Misconduct and fraud in science defining the concepts Misconduct in science

The reliability and dignity of scientific research are based on the expectation that researchers comply with good scientific practice.While the full meaning of "good scientific practice" is open to discussion, the concept is agreed to include at least the following: "adherence to procedures accepted by the scientific community, general conscientiousness and accuracy in the performance of research and presentation of results, appropriate acknowledgement of the work and achievements of others, honest presentation of the researcher's own results and respect for the principles of openness and controlled procedures of science."2 Violations of good scientific practice (misconduct in science) include "underestimation of the contribution of other scientists in one's own publications, insufficient reference to results achieved earlier, sloppy and therefore potentially misleading reporting of methods or results, inadequate documentation and insufficient preservation of data, covert duplicate publication and any conscious attempt to mislead the general public with regard to the work of the researcher in question."2

Fraud in science

By "fraud in scientific research" the Research Ethics Council refers to the presentation to the scientific community of fabricated, falsified, or misappropriated observations or results, for example in a presentation held in a scientific meeting, a manuscript written for the publication, or a research grant application. Fabrication includes reporting invented observations not based on the methods presented in the research report or entirely imaginary results based on no actual observations. Falsification of scientific observations means "intentional alteration of data or the presentation of observations in a manner which alters the end result." Falsification of results means "altering or selecting the results of the research in a scientifically unjustifiable manner." Falsification thus also involves the exclusion from a report of results essential to the findings of the research.

SCIENTIFIC FRAUD AND MISCONDUCT IN FINLAND Table 8.1 Specification of cases according to accusation.

Alleged dishonesty






Adoption of the original research idea, a research plan, or research observations

Fabrication or falsification of scientific observations Falsification of application documents or scientific merits Misconduct in science Other

110 110 2 10

Total number of cases

A = cases handled in the universities and research institutes. B = cases handled by the Research Ethics Council. C = dishonesty proved.

Also included in fraud is "the adoption of the original research idea, a research plan or research observations of another researcher" (misappropriation); or "the presentation, either as a whole or in part, of a research plan, a manuscript, article or other text created by another researcher as if it originated from the researcher in question" (plagiarism).2

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