Research integrity and handling of alleged RI violations
Maintaining research integrity is crucial for credible, reliable, and ethically acceptable scientific research.
Research integrity and good research practices
The University of Turku has committed to the guideline The Finnish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity and Procedures for Handling Alleged Violations of Research Integrity in Finland 2023 (RI Guidelines) by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity TENK. According to the RI Guidelines, the basic principles of research integrity are:
Reliability in ensuring the quality of research, reflected in the design, the methodology, the analysis and the use of resources.
Honesty in developing, undertaking, reviewing, reporting and communicating research in a transparent, fair, full and unbiased way.
Respect for colleagues, research participants, society, ecosystems, cultural heritage and the environment.
Accountability for the research from idea to publication, for its management and organisation, for training, supervision and mentoring, and for its wider impact.
Research integrity consists of good research practices. Good research practices are described in a detailed manner in the RI Guidelines.
Violations of good research practices
Violations of good research practices breach the principles of research integrity, damage the quality and credibility of research and undermine research collaboration and authorship (TENK, 2023).
Violations of good research practices are divided into two categories: research misconduct and disregard for good research practices. Violations can take place at any stage of the research process.
Research misconduct distorts and falsifies research-based knowledge. It misleads the research community, decision-makers and the general public, decreases the value of research results and outputs, and damages the appreciation of academic research. Furthermore, it causes harm for researchers and research participants. Research misconduct is categorised into fabrication, falsification and plagiarism.
Violations of good research practices that do not constitute research misconduct are referred to as disregard for good research practices according to the established practice in Finland. Examples of disregard include failure to request or comply with relevant permits or statements, inadequate documentation and storage of research results and data, inappropriate delaying and hampering the work of other researchers, inadequate or inappropriate references to previous results, denigrating or deliberately neglecting to mention other researchers’ contributions, manipulating authorship by other means, failure to declare significant conflicts of interest, inappropriate use of seniority and influence, self-plagiarism, and misleading the research community, research funders or the general public over one’s research.
Handling of alleged violations of research integrity at the University of Turku
Notification of an alleged violation of research integrity is submitted to the Rector of the University by sending the notification to the University’s Registry. Notification is made by using the Notification form for an alleged RI violation 2023 by TENK.
In submitting a notification of an alleged RI violation, the following must be observed:
- The notification is submitted to the organisation where the alleged violation has taken or is taking place or where the person suspected of RI violation works or has worked during the events in question.
- The notification can be submitted only if the organisation in question has committed to the RI guidelines.
- The notification must be sent to the director of the organisation.
- The person submitting the notification does not have to be a researcher or member of the research community.
- The notification is submitted under one’s own name. In problematic situations, the complainant can contact TENK’s Secretary General in advance.
- The complainant must specify in writing any connections they have to the case or the person(s) suspected of violation.
- Submitting a malicious notification may in itself be an RI violation.
The research integrity advisers (see below) can be contacted for confidential discussion concerning an alleged RI violation and submitting a notification.
Notifications of an alleged violation of RI are handled by the procedures in the RI Guidelines by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity.
Allegations of RI violations in basic degree studies or theses are not handled by the procedures in the RI Guidelines. Instead, they are handled by the internal guidelines and processes of the University.
Research integrity advisors
The Research Integrity Advisors of the University of Turku offer confidential and impartial guidance for the University staff on different kinds of problematic situations related to research integrity. The staff can ask for their advice both as a precaution and when suspecting misconduct.
The Research Integrity Advisors of the University of Turku are Associate Professor Leo Lahti, University Lecturer Helena Siipi and Postdoctoral Researcher Susanne Uusitalo. They offer confidential and impartial guidance for the University staff on different kinds of problematic situations related to research integrity. The staff can ask for their advice both as a precaution and when suspecting misconduct. The Research Integrity Advisors have been trained by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity and they carry out the tasks in addition to their regular responsibilities.
The Research Integrity Advisors offer advice to researchers from all the faculties. You can meet them personally or contact them by email or phone. However, the first contact should be made by email.