Information på svenska om god forskningssed och oredlighet i forskning

Good research practice

According to the Higher Education Act (Högskolelagen (1992:1434)), higher education institutions shall uphold academic credibility and good research practice in the course of their operations (3a§). There is no exact definition of “good research practice” or corresponding terms in other languages. It could be described as the moral practice that develops as a result of critical reflection by different actors in science and society (cf. SOU 1999:4) or as “the collective ethical criteria on how good research should be conducted” (Good Research Practice, VR, 2017:17).

Stockholm university’s research integrity and ethics policy points out the four fundamental principles set out in The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (All European Academies (ALLEA), 2017) as guiding when it comes to good research practice. The four principles are: 1. Reliability in ensuring the quality of research, reflected in the design, the methodology, the analysis and the use of resources. 2. Honesty in developing, undertaking, reviewing, reporting and communicating research in a transparent, fair, full and unbiased way. 3. Respect for colleagues, research subjects, society, ecosystems, cultural heritage and the environment. 4. Accountability for the research from idea to publication, for its management and organisation, for training, supervision and mentoring, and for its wider impacts. The research integrity and ethics policy clarifies the University’s view on protecting and promoting good research practice, and everyone’s responsibility is described. Read more about the policy here.

Misconduct in research

The term “misconduct in research” also lacks a globally accepted definition (as do other, near-equivalent terms), but it is usually taken to refer to especially grave deviations from good research practice. The core cases are commonly defined in terms of fabrication, falsification and plagiarism (abbreviated as “FFP”; cf. OECD 2008), but misconduct in research can also be taken to include things like theft, wrongful claim of authorship, hindering scientific review, conducting research without the required ethical permissions, breach of confidentiality, dishonesty in reporting to funding agencies, suppression of undesired results, and dissemination of false or distorted results. Intent or gross negligence is usually required in order for a deviation from good practice to count as misconduct.

The Act on responsibility for good research practice and the examination of research misconduct (lagen (2019:504) om ansvar för god forskningssed och prövning av oredlighet i forskning), which entered into force on January 1st 2020, defines “research misconduct” as "a serious deviation from of good research practice in the form of fabrication, falsification or plagiarism that is committed intentionally or with gross negligence when planning, conducting or reporting research”. You may wish to read the government committee report where the act was proposed, and the subsequent government bill.

Managing suspicions of misconduct

According to the Act on responsibility for good research practice and the examination of research misconduct (see above), from January 1st 2020 suspicions of research misconduct shall be investigated by the National Board for Assessment of Research Misconduct, Nämnden för prövning av oredlighet i forskning. Other deviations from good research practice than those fitting the definition of research misconduct shall be handled by the higher education institutions themselves. At Stockholm University, the Council for Good Research Practice (Rådet för god forskningssed, formerly named the Ethics Council/Etiska rådet) is responsible for investigating suspicions of such deviations. The council consists of the deputy vice-presidents, the deans of the human science area, the pro-dean of the science area, and the teacher representatives of the University Board. The Council can also call on external expertise for participation or advice. The Rules of procedure for the Council for Good Research Practice can be found here (in Swedish). The University Procedure for handling suspicion of deviation from good research practice can be found here.

Reporting misconduct

Suspicions of deviations from good research practice at Stockholm University shall be reported to the President, preferebly in writing to registrator@su.se. A report made to any other employee at Stockholm University shall be forwarded to the President without delay. The report should include 1) the information you are aware of concerning where the research was conducted and the suspected researcher(s) or research project(s), 2) an account of your suspicion, how the alleged deviation is manifested and where it may be found, and 3) any files you may have that contains documentation that support your suspicion or allegation.

From January 1st 2020, Stockholm University will hand over cases concerning suspected deviations from good research practice fitting the new definition of research misconduct (see above) to the National Board for Assessment of Research Misconduct. It is also possible to report suspicions of research misconduct directly to the board.

Questions about good research practice and research misconduct 

If you have more general questions about good research practice or misconduct in research, you are welcome to contact the ethics support function at the Office for Research, Engagement and Innovation Services, etik@fs.su.se