Know your Rights
In order 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. Furthermore, the responsible conduct of
research is an integral part of the quality assurance of
The premises for the responsible conduct of research
provided by the RCR guidelines are:
- The research follows the principles that are endorsed
by the research community.
- The methods applied for data acquisition as well
as for research and evaluation, conform to scientific
criteria and are ethically sustainable. When publishing
the research results, the results are communicated
in an open and responsible fashion that is intrinsic
to the dissemination of scientific knowledge.
- The researcher takes due account of the work
and achievements of other researchers by respecting
their work, citing their publications appropriately,
and by giving their achievements the credit and
weight they deserve in carrying out the researcher’s
own research and publishing its results.
- The researcher complies with the standards set
for scientific knowledge in planning and conducting
the research, in reporting the research results and in
recording the data obtained during the research.
- The necessary research permits have been acquired
and the preliminary ethical review that is
required for certain fields of research has been conducted.
- Before beginning the research or recruiting the
researchers, all parties within the research project or
team (the employer, the principal investigator, and
the team members) agree on the researchers’ rights,
responsibilities, obligations, principles concerning
authorship, and questions concerning
archiving and accessing the data.
- Sources of financing, conflicts of interest
or other commitments relevant to
the conduct of research are announced to
all members of the research project and reported
when publishing the research results.
- Researchers refrain from all research-related
evaluation and decision-making situations, when
there is reason to suspect a conflict of interest.
- The research organisation adheres to good personnel
and financial administration practices and
takes into account the data protection legislation. In
addition, researchers also need to comply with the
practices listed above 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
Violations against the responsible conduct of research
constitute of research misconduct and disregard
for the responsible conduct of research. Legal matters,
such as copyright or criminal violations cannot, however,
be handled as a part of the RCR procedure.
The procedure for handling the alleged RCR violations,
consists of three parts: a written notification,
a preliminary inquiry and the investigation proper.
Every step of the procedure must be well documented
and notification of an alleged violation must also
be reported to TENK (the Finnish National Board on
Research Integrity). The procedure is carried out by
the University or research institution itself, but the
procedure must be conducted fairly and impartially.
Should the organization refuse to begin the proceedings
or should the procedure not meet the requirements
of the RCR guidelines, both the party suspected
of the violation and the party suspecting a violation,
are entitled to a statement from TENK, whether the
procedure has been conducted accordingly or if there
has been a violation of the RCR.
Text Mia Weckman
Director of Advocacy, The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers
Page 44 in the printed magazine