel’s decision unreasonable.
 解せない結論である。

Earlier, Obokata had defended herself, insisting the thesis was a rough draft that she inadvertently submitted to the university three years and six months ago. In May, she submitted to the panel a paper she claimed to be “a complete version.”
 小保方氏は、3年半前に下書き段階の「草稿」を誤って大学に出してしまったと弁明し、今年5月になって、「完成版」を調査委に改めて提出した。

We believe Obokata’s submission of the purported rough draft should not be dismissed as merely a careless error, given her pursuit of a career in science.
 草稿を出したこと自体、研究者を目指す者として、うっかりでは済まされない行為ではないか。

The complete version of the thesis was no less faulty. A significant part of the paper’s introduction, which emphasized the significance of her research, was a direct copy of text attributed to a U.S. research institution. There is every reason to question the originality of her paper.
 論文の完成版でさえ、研究の意義をアピールする序章の大半で、米国の研究機関の文章を丸写ししていた。論文の独創性が疑問視されても仕方がない。

Obokata’s professional shortcomings were also evident in her comments on her unauthorized use of images from other scientists’ works. She reportedly told the panel that she had “no awareness” as to whether doing so was inappropriate.
 他の著作物の画像流用についても、小保方氏は「何の問題意識も持っていなかった」と調査委に語ったという。

Shoddy supervision

A Waseda professor who served as an adviser for Obokata must be brought to task for failing to properly teach her the importance of research ethics and observing the basic rules for writing articles, though there is no need to speak of Obokata’s immaturity.
本人の未熟さは言うに及ばず、研究倫理や論文作成の基本をきちんと教えなかった指導教員の責任は重い。

Despite his position as the chief examiner of Obokata’s paper, the professor did not inspect her thesis. Questions must be raised about his failure to realize that her so-called draft thesis had been submitted to Waseda’s in-house board responsible for judging whether submitted papers should be given passing marks.
 指導教員は審査の責任者でありながら、博士論文を精査しなかった。論文の合否判定を担う学内の審査会に草稿が出ていることすら気づかなかったのは問題だ。

It also should not be overlooked that the board’s screening process has been reduced to a mere formality. Members of the board spent only several minutes reading each submitted thesis. It would be impossible for them to fully examine the substance of each paper.
 審査の形骸化も看過できない。審査会の委員が個々の論文を閲覧する時間は数分程度にすぎなかった。これでは、論文の中身をチェックするのは不可能だろう。

The ultimate authority to decide whether individual Waseda students should be awarded doctorates rests with the university’s president, Kaoru Kamata. After receiving a report from the investigation panel, he said, “I’ll carefully examine [the committee’s findings], and launch discussions within the university.”
 博士号を授与するかどうかの最終的な決定権は大学総長にある。調査委の報告を受け、鎌田薫・早大総長は「内容を吟味して、学内での検討に入る」と述べた。

If Waseda neglects to take appropriately stringent action in connection with the Obokata case, it could damage the international credibility of doctoral degrees awarded in Japan.
 早大が厳正な対処を怠れば、日本の博士号に対する国際的信用も揺るがしかねない。

Doubts have also arisen over articles written by other students from the Waseda postgraduate course to which Obokata belonged. The university must uncover the whole truth of the matter.
 小保方氏の所属した研究科では、他の学生の博士論文にも疑義が指摘されている。早大には徹底した実態解明が求められる。

The government has been implementing measures to greatly expand the number of people holding doctorates, with a view to improving our nation’s stature in science and technology. The number of people in Japan with doctorates has increased by 50 percent since the early 1990s.
 政府は、科学技術の向上を目指し、博士を大幅に増やす政策を進めてきた。博士号の取得者は1990年代初めに比べて、1・5倍に増えた。

Does the increase in quantity reflect the same quality of degree recipients? Other universities should also examine their systems for examining papers in the awarding of degrees.
 だが、質は伴っているのだろうか。他の大学も、学位授与の審査体制を点検すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 23, 2014)

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