Responsible conduct of research and research integrity advisors

Responsible conduct of research and research integrity advisors

The purpose of research integrity advisors is to promote responsible conduct of research.

The work of research integrity advisors includes promoting research integrity and sound scientific practice in the scientific community, but not taking a stand on research ethics, such as reviewing the ethicality of planned research. Neither do the research integrity advisors handle matters related to fraudulent study practices.

The RCR process, which means handling a case of alleged violation of responsible conduct of research, advances in a similar manner at all Finnish higher education institutions. The process comprises three phases: notification, preliminary inquiry and the investigation proper.

When a violation of responsible conduct of research (RCR) is suspected, the task of the research integrity advisors is to provide guidance on the process of investigating the case. The support person may provide process-related advice and support to the parties.

The following people act as research integrity advisors at the Tampere3 higher education institutions: HRD Manager Päivi Salojärvi and Professor Seppo Nikkari at the University of Tampere, Specialist (research development) Laura Himanen and Professor Jari Nurmi at Tampere University of Technology and Principal Lecturers Harri Kukkonen and Varpu Lipponen at Tampere University of Applied Sciences.

The research integrity advisors disseminate information and provide guidance on responsible conduct of research. 

Their most significant task is to provide low-threshold confidential counselling in cases where a violation of RCR is alleged. The research integrity advisors counsel and support researchers, teachers and other employees. Staff members may contact the research integrity advisors by email, telephone or in person.

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The National Advisory Board for Research Ethics (TENK) has launched a scheme of organisation-specific or regional, low-threshold networks of advisory and support personnel (so-called research integrity advisors) in the area of research integrity. More than sixty higher education institutions and research organisations around Finland are already involved.