Know your Rights

In order for research to be ethically acceptable and reliable and for its results to be credible, the research must be conducted according to the responsible conduct of research.

Applying the guidelines for the responsible conduct of research within the research community constitutes a form of self-regulation that is bound by legislation. Furthermore, the responsible conduct of research is an integral part of the quality assurance of research organisations.

The premises for the responsible conduct of research provided by the RCR guidelines are:

  • The research follows the principles that are endorsed by the research community.
  • The methods applied for data acquisition as well as for research and evaluation, conform to scientific criteria and are ethically sustainable. When publishing the research results, the results are communicated in an open and responsible fashion that is intrinsic to the dissemination of scientific knowledge.
  • The researcher takes due account of the work and achievements of other researchers by respecting their work, citing their publications appropriately, and by giving their achievements the credit and weight they deserve in carrying out the researcher’s own research and publishing its results.
  • The researcher complies with the standards set for scientific knowledge in planning and conducting the research, in reporting the research results and in recording the data obtained during the research.
  • The necessary research permits have been acquired and the preliminary ethical review that is required for certain fields of research has been conducted.
  • Before beginning the research or recruiting the researchers, all parties within the research project or team (the employer, the principal investigator, and the team members) agree on the researchers’ rights, responsibilities, obligations, principles concerning authorship, and questions concerning archiving and accessing the data.
  • Sources of financing, conflicts of interest or other commitments relevant to the conduct of research are announced to all members of the research project and reported when publishing the research results.
  • Researchers refrain from all research-related evaluation and decision-making situations, when there is reason to suspect a conflict of interest.
  • The research organisation adheres to good personnel and financial administration practices and takes into account the data protection legislation. In addition, researchers also need to comply with the practices listed above when working as teachers or instructors, when applying for research positions or for research funding, as well as when functioning as experts in their field both inside and outside the research community.

Violations against the responsible conduct of research constitute of research misconduct and disregard for the responsible conduct of research. Legal matters, such as copyright or criminal violations cannot, however, be handled as a part of the RCR procedure.

The procedure for handling the alleged RCR violations, consists of three parts: a written notification, a preliminary inquiry and the investigation proper. Every step of the procedure must be well documented and notification of an alleged violation must also be reported to TENK (the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity). The procedure is carried out by the University or research institution itself, but the procedure must be conducted fairly and impartially. Should the organization refuse to begin the proceedings or should the procedure not meet the requirements of the RCR guidelines, both the party suspected of the violation and the party suspecting a violation, are entitled to a statement from TENK, whether the procedure has been conducted accordingly or if there has been a violation of the RCR.

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Text Mia Weckman
Director of Advocacy, The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers

Page 44 in the printed magazine