Principles for good scientific conduct

According to DTU’s research policy, research conducted at DTU must be of high quality and reliability.

Part of creating reliable research of a high quality requires compliance with principles for good scientific conduct. In general the principles are determined partly by a description of inappropriate conduct, defined as scientific misconduct, and partly by instructions on which conduct is desirable in connection with e.g. registration of research results and co-author statements. DTU has in 2015 signed The Danish Code of Conduct. 

What is Scientific Misconduct?

Scientific misconduct is an intentional or grossly negligent breach of the standard for scientific conduct within professional scientific research.

  • Fabrication – publication of falsified or deliberately misleading research results. The research results could thus be a mere fabrication where the results have been invented; or it could be a fabrication where research results have been manipulated or omitted causing misleading information about the researcher’s own scientific contribution and/or scientific results.
  • Plagiarism – where one takes credit for the research conducted by others, either by lacking citations or by appearing as co-author of an article although you have not contributed to the research results upon which the article is based.
  • Unethical research – where one violates ethical standards for experiments on humans or animals.

Standards for good scientific conduct

The Vancouver Protocol 1978 and the guidelines from the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD) on good scientific practice 2009, and the DCSD guidelines on co-authorship from 2004 all determine a number of standards for good scientific conduct, such as principles for preparation of applications and test ledgers to be applied in order to avoid manipulation of results and unfortunate mistakes. The legislation on copyright contains rules on copyright and citation.

DTU’s principles for good scientific practice

Employees

Principles
It is assumed that DTU’s employees are familiar with the national and international standards for good scientific practice, and that they themselves take responsibility for being in compliance with these standards. If you are co-author on articles, you are equally responsible for the entire article and the scientific results having been put forward in accordance with the principles for good scientific practice. 

Teaching
As described in DTU’s research policy, the university’s degree programmes are research based and train students in research methods, teach them to adopt a constructive and critical approach to research findings, and mature and translate new knowledge into student competencies.

This means that the teacher is responsible for addressing the subject of good scientific practice in each course, in connection with project work etc., in the same way as good laboratory practice is taught in the relevant courses.

It has turned that plagiarism of written assignments via the internet is a growing problem, and as a result DTU uses anti-plagiarism programmes to evaluate projects and assignments. Reports are handed in via CampusNet and are automatically scanned for plagiarism, cf.

PhD students
It is important that the use of good scientific practice is continued and especially that the rules regarding co-authorship and the principles for citation are discussed between the PhD student and the supervisor.

Lab books
DTU considers lab books an important tool for documenting research results. Also it is a tool that can be used to prove that results can be re-produced and that the trial has been carried out. The use of lab books is recommended as a means of self regulation in connection with research and public sector consultancy.

Students
Providing students with knowledge about good scientific practice must be a natural part of the teaching activities. Through their projects and conduct during courses, the students must show that they have understood the principles of good scientific practice.

Case processing
The provost is responsible for the principles for good scientific practice are observed at DTU. Any internal cases concerning an employee’s breach of the rules for good scientific practice are raised by the Office for Innovation and Sectors Services (AIS).

Cases regarding students’ breach of the rules are handled by DTU’s Office for Study Programmes and Student Affairs (AUS).

Breach of the rules for good scientific practice by an employee is assessed and evaluated in accordance with the standard rules that relate to personnel. 

Breach of the rules by a student is handled in accordance with DTU’s standard disciplinary rules.

Awarded degrees may be reconsidered.

If employees need assistance in connection with e.g. misuse of their results by an external party, the Office for Private and Public Sectors Services (AEM) can also be contacted.

Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD)

In Denmark cases regarding scientific misconduct are handled by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD). There are three separate committees which cover the following areas:

  • Health sciences
  • Natural, technological and production sciences, and
  • Cultural and social sciences

A case is raised on the basis of either a complaint or a request for having a case tried in order to clear someone of circulating rumours.

Each year the Committees publish an account of their decisions

For further information and assistance, please contact the Office for Private and Public Sectors Services.

Policy for trials involving humans and animals is discussed elsewhere. 

Contact

Susanne Schultz
Senior Executive Legal Officer
Office for Innovation and Sector Services
+45 45 25 10 31