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Act on responsibility for good research practice and the examination of research misconduct (2019:504)

Department/Agency: Ministry of Education and Research, Sweden 
Issued: 27 June 2019

The translation is not an official translation.

/Enters into effect: 1 January 2020/

Contents

Section 1  

This Act contains provisions on the responsibility held by researchers and the entity responsible for research for research being conducted in accordance with good research practice.
The Act also contains provisions on the procedure for examining issues related to research misconduct.

Definitions

Section 2  

The following definitions are used in this Act:
entity responsible for research: a public agency or physical or legal person that conducts activities in which research is conducted, and
research misconduct: a serious deviation from good research practice in the form of fabrication, falsification or plagiarism that is committed intentionally or through gross negligence when planning, conducting or reporting research.

The Act’s areas of application

Section 3  

This Act is applicable to research conducted by

  1. higher education institutions in the public sector that are subject to the Higher Education Act (1992:1434),
  2. other public agencies,
  3. the state in the form of a limited company, if the company’s activities are regulated by law or other statute or if the state as owner or through contributions of public funding or by agreement or in some other way has a decisive influence over activities,
  4. the state in the form of a foundation, if the activities of the foundation are regulated by law or other statute or if the foundation has been founded by or in partnership with the state or is administered by a public agency,
  5. municipalities and county councils, or by limited companies, partnerships, economic associations and foundations over which municipalities or county councils exercise a legally decisive influence, and
  6. independent higher education providers that have degree-awarding powers under the Act concerning authority to award certain qualifications (1993:792).

The Government may issue provisions on exemptions from the Act’s areas of application for entities responsible for research in the areas of defence and national security. The Government may also decide on such exemptions in individual cases.

Responsibility for good research practice

The responsibility of the researcher

Section 4 

The researcher is responsible for compliance with good research practice in their research.
The responsibility of the entity responsible for research

Section 5  

The entity responsible for research has overarching responsibility for research being conducted in accordance with good research practice.

Section 6  

If there is a suspicion of research misconduct in the activities of the entity responsible for research, the entity responsible for research must submit the case documents for examination by the Board described in Section 7.

Examination of research misconduct

Examination of cases

Section 7  

Issues of research misconduct are examined by an independent Board.

Such cases are initiated by

  1. an entity responsible for research submitting case documents under Section 6,
  2. an allegation of research misconduct being sent to the Board, or
  3. the Board taking up an issue of research misconduct of which it has become aware in some other way.

Limitations

Section 8  

Examination of research misconduct under this Act may not be founded on circumstances that are older than ten years when the case is initiated.

The provision in paragraph one does not apply if there are exceptional circumstances for examination.

Decision

Section 9  

The examination by the Board under paragraph one of Section 7 must be presented in a decision.

Section 10  

The Board may decide to reject an allegation of research misconduct such as that described in the second paragraph of Section 7 if it is obviously unfounded.

The Board may decide to write off a case if an allegation is withdrawn.

Section 11  

If the Board assesses that a case does not involve research misconduct, but that there may be other deviations from good research practice, the Board must inform the relevant entity responsible for research and at the same time hand over the case documents.

The entity responsible for research’s obligation to provide cooperation and information

Section 12  

The entity responsible for research must provide any information and documentation about the research requested by the Board and give the Board access to computers and other equipment used in the research.

The Board may place an injunction on an entity responsible for research if required for it to fulfil its obligations under the first paragraph.

A decision to issue an injunction may be combined with a financial penalty.

The entity responsible for research’s obligation to report

Section 13  

If the Board has decided that research misconduct has occurred, or a decision from the Board states that there has been serious deviation from good research practice in the form of fabrication, falsification or plagiarism without being able to determine intent or gross negligence, the entity responsible for research must, within six months of the decision coming into force, submit a report to the Board on the measures it has taken or intends to take due to the decision.

Information to stakeholders

Section 14  

If the Board has decided that research misconduct has occurred, or a Board decision states that there has been serious deviation from good research practice in the form of fabrication, falsification or plagiarism without being able to determine intent or gross negligence, the entity responsible for research must, as soon as the decision has been made, inform the relevant research financiers, public agencies, scholarly journals and other stakeholders about the decision. The entity responsible for research must also inform them that the decision may be appealed.

Appeals

Section 15  

Decisions under Section 9 and the second paragraph of Section 12 may be appealed to a general Administrative Court. Other decisions under this Act may not be appealed.
 
Leave to appeal is required for appeals to the Administrative Court of Appeal.

Transitional provisions

 
2019:504
 
  1. This Act enters into effect on 1 January 2020.
  2. After it enters into effect, the Board described in Section 7 must take over the processing of cases of research misconduct that have been initiated at an entity responsible for research. The entity responsible for research must hand over the documents for the cases to the Board.

Last updated: 26 November 2019