Ethics and academic integrity
Issues of research ethics span a broad area, from obtaining formal permits for experiments involving animals or people to issues of academic fraud and misconduct. Experiments which involve humans as subjects are rare within the Faculty of Science. Doctoral students who are or become involved in such research should be aware that they are governed by specific legislation.
Research as a phenomenon and the researcher as an authority enjoy high levels of trust in society. Academic misconduct is therefore a very serious subject. Misconduct includes things like falsifying or fabricating results, plagiarism and misleading information on people’s contributions to research. Lund University has established guidelines for handling suspected cases of misconduct. They state that “Every person who takes part in research activity at Lund University has an obligation to ensure that results are obtained, compiled and reported in compliance with the values of the research community.” Suspected misconduct is handled by the University’s “investigation committee on scientific misconduct”.
Cheating in research studies
Chapter 10 of the Higher Education Ordinance states that disciplinary measures can be taken against students who “attempt to deceive during examinations or other forms of assessment of study performance”. Such cheating can lead to a caution or suspension from studies for a limited period of time. The department is obliged to report suspected cases of cheating to the vice-chancellor, who will refer the matter to the University’s disciplinary board for investigation and decision.
Research involving animals
LU has a permit for animal experiment activities and a number of approved animal experiment premises, including some at the Faculty of Science. Each project requires approval from an animal experiment ethics review board. This applies to experiments on adult vertebrates (i.e. fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals), cyclostomes and cephalopods. Earlier developmental phases are also covered: mammalian and bird foetuses from the last third of their development and fry that feed themselves as well as all earlier developmental phases of vertebrates and cephalopods if there is a risk that suffering will be caused to them in a later phase. Using animals in research can be perceived as controversial for reasons including the impossibility of obtaining informed consent. To be allowed to conduct experiments on animals, researchers must undergo training and obtain the required permits.
The project manager/supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the required permits are in place but as a doctoral student, you should be aware of the rules and regulations. The Swedish Board of Agriculture has compiled information on animal experiments and how to apply for ethical review.
Swedish Board of Agriculture’s information on animal experiments - in Swedish only
046-222 71 82
tobias.nilsson [at] science.lu.se