Tampere Universities are committed to fulfilling the objectives contained in the ‘Responsible conduct of research and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland’ guideline issued by the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity.
The ethical review of research ensures the adequate protection of research participants and improves the researcher’s legal protection. However, it does not remove the researcher’s or the research team’s ethical responsibility.
The regional Ethics Committee of the Tampere University Hospital catchment area issues statements on medical research on humans, human embryos and fetuses in the Tampere area.
Ethical review in the human sciences
The Ethics Committee of the Tampere Region provides ethical reviews on non-medical research in the field of the human sciences in Tampere. Tampere University is committed to fulfilling the objectives contained in the ‘Responsible conduct of research and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland’ guideline on the human sciences issued by the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity.
The use of animals for scientific or educational purposes is organised in accordance with the Act on the Protection of Animals Used for Scientific or Educational Purposes (497(2013) and the Government Decree on the Protection of Animals Used for Scientific or Educational Purposes (564/2013).
Animal testing is guided and controlled by the Regional State Administrative Agencies.
The Board for Gene Technology is the competent authority in Finland regarding the use of genetically modified organisms in accordance with the Gene Technology Act (377/1995).
It issues permits on the use of genetically modified organisms in research.
Sound scientific practice is a part of the self-regulation of the academic community, which is bound by legislation. It is also a part of the quality assurance system of research organisations.
Each researcher and member of a research group is primarily responsible for adhering to the principles of responsible conduct of research, but the responsibility also extends to the entire scientific community.
The principles of responsible conduct of research include the following aspects:
- Integrity, meticulousness, and accuracy in conducting all phases of the study
- Ethical and sustainable data acquisition, research and evaluation methods
- Openness and responsible scientific communications when publishing research results
- Taking due account of the work and achievements of other researchers, eg citing their publications appropriately
- Planning and conducting scientific studies in accordance with the requirements set for scientific research
- Acquiring the necessary preliminary ethical reviews that are required for certain fields of research. (See requesting a research permit at the Tampere Universities community)
- In a manner suitable for all the parties involved, agreeing on the rights, principles and responsibilities of the research project or group as concerns authorship, use of data and user rights
- Announcing sources of funding, conflicts of interest or other commitments relevant to the conduct of research to all interested parties and reporting them when publishing the research results
- Refraining from all research-related evaluation and decision-making situations when there is reason to suspect a conflict of interest
- Adhering to good personnel and financial administration practices and taking into account the data protection legislation
Researchers must comply with the practices listed above when working as teachers or instructors, when applying for research positions or research funding, and when working as experts in their field.
In addition to research, the principles of responsible conduct of research also apply to teaching materials, written and spoken statements, evaluations, CVs and publication lists as well as to societal interaction in both printed and electronic publication channels, including the social media.
Visit the ‘Responsible conduct of research and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland (pdf)’ guideline by the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity.
Tampere University’s Doctoral School provides education on sound scientific practices and research ethics.
Misconduct in research practices refers to unethical and dishonest conduct that harms scientific research and in worst cases invalidates the research results.
The violations of the responsible conduct of research can be classified into research misconduct and disregard for the responsible conduct of research. Research misconduct includes fabrication, falsification, plagiarism and misappropriation.
However, differences of opinion that result from the interpretations and assessments of research results belong to the academic and scientific debate and do not violate the responsible conduct of research.
The Rector of Tampere University is in charge of the processes of handling alleged violations of RCR.
All Finnish higher education institutions apply the RCR Process – the process of handling allegations of misconduct in research practices – in the same way. The process of investigating alleged cases of misconduct consists of three phases: written notification, preliminary inquiry and the investigation proper.
Visit the TENK website for further information.
The investigation of research misconduct is known as the RCR procedure. Suspected RCR violations are investigated in that research organisation where the alleged incident has occurred.
The RCR procedure in TAMK starts with a written notification, submitted by the person who suspects foul play. The rector of TAMK then processes the notification. The rector may start an investigation also when an allegation comes to their attention through other channels.
Based on the notification, the rector decides whether to begin a preliminary inquiry. The purpose of the preliminary inquiry is to determine the validity of the allegations. Possible legal issues are separated from RCR issues. If the alleged violation does not fall within the scope of the RCR procedure or if the notification is clearly unfounded, the rector can decide not to proceed to a preliminary inquiry. The person accused of misconduct, the instigator of the allegation, and TENK must be informed of whether the preliminary inquiry is initiated.
In the preliminary inquiry, the person accused of misconduct and the instigator of the allegation will be heard. If necessary, so will other parties. If the allegation turns out to be unfounded, the rector discontinues the investigation.
If there is reason to suspect that an RCR violation has taken place, the rector must initiate an investigation proper. Again, the person accused, the instigator of the allegation and TENK must be informed of the rector’s decision. An investigation proper is warranted if the preliminary inquiry points to more wide-ranging misconduct than was initially suspected.
For the investigation proper, an investigation group with field-specific expertise is nominated by the rector. The group has a minimum of two external members. The lawyer prepares the matter. The decision to start the investigation proper must be communicated to the person accused of misconduct, the instigator of the allegation and TENK.
The investigation committee submits a report on its work. The rector then asks the person accused of misconduct and the instigator of the allegation to submit responses to the committee’s report.
Finally, the rector of TAMK decides whether an RCR violation has occurred. The parties involved and TENK must be informed of the rector’s decision. If the person accused of misconduct does not work in TAMK, or if they receive external research funding, the final report is also submitted to the relevant employer or funding organisation.
You can get to know the process also as a visual chart:
What is classified as RCR violations? Find more information in TENK webpages
The Tampere Universities’ research integrity advisors provide confidential counselling in cases of alleged misconduct.
At Tampere University, the research integrity advisors are HRD Manager Päivi Salojärvi, Professor Seppo Nikkari, University Lecturer Marko Ahteensuu, Research Development Specialist Laura Himanen and Professor Jari Nurmi. Principal lecturer Marja-Leena Lähteenmäki and R&D Specialist Hannele Palukka do the same at TAMK.