The Board makes proposals and issues statements to governmental authorities on legislative and other matters concerning research ethics, acts as an expert body working towards the resolution of ethical issues relating to research, takes initiative in advancing research ethics and promotes discussion concerning research ethics, monitors international developments in the area and takes actively part in international co-operation and informs the public about research ethics. Promoting the responsible conduct of research and handling alleged violations are primarily the responsibility of the organizations conducting research. When alleged misconduct has been reported and the report has been finalized by the organization, the party dissatisfied with the ruling may request a statement from TENK.
TENK has published guidelines for the responsible conduct of research and for handling alleged violations of conduct (the RCR guidelines) in co-operation with the Finnish research community. The objective is to promote the responsible conduct of research while ensuring that the alleged violations are handled with competence, fairness and expediency. The RCR guidelines may be found at www.tenk.fi in Finnish, Swedish and English.
The RCR guidelines provide researchers with a model for the responsible conduct of research. The effectiveness of these guidelines is based on a voluntary commitment by the research community to adhere to them, and to increase awareness of the principles of research integrity. The RCR guidelines apply to all academic disciplines in Finland, and a list of the organizations committed to these guidelines can be found on TENK’s website also.
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. In addition, researchers also need to comply with the practices listed by TENK 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 of the responsible conduct of research refer to the unethical and dishonest practices that damage research and in worst cases, invalidate the research results. Violations of the responsible conduct of research consist of actions that may have been committed either intentionally or through negligence. It is difficult to define these types of violations in detail and unambiguously. The violations of the responsible conduct of research can be classified into the following: Research misconduct and disregard for the responsible conduct of research. TENK has provided each category with several examples, to better characterize ethically irresponsible practices. Please visit TENK’s website for the full list and more information.
For more information, please visit www.tenk.fi/en
text Mia Weckman
lawyer, the Finnish union of university researchers and teachers
Painetussa lehdessä sivu 50