Academic collaboration is not always frictionfree. Disputes may arise regarding methods used, who is chosen to write articles or even texts quoted without citation. Researchers may feel alone in an unclear situation. Not everyone is familiar with responsible conduct of research or the shared rules of science.
To make this situation easier, the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK has created a network of Research Integrity Advisers. Since the start of 2017, TENK has trained more than 100 advisers in 66 research organizations to provide low threshold, personal advice on research integrity. The system was founded on a need to reinforce awareness among the internationalising researcher base of the responsible conduct of research in Finland.
— Especially young international researches may be vulnerable, if there are somehow unclear arrangements or poor communication in a research project. In such a situation, a RI adviser may provide low threshold, personal advice. E.g. questions concerning authorship or data management are commonly raised, says senior adviser Iina Kohonen, Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity.
They may be asked for advice, if, for example, there is a suspicion of a violation of responsible conduct of research or if someone has themselves been suspected of a violation.
The advisers give advice to researchers and other staff in their own organization. The discussion with an adviser is absolutely confidential. They may be asked for advice, if, for example, there is a suspicion of a violation of responsible conduct of research or if someone has themselves been suspected of a violation.
The advisers are familiar with the responsible conduct of research (RCR) investigation process monitored by TENK and may, for example, provide assistance in drafting an RCR notification. However, they are not a lawyer and will remain a neutral source of advice and, where necessary, may provide advice to both parties in a dispute. The advisers do not participate in the RCR process themselves and their notes may not be used in processing the case. Nor do they give their views on whether misconduct has occurred. That decision is made by the top management of the organization according to the RCR process.
The advisers do not participate in the RCR process themselves nor do they give their views on whether misconduct has occurred.
Research Integrity Advisers perform these duties alongside their own work and attend annual training offered by TENK. There are advisers in the majority of Finnish research organizations and their contact details can usually be found on the organization’s intranet.
A list of organisations involved in the adviser system can be found from TENK’s website (in Finnish) www.tenk.fi.
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