Country Report Finland

National Research Integrity Landscape

Finland employs a self-regulation framework which is based on the national guidelines, first published in 1994, on the identification and investigation of violations of research integrity. In addition to the internal regulations within the scientific community, its starting point is the openness and transparency of science as well as the mutual trust between researchers and research organisations.

Assessment framework

In Finland, the responsibility for investigating cases in the first instance is with the research organization where the alleged incident has occurred. The Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK has established the Finnish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity and Procedures for Handling Alleged Violations of Research Integrity in Finland 2023 (RI guidelines). These guidelines were developed in collaboration with the Finnish research community. The efficacy of the RI guidelines relies on the voluntary commitment of this community to follow them and to promote an understanding of research integrity principles. The RI guidelines are applicable across all academic disciplines in Finland. They had a total of 105 committed signatories by the April of 2024 including all the universities in Finland, most universities of applied sciences, and almost all publicly funded research institutions.

Commitment to good research practices in accordance with the RI guidelines is part of the ethical self-regulation system of the Finnish research community. Following TENK’s guidelines is binding for the committed organisations. An organisation commits to the guidelines by the director signing the commitment form. With the director’s signature, the organisation commits to promoting good research practices in accordance with the RI Guidelines. If a violation of RI is suspected and a notification has been submitted in the organisation, the organisation is obliged to investigate the case according to the procedures described in the RI Guidelines.

Additionally, the organization is committed to implementing the RI guidelines not only in national contexts but also in international research collaborations, including partnerships between universities and businesses. All individuals associated with the organization, such as employees, contractors, grant researchers, and docents, are required to adhere to these RI guidelines.


The process for investigating alleged violations of research integrity, or the RI process, must be followed by all organizations that have committed to the Finnish RI guidelines. Should a report of a past or ongoing RI violation be received, the organization is obligated to initiate the RI process. The director of the organization is tasked with ensuring that the RI process is adhered to throughout the investigation. While the director is typically responsible for making decisions regarding the investigation, this responsibility must be transferred to another party if there is a conflict of interest to maintain the integrity of the process.

The RI process for addressing alleged violations of research integrity in Finland is conducted within the organization where the incident is reported. This process consists of three key steps:

  1. Submitting the Notification: The initial stage involves reporting the alleged violation.
  2. The Preliminary Inquiry: This step assesses the validity of the complaint to determine if a full investigation is warranted.
  3. The Investigation Proper: A thorough investigation is conducted if the preliminary inquiry suggests further examination is necessary.

Throughout this process, the director of the organization is responsible for informing all involved parties and TENK about the notification and any decisions made during and following the RI process. If there is a valid reason to interrupt the RI process, TENK must also be informed. This allows TENK to monitor the status of research integrity across Finland.

The organization’s research integrity adviser(s) should be kept informed about all decisions made during the RI process. Documents related to the RI process, including decisions and requests for statements sent to TENK, become public upon receipt under the Act on the Openness of Government Activities. However, while the documents become public once the process is concluded, TENK does not publish them.

The RI process adheres to the principles of good governance and the regulations on disqualification outlined in the Administrative Procedure Act. This process is an aspect of the self-regulation within the research community, ensuring that the rights of all concerned parties are protected through a fair, impartial, and prompt procedure that includes hearing from all involved parties. Each step of the process is meticulously documented, and rights to information are upheld.

If parties involved in the investigation do not sufficiently understand Finnish or Swedish, the process is conducted in English. It is important to note that there is no statute of limitations on research misconduct or disregard for good research practices; a notification can be submitted at any time. However, organizations may decide not to investigate allegations if they are too outdated to promote good research practices or benefit the involved parties.

Definition of research misconduct

In concluding whether there is research misconduct, the RI guidelines are decisive. Under these guidelines, violations of good research practices can be classified into violation of research integrity (an RI violation) and disregard for good research practices. Research misconduct is always an RI violation, and it refers to fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism. In their most serious forms, violation of good research practices can, also, constitute an RI violation.

Violations for good research practices are described in the RI guidelines with definitions and examples, but the list is not exhaustive. Whether a violation of good research practices constitutes an RI violation is always evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and it is not possible to provide a comprehensive and unambiguous list. Alleged violations of research integrity are investigated in the RI process. Violations of good research practices that do not constitute research misconduct are referred to as disregard for good research practices according to the established practice in Finland.

Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK

Finland has a national appeal body for research misconduct cases, TENK. Those which are signatories of the Finnish RI guidelines must also notify TENK of all cases they become aware of. Moreover, at the beginning of 2017 on TENK’s initiative, the Research Integrity Adviser system was launched. Subsequently, more than seventy organisations, including universities, universities of applied sciences and other research organisations have nominated a total of 160 research integrity advisers to, among others, increase personal guidance on research integrity in situations where research misconduct is expected. This number has grown over the years. TENK has published two Finnish Research Integrity Barometers, (2018 and 2023). The purpose of the barometers is to chart research integrity in Finnish research and to identify problematic issues.

