The Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK has created a network of Research Integrity Advisers.
Academic collaboration is not always friction-free. Disputes may arise about methods used, who gets to be included in a list of article writers, or a discovery that one's text has been quoted without citation. Researchers may feel alone in these unclear and uncertain situations. Not everyone is familiar with the responsible conduct of research or aware of the common ground rules.
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 more than 60 research organisations in Finland to provide low-threshold personal advice on research integrity. This system meets the need to reinforce awareness among the increasingly international researcher base in Finland of what responsible conduct of research means.
Research Integrity Advisers can be asked for advice if there is a suspicion of a violation of responsible conduct of research or if a researcher finds themselves suspected of a violation.
The advisers give advice to researchers and other members of their organisation, and discussions with the adviser are absolutely confidential. They can be asked for advice, if, for example, there is a suspicion of a violation of responsible conduct of research or if a researcher finds themselves suspected of a violation.
The advisers are familiar with the responsible conduct of research (RCR) investigation process monitored by TENK. They may provide assistance in drafting an RCR notification, for example. However, they are not lawyers, and they will remain a neutral source of advice. Where necessary, the advisers provide advice to both parties in a dispute. The advisers do not participate in the RCR process themselves, and their notes cannot be used in the investigation of the case. Nor do they give their views on whether misconduct has occurred. That decision is made by the head of the organisation, in line with the RCR process.
The advisers don't participate in the RCR process, and they don't comment on whether or not research misconduct has occurred.
Research Integrity Advisers perform their duties alongside their own work and attend annual training offered by TENK. There are advisers in the majority of Finnish research organisations, and their contact details can usually be found on the organisation’s intranet. List of the organisations involved (in Finnish) can be found in TENK's website.
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