A new Act on Research Ethics/Integrity in Norway

A new Act on Research Ethics/Integrity in Norway

The first Act on Research Integrity came into effect in 2007. It was very much focused on establishing and regulating “The National Commission for Dealing with Research Misconduct” although the main responsibility rested at the local research institutions.

The new Act came into effect 1 May 2017. The main purpose is to hold researchers and research institutions responsible for good scientific practice. In short researchers are made responsible for knowing relevant guidelines i.e. how to be a responsible researcher and how to avoid research misconduct.

Research Institutions must ensure that research at the Institution is conducted according to recognized “research ethical norms”. Each research institution is responsible for training of young or senior researchers and for ensuring that all its researchers know about relevant norms.

Research institutions must have procedures for dealing with breaches and must establish “Research Ethics/Research Integrity Committees”. The research institutions must deal with research misconduct (defined in the law as fabrication., falsification, plagiarism and other serious breaches committed intentionally or by gross negligence) and less serious breaches/questionable research practices.

The National Commission is independent and meant as a guiding resource for the institutions. The institutions must inform the National Commission about the outcome of investigations of possible research misconduct. The Commission may react in different ways or just approve. The National Commission has thus a kind of “oversight”. Further the National Commission may deal with any possible serious case on its own initiative even if the case has already been dealt with at the local level.

If a local investigation concludes with research misconduct, the alleged person may refer the case to the National Commission as an appeal body.

For more than 25 years there have been National Research Ethics/Integrity Committees covering different fields. The three committees are primarily advisory bodies and are issuing national guidelines. The Act specifies the role and responsibility for these committees.

For more information please visit the website: www.etikkom.no