The National Board for Assessment of Research Misconduct, Npof.

Founding year



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 committed 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 handled by the research institutions in question.

The Board constitutes of a chairman and 10 boardmembers. The boardmembers are researchers representing a broad experience with different scientific disciplines and a substantial experience in working with research ethics. Npof also consists 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 Administrative Court can be appealed to the Administrative Court of Appeal and then to the Supreme Administrative Court.

ENRIO member since



Npof is an governmental agency but not a part of any ministry.

Main Tasks

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.



Misconduct cases can be initiated in three different ways:

  • An entity responsible for research is obliged to submit a case to the Board if research misconduct may be suspected to have taken place.
  • An individual or other party reports an allegation.
  • The Board may take up a case of research misconduct that has otherwise come to its attention.

It is an administrative law process, meaning that the process is done in writing. The course of case management may vary, depending on the complexity of the matters addressed and how much new material the Office needs to obtain. The flowchart below illustrates the procedure adopted in most cases.

On a continuous basis, Npof’s caseworker updates the respondent (alleged researcher) on how the case is progressing.

Respondents who are invited to express their views have two to three weeks in which to write the statement.

An expert is engaged if the case requires any special in-depth investigation by an expert. The expert called in, if any, is usually given one month to investigate the matters Npof has requested.

Before Npof decides in the case, the respondent is notified of all material with a bearing on the decision, unless this clearly is unnecessary, and then also given the opportunity to comment on the material.

Five-stage assessment process

Npof’s investigation comprises five stages. If any one of these is not completed, we discontinue the process and issue no ruling on the subsequent stages.

  1. Is the research that the allegation report concerns subject to the Act?
  2. Is planning, conducting or reporting of research involved?
  3. If so, does the case involve fabrication, falsification or plagiarism?
  4. If so, is the offence a serious breach of good research practice?
  5. If so, was the offence committed intentionally or through gross negligence?


Npof only investigates research misconduct. Npof does not have the task of training, educating, disseminating information or developing guidelines on good research practice or otherwise preventing deviations from good research practice. That is the task of the research institutions.

Promoting Research Integrity

Npof is not tasked with preventing deviations from good research practice. That is the task of the research institutions in Sweden. The board’s hope, however, is to contribute to the preventive work of the research institutions through its decisions and by highlighting development needs in its annual report. We also organize a yearly conference with The Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions and participate in conferences organized by others regarding research integrity.


Karin Nylén

+46 10 457 33 20