Shortcomings in the hearing practice of an investigation proper (TENK 2022:20)

A group of researchers suspected that a non-fiction book published by Professor A and Docent B in the field of humanities included plagiarism and so-called self-plagiarism. In its preliminary inquiry, the university decided that A and B were guilty of disregard for the responsible conduct of research but that the severity of the act did not constitute plagiarism. Due to the work being a republication, no self-plagiarism was found either. After receiving TENK’s statement, the university launched an investigation proper into the matter, as according to TENK, the suspicion of research misconduct could not be completely ruled out. The conclusion of the investigation proper was that B was guilty of plagiarism. With regard to A, the investigation was suspended.

In their request for a statement, A expressed their dissatisfaction with the working methods of the investigation committee due to the committee not granting A additional time for commenting, among other things. In its statement, TENK found that A’s request for additional time had been justified. Although the 2012 RCR guidelines do not include a recommendation on the length of the response time granted to the parties of the RCR process, the investigation committee did not fully hear A as required by the RCR guidelines.