Organisation suspected of bias and RCR violations (TENK 2021:10)

Technical professor A suspected that university X’s management was guilty of stealing their research ideas and plans. According to A, they had forbidden X’s staff from drafting new joint articles with A because A was no longer an employee of X. A had not, however, indicated in the notification that misappropriation had taken place in practice or that the suspects had committed other RCR violations.

In its statement, TENK considered that, when publishing scientific manuscripts towards which A had made a significant scientific contribution, the employer must adhere to RCR principles when exercising its right of direction. In addition, TENK stated that only a named person, not an organisation, can be guilty of an RCR violation.

In their request for a statement, A also considered that the vice rector of X would not be able to make unbiased decision on the RCR process, as their immediate superior, the university rector, was suspected of misconduct. TENK also stated its position on this issue at a general level, ruling that if the management of a research organisation is suspected of RCR violations, it is very important to ensure the right conditions for the RCR processes, including areas such as decision-making. This in turn ensures that the legal protection of the researchers or other parties to the case is not compromised. TENK considered that the RCR process in question had been carried out in accordance with TENK guidelines.