TENK was legally established in 1991 by the Decree 1347 of 15 November 1991 of the Ministry of Education and Culture. It was established as a governmental committee. It is supported by a secretariat, which is attached to the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (TSV), offering most of TENK’s infrastructure. TENK is part of the Ministry of Education and Culture and financed by the state budget, but it is fully independent of this Ministry.

Assessment framework

TENK has issued the Finnish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity and Procedures for Handling Alleged Violations of Research Integrity in Finland, updated in 2023, in co-operation with the Finnish research community. The effectiveness of the RI guidelines is based on a voluntary commitment by the research community to adhere to the guidelines and to increase awareness of the principles of research integrity. The RI guidelines apply to all academic disciplines in Finland, and all universities, universities of applied sciences, nearly all publicly funded research institutions and entities such as the Academy of Finland, Business Finland, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry have committed to following them. Overall, the RI guidelines apply to approximately 30,000 members of the scientific and research community in Finnish universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutions. The RI guidelines hold standards of good scientific practice and fundamental principles of research integrity. It aims to serve research institutions with a model for responsible conduct of research.


TENK’s missions are (1) to promote research integrity, and (2) to function as a national appeal body in research misconduct investigation. To achieve these goals, TENK (i) issues guidelines (ii) gives training (iii) engages in national and international networking (iv) engages in policy advice (iv) monitors the RI process and gives statements of opinion in research misconduct cases (v) provides general advice (vi) compiles statistics and international monitoring of RI violations, and (vii) coordinates ethical reviews in human sciences. TENK, also, organises events for the ethics committees, people handling research misconduct allegations in research organisations, research integrity advisors, and an annual seminar, Ethics Day, for the public.


TENK is authorized by the RI guidelines to investigate and to give opinions in second instance in alleged cases of research misconduct. It does not mediate. TENK started its activities on 1 February 1992.


Besides secretary, TENK consists of 10 Board members. The Board is appointed for a 3-year term by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The appointment is based on proposals made by the Finnish research organisations. Members of the Board must represent the most important disciplines relating to research ethics and research integrity, including a legal advisor, and they must reflect diverse geographical and organizational backgrounds and different genders.

Scope and remit

Regarding general tasks, e.g. promoting research integrity, TENK’s authority applies to signatories and non-signatories. Regarding its investigatory and opinion-making authority, TENK’s scope and remit is restricted in that its authority applies to signatories of the RI guidelines only and serving as a second advisory body only. So-called suspected RI violations are investigated and eventually sanctioned in the research institution where the alleged incident has occurred. Before any requests can be submitted to TENK, the RI process on the local level must have resulted in a decision of the signatory on the alleged research misconduct. Within this scope and remit, TENK (i) is authorized to give statements of opinion on alleged research misconduct and (ii) to act on its own initiative and to initiate a further investigation without a request for a statement of opinion of this signatory. It does not impose sanctions. The party dissatisfied can be the person of the alleged of research misconduct or the instigator of the allegation. The signatory cannot call upon TENK. TENK does not handle anonymous requests. TENK will not handle alleged research misconduct cases of students on bachelor – or master level.


If an individual involved—either the person accused of misconduct or the one who reported it—is unsatisfied with the outcome or procedure of an investigation conducted by an organization under the RI guidelines, they may request a formal statement from TENK within 30 days of receiving the decision from the director. Upon receiving this request, TENK will ask all parties involved to submit their written responses. The individual who requested the statement has the opportunity to comment on these submissions. TENK then reviews the investigation to determine if it adhered to the RI guidelines. Following this review, TENK may issue a comment on whether there was a violation of responsible conduct of research and could advise the rector to start an additional investigation. TENK will send its final opinion to the requestor, the research institution, and any other relevant parties involved in the RI process.

Duty of confidentiality

The RI guidelines do not include a duty of confidentiality. This duty follows from the Administrative Procedure Act. It applies to all parties involved in the RI process in first and second instance.

Opinions and appeal

TENK comments in its opinions (only) on whether the RI investigation has been conducted in compliance with the RI guidelines and whether there has been a violation of good research practices. Appeal from TENK’s statements is not possible.

Follow-up and monitoring

Signatories must notify TENK on all alleged RI violation cases of which they have become aware. They, too, must notify TENK on its decisions in the RI process, including whether (i) it will initiate a preliminary inquiry followed by a hearing, and if so (ii) it will start an investigation proper including the appointment of an investigation team that will issue a final report addressed to the rector of the research institution. Signatories, too, must send their final decisions to TENK on whether an RI violation has occurred (as well as to the instigator of the allegation, the person alleged of an RI violation and others involved e.g. the funding agency). The monitoring after eventual measures taken against the alleged person(s), takes place by the research institution in question.


TENK annually publishes its activities in its Action Plans. Its statements of opinion and the underlying cases of research misconduct are published in anonymised and summarized form in its Annual Reports. These are published on TENK’s website are in Finnish, Swedish and English languages.



For illustrative cases, for example, see:


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For further information, see:

For questions, send an e-mail to: Kalle Videnoja, TENK’s coordinator of international affairs (

Last update: April 2024