A delay in a dissertation did not constitute deliberate delaying the work of another researcher (TENK 2020:2)

Doctor of Natural Sciences A alleged that between 2005 and 2006 a university’s Emeritus Professor B had made it difficult for A to complete their doctoral dissertation, and thus B had prevented the publishing of A’s research results.

TENK’s statements 2020:1 and 2020:3 are related to the same issue.

When assessing whether a violation of responsible conduct of research has occurred, the RCR guidelines in force at the material time must be applied in the assessment.  TENK’s RCR guidelines from 2002 were thus applicable.

The 2002 guidelines state that it is harmful for the scientific community and reprehensible to intentionally delay or impede another researcher’s work. However, the RCR procedure is applied to investigating cases only in situations when the activities can also be considered a violation against the responsible conduct of research. In this case, the person alleged of misconduct should also have demonstrated gross negligence.

In the light of the documentation submitted to TENK, there was no reason to conclude that B had deliberately sought to delay the completion of the work of A. Moreover, there was no mention of such gross negligence or carelessness in B’s activities that there would have been reason to investigate the matter as an RCR violation.