The University of Eastern Finland is committed to complying with the guidelines on responsible conduct of research given by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (TENK). Every teacher and student of the university is expected to be familiar with the guidelines published by TENK (www.tenk.fi/en > Responsible Conduct of Research, aka RCR Guidelines).
The universities are obligated to arrange their activities so as to assure integrity and good scientific practices in scientific research, artistic activity, education and teaching. The values of the University of Eastern Finland as an academic community are freedom of science, teaching and learning, transparency, courage, responsibility and impact. (Universities Act, Section 2.) The activities of the University of Eastern Finland rely on the expertise of the entire academic community.
Furthermore, the university’s activities are rooted in the principles of ethicality and sustainable development (Strategy of the University of Eastern Finland for 2015–2020).
According to TENK, the key characteristics of responsible conduct of research include integrity and transparency, general meticulousness, and accuracy in conducting research as well as in recording, presenting and evaluating research results. Committing to responsible conduct of research promotes a high standard in research, teaching and studying, and it also promotes the reliability of the university’s activities. Furthermore, adherence to responsible conduct of research is the benefit of the entire academic community, and this commitment should be reflected in all activities at the university.
Teachers are required to adhere to the principles of responsible conduct of research in their teaching. Teachers acknowledge their role as role models for students and as creators of a good workplace atmosphere for fellow colleagues. To achieve these objectives, teachers maintain a professional relationship to students and their activities support the honest, critical, creative, transparent and communal operating culture of the academic community.
- Teachers maintain their expertise.
- Teachers treat students equally and fairly.
- Teachers do not fraudulently or without the person’s consent make use of students’ contributions or study attainments in their own activities.
- Teachers address, in accordance with the university’s instructions, fraud such as plagiarism or cheating in exams.
- Teachers assume, for their part, responsibility for making sure that students obtain sufficient information about the principles of responsible conduct of research and their application in students’ own fields.
- Teachers supervising final theses are responsible for making sure that students are familiar with TENK’s guidelines on responsible conduct of research.
- If a teacher acts unethically towards a student, the student can inform the teacher’s supervisor of the matter. The supervisor is required to take measures to settle the matter.
In teaching, the main objective of teachers is to promote students’ learning and the achievement of the learning objectives.
- Teachers give students positive and critical feedback on the progress of their studies.
- Teachers respect students’ opinions and critical feedback given by them.
- Teachers instruct students to change their working methods if they recognise features that weaken learning outcomes or disturb the activities of other students.
Students’ main objective in studying is learning and achieving the learning objectives.
- Students’ study attainments are based on genuine skills.
Students are responsible for adhering to the principles of responsible conduct of research in studying, for example when writing theses and essays, answering to exam questions, and other study attainments.
- Students acknowledge their role as responsible actors within the academic community.
- Students recognise the value of work completed by others and act honestly in all situations.
- Students’ activities support the ethical, critical, creative, transparent and communal operating culture of the academic community.
- Students make sure that their theses indicate the sources of information, original ideas and methods, and that proper referencing techniques are used.
Students respect teachers’ teaching and research.
- Students maintain a positive atmosphere in teaching by being active and knowing their responsibilities.
- Students give constructive feedback on teaching.
- When necessary, students are active in asking for further information about proper procedures.
- Students’ conduct in teaching situations and exams does not disturb others.
Students may face serious consequences in, e.g., the following situations:
- using notes or other forbidden tools in an exam (cheating in an exam)
- using another student’s assignment or thesis in one’s own studies without indicating the source of information, original ideas and methods
failing to indicate the sources used
- unauthorised borrowing (plagiarism) of a text or a part of it, an image or a translation obtained from a fellow student, from the internet or elsewhere
handing one’s study attainments over to another student for fraudulent use
- using one’s earlier study attainments or parts of them as part of new ones without proper referencing
- not doing one’s share in assignments to be completed in pairs or groups.
PROCEDURES RELATING TO FRAUD IN STUDIES
The Degree Regulations of the University of Eastern Finland, Section 45, state the following:
“A study attainment may be rejected if a student is guilty of study-related or research-related misconduct while completing the study attainment in question. Examiners shall have the right immediately to remove any student guilty of cheating from an exam. The study attainment shall also be failed in cases where cheating is discovered only after the exam. If the exam supervisor has interrupted a student’s exam due to disturbances or suspected cheating, the supervisor shall enter the reason for the interruption into the student’s exam papers, and also whether the student admits or denies making the disturbance or cheating.
In a case where a student is suspected of cheating or disturbing an exam, he or she must be offered the opportunity to be heard. After the student’s misconduct has been established to have occurred, it shall be reported in writing to the Dean or Director of the independent institute or service centre concerned, who shall decide on any further measures to be taken.
The Dean, the Director of the independent institute or service centre or the Director of Student and Learning Services may, at his or her discretion, report the case of cheating to the Rector, who may take the disciplinary action referred to in Section 45 of the Universities Act.”
According to the Universities Act, Section 45:
“A student who has committed an offence against teaching or research at the university or has otherwise breached university order, may, as a disciplinary measure, be cautioned or suspended for a maximum of one year. The decision to give a written warning to a student shall be made by the Rector of the university and the decision on suspension by the Board of the university. Before the resolution of the matter, the student shall be verifiably notified of the offence he or she is accused of and given an opportunity to be heard in the matter.”
If a teacher suspects a student of an offence against teaching or research, the teacher has the obligation to address the issue immediately and in an appropriate manner. If the discovered offence is minor and the result of the student’s ignorance, the teacher may give the student advice and instructions. In other cases, the teacher has the obligation to report the suspected offence to the Dean or to the Director of the independent institute or service centre concerned in writing.
The student is sent a written notification indicating the offence he or she is suspected of and the student is given an opportunity to be heard in the matter either in an oral hearing or in a statement issued in writing. The request for a statement (template provided as an appendix) or the invitation to a hearing is sent to the student with advice of receipt or in some other verifiable way. If the student is heard in an oral hearing, the event must be documented (e.g. memo, minutes). The student may bring a person to support him or her in the hearing. After the hearing or the issue of the statement, the Dean or the Director of the independent institute or service centre concerned resolves whether an offence has been committed (if not, the matter becomes void) and whether the offence is minor or serious, and what possible further action is needed in the matter.
If the Dean or the Director of the independent institute or service centre concerned considers that a minor offence has been committed, the consequences may include, e.g.:
- an oral reprimand
- an order to the student to rectify the written assignment, or
- failing of the study attainment concerned.
A notification of the consequence given by the Dean or the Director of the independent institute or service centre concerned will be sent to the student and the teacher.
An offence may be considered minor when it is an isolated incident resulting from carelessness or ignorance, and the damage caused by it is not significant.
If the Dean or the Director of the independent institute or service centre concerned considers, after having heard the student, that a more serious offence has been committed, he or she shall report the matter in writing to the Academic Rector and deliver the documents relating to the matter to the Academic Rector.
The Academic Rector may give the student a written warning, propose to the Board that the student be temporarily suspended, or establish that no offence in the matter has been committed.
A decision in the matter taken by the Academic Rector or the Board will be notified to the student, the teacher and the Dean or the Director of the independent institute or service centre concerned, as well as to Student and Learning Services.
The decision can be appealed against by lodging a complaint with the Administrative Court of Eastern Finland. The decision shall be included with instructions for making an appeal. A decision by the Administrative Court pertaining to a disciplinary action against a student referred to in the Universities Act, Section 45, may not be appealed against.