Terms of reference for the new committee system established in 1999

In 1998 a frame law was passed that empowered the Danish Minister of Research to create committees on scientific dishonesty, covering all research fields. Pursuant to that in December 1998 the Minister published a regulation "Concerning the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty" with the following provisions:

The Board of the Danish Research Councils establishes three committees on scientific dishonesty within Danish research: a committee covering natural science, agricultural and veterinary science and technical science, a committee for health and medical science, and a committee for social science and the humanities. The committees will share a chairman, whose task among other things is to ensure uniformity in the statements made by the committees irrespective of the scientific issue in question...

It is the responsibility of the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty to handle cases concerning scientific dishonesty when the Committees receive complaints thereof. A plaintiff may ask the Committees to consider his/her case in order to clear his/her name of circulating rumours and allegations.The case must be of importance to Danish research. If it is unlikely that the Committees will find for the plaintiff, the complaint will be dismissed, before actually being considered by the Committees.

Scientific dishonesty includes actions or omissions in research, such as falsification or distortion of the scientific message or grossly misleading information or actions regarding a person's efforts within the research and include, e.g.:

1 Construction of data

2 Selective and hidden rejection of undesirable results

3 Substitution with fictive data

4 Deliberately misleading application of statistical methods

5 Deliberately distorted interpretation of results and distortion of conclusions

6 Plagiarism of other people's results or publications

7 Deliberately distorted representation of other people's results

8 Inappropriate credit as author

9 Incorrect information on applications.

In order to characterize behavior as scientific dishonesty, it must be documented that the accused has acted with intent or gross negligence regarding the activities under consideration.

A complaint of scientific dishonesty must be submitted within a reasonable time after the plaintiff has obtained the necessary basis for lodging the complaint. Only in special cases, will the committees consider cases concerning activities dating back five years or more.

If a committee concludes that scientific dishonesty has taken place in a specific case, it may:

1 Inform the accused person's employer

2 Recommend that the scientific work in question be withdrawn

3 Report to the public authority, supervising the area

4 Report to the police in case of penal code violation

5 Make a statement about a possible choice of sanction, upon special request by an appointing authority.

The committees will publish annual reports on their activities. The reports will describe all considered cases of scientific dishonesty, without indicating the names of individuals or institutions involved. (It is practice to publish the reports in Danish and English.).

The chairman must be a High Court Judge. The appointed members and their alternates must be recognized researchers who together cover the scientific areas of the Danish Research Councils as broadly as possible. The chairman and the members are appointed in their personal capacity.

The chairman is appointed by the Minister of Research and Information Technology. The members and the alternates are appointed by the Board of the Danish Research Councils upon the recommendation of the Danish Research Councils.

The individual committee may decide that the handling of a case requires the assistance of one or several external experts.

The committees will attempt to reach unanimous decisions. If this is not possible, decisions are reached by majority vote. A dissenting member may request to have his/her dissent noted in the conclusive statement.

The committees' handling of cases falls under the Danish Administrative Law.

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