The National Board for Assessment of Research Misconduct, Npof.
On January 1 2020 the Swedish Act on responsibility for good research practice and the examination of research misconduct entered into force (the Swedish Act 2019:504). The National Board for Assessment of Research Misconduct (Npof) was then also set up, with the remit of investigating alleged research misconduct.
Npof investigates research misconduct, cases that previously were handled by the Swedish universities. Research misconduct is defined in the law as a serious breach of good scientific practice in the form of fabrication, falsification or plagiarism that is comitted intentionally or with gross negligence in the planning, performance or reporting of research. The remaining forms of questionable research practice, that do not fall within the definition of the law, are handeled by the research institutions in question.
The Board constitutes of a chairmen and 10 boardmembers. The boardmembers are researchers representing a borad experience with different scientific disciplines and a substantial experience in working with research ethics. Npof also consits of an office that aid the Board with the investigations.
Npof:s decisions can be appealed to the Administrative Court in Uppsala. Decisions by the Administratice Court can be apealed to the Administrative Court of Appeal and after that tot he Supreme Administrative Court
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Npof is an governmental agency but not a part of any ministry.
|The main task is to investigate alleged research misconduct. Npof assesses whether research misconduct has taken place or not. Sanctions are decided by the entities responsible for research.
The Swedish Government has directed the Board to issue an annual report every year. The report contains a summary of Npof’s decisions during the preceding year, information on what measures the entities responsible for research have taken, or intend to take, in response to Npof’s decisions. Further, the report contains information about which breaches other than those of research misconduct that the higher educational institutions have examined. The purpose of the report is to spread knowledge about Npof’s assessments of research misconduct, to spread knowledge of good research practice and ultimately to ensure uniformity: that similar cases are dealt with on an equal basis, in terms of measures and actions chosen, by the entities responsible.
There are three ways of initiating Board investigations:
- An entity responsible for research submits the case to the Board.
- An individual or other party reports an allegation.
- The Board takes up a matter of research misconduct that has somehow come to its attention.
Training is not a part of the Boards task and the Board does not perform any regular training.
Promoting Research Integrity
The Board promotes research integrity, at date, mainly through the yearly report. Other forms of promoting research integrity are trough a yearly conference organized together with the National Universities and trough participation in different research networks for other research entities such as governmental agencies performing research and funding agencies.