Academic ethics for students
Academic ethics and good scientific practice
Tampere University adheres to the principles of good scientific practice and academic integrity that are based on national legislation, the guidelines issued by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity titled Responsible conduct of research and the procedure for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland, and the Degree Regulations and Guidelines for Student Assessment of the University. These principles apply to all coursework, examinations, theses and research activities. Based on the above, the university has implemented guidelines for academic ethics and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct at Tampere University that all students must adhere to.
All the members of our university community are expected to act honestly and fairly and show respect for others and the results of their work. Everyone is expected to be familiar and comply with the principles of good scientific practice and academic integrity.
During their studies, students learn how to apply the principles of good scientific practice and academic integrity. Students are responsible for their learning and for informing themselves about relevant policies and procedures. Students are advised to contact their teachers or thesis supervisor if they are unsure about anything relating to good scientific practice or academic integrity. The further students progress in their studies , the more familiar they are expected to be with these principles.
The university provides training in good scientific practice and the supervision of students to the members of our teaching and research staff.
Good study practices entail the following:
- understanding one’s position as a member of the university community and striving towards the fair and equal treatment of fellow members of the community;
- taking responsibility for one’s own studies;
- respecting the work of other people;
- observing established ethical principles and practices in research;
- securing shared resources for one’s own use responsibly;
- acting responsibly in groups and other forms of collaboration;
- completing assignments within set time limits; and
- informing others about unforeseen circumstances that affect them.
Violations of good study practices and their consequences
Violations of good study practices include:
- plagiarism, i.e. presenting another person’s text, picture, figure, graph, software, previous study attainment or other similar presentation or a part thereof as one’s own;
- presenting text or a solution poduceed by AI as one's own;
- helping another person to plagiarise, i.e. drafting coursework on behalf of somebody else or giving to another student one’s essay, other work or text, a presentation or a thesis or part thereof, when the student clearly has the intention of presenting it as his/her own coursework or its part;
- obtaining information needed in an invigilated examination by bringing sources of information to the exam room without the explicit instruction of the person in charge of the assessment, by viewing or otherwise obtaining information from another student participating in the exam, or by contacting others off-site, i.e. cheating;
- helping a fellow student to cheat in an assessment situation i.e. by giving one’s own responses, other texts or information needed to complete the assessed exercise to another person who is participating in the assessment situation;
- misappropriation, i.e. presenting another person’s text, idea, plan, observation or data related to or intended as a coursework as one’s own, and
- self-plagiarism, using the same texts or presentations or parts thereof as new coursework without making it clear that the material has already been used in a previous study attainment.
Undue hampering or distortion of another person’s work, and providing misleading information, such as giving a wrongful picture of one’s own or another student’s contribution to studies, may also be regarded as misconduct. Students must never assist another student’s fraudulent behaviour or entice other students to engage in such behaviour.
In addition, the following is ethically inappropriate according to the TENK guidelines and thus against good scientific practice:
- falsification of observations, i.e. revising the observations so that the results change in a manner that distorts the research results;
- falsification of research results, i.e. unjustified modification, selection or omission of research results;
- fabrication, i.e. presenting invented observations or results; and
- disregard for good scientific practice, which is manifested by the denigration of other people’s work, neglectful and therefore misrepresented methods and results, deficient notification and preservation of results and data, self-plagiarism, and other methods of misleading the scientific community.
Actions that seem like disregard or fraudulent study practices may result from ignorance, especially at the start of studies. The deliberateness of the actions must be carefully assessed by taking into account how well the student is expected to master good scientific and study practices. Negligence or slight disregard for good practices may also have consequences. Students must never assist another student’s fraudulent behaviour or entice other students to engage in such behaviour.
Possible consequences of ethical misconduct include:
- Failing the study attainment
When misconduct or disregard is detected in the student’s coursework that has been submitted for assessment, the coursework is failed and the student is supervised and given the opportunity to do all or agreed parts of the coursework again. The decision concerning the misconduct is filed in the University’s document management system.
- Caution by the Dean or a written reprimand
In serious or recurrent cases, or in the case of the violation of the ethical guidelines in a thesis/dissertation, the Dean may invite the student to an interview and give him/her a written reprimand. The reprimand is filed on the University's document management system.
- Caution by the President and suspension from the University for a fixed period
If a student is repeatedly found guilty of misconduct or disregard in his/her studies, or if the misconduct results in the failing of a bachelor's or master's thesis, or if the President otherwise considers the violation to be particularly serious, he/she may issue a caution as laid out by Section 45 of the Universities Act. Alternatively, the University Board can suspend the student for a fixed period of time based on a recommendation from the President.
If a student is found guilty of misconduct or serious disregard, he/she will not be eligible for any scholarship from Tampere University’s scholarship scheme for the degree he/she is pursuing at Tampere University.
Important information on study ethics and good scientific practice:
- Guidelines for academic ethics and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct at Tampere University (TAU/2279/501/2019, vice-rector's decision)
- Plagiarism in the University Library Guide for new students
- Research ethics on the university website
- The Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK