The Danish Parliament has adopted a new Act on scientific dishonesty

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In the future, cases of scientific dishonesty will be settled by a central committee, whereas cases of questionable research practice will be dealt with locally at the research institutions.

2017.04.27 | Lotte Bilberg

Photo: Lars Kruse.

A unanimous Danish parliament has just adopted a new Act on scientific dishonesty. An Act that is based on 12 recommendations made in 2015 by an expert committee headed by Professor Jens Oddershede.

Research conducted in the private sector, for example by companies, will also be covered by the new Act. However, according to the Act, which has the aim of promoting credibility and integrity in Danish research, “the private company (or similar) which has carried out the research must consent to the case being taken up by the committee".

Central committee

The Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty is the name of the new central committee which will deal with serious cases of scientific dishonesty, while local committees at the research institutions will handle less serious cases regarding questionable research conduct.

Which is which?

So, what qualifies as scientific dishonesty and questionable research conduct, respectively?

In the Act, scientific dishonesty is defined as: "Falsification, fabrication, plagiarism and other serious violations of good scientific practice committed wilfully or gross negligence in the planning, performing, or reporting of research results”.

Whereas questionable research conduct is defined as. "Breaches of current standards on responsible conduct of research, including those of the Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, and other applicable institutional, national and international practices and guidelines on research integrity”.

The committee for Responsible Conduct of Research at AU

The local committee at Aarhus University is named the Committee for Responsible Conduct of Research at AU, and has Professor Palle Bo Madsen from the Department of Law as its chairman. Each of the four faculties at AU also has its own adviser in responsible conduct of research, who can provide confidential and independent advice to researchers, laboratory technicians and others who participate in research activities.

However, the adviser is no longer bound by a duty of confidentiality, if he or she in connection with giving advice, becomes aware of very serious violations of responsible conduct of research. For example, violations that are of a very serious nature due to the method employed, or because they have been committed repeatedly, or have been committed by several people jointly.    


Facts

Translated by Peter Lambourne

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Revised 17.11.2017