Preliminary inquiry of suspected plagiarism in a non-fiction book was not based on the RCR guidelines (TENK 2021:1)

A group of researchers suspected that the human sciences non-fiction book published by professor A and docent B contained plagiarism and self-plagiarism. In its preliminary inquiry, the university concluded that A and B were guilty of disregard for responsible conduct of research, but the seriousness of the act did not amount to plagiarism. Due to the nature of the work as republished material, no self-plagiarism was found in the case. In their request for a statement from TENK, the researchers expressed their dissatisfaction with the RCR process carried out, and they also contested the key results of the preliminary inquiry.

In its statement, TENK considered that the preliminary inquiry on the suspected plagiarism had not been sufficiently comprehensive and had not been based on the RCR guidelines. TENK therefore considered that the university should launch an investigation proper on the matter, as the suspicion of misconduct in scientific research could not be completely ruled out. In the future, the university should also instruct the persons appointed to carry out the preliminary inquiry to base their work on the RCR guidelines. The guidelines are binding on researchers writing non-fiction books regardless of how scientific the works are or the form of publication.