Someone has submitted a report with allegations against me: what happens now?
If you are reported for suspected research misconduct
When we have notified you of a report against you and your research, we make an initial assessment of whether to investigate the allegations. This is decided on the basis of statutory provisions and whether they cover the allegations or not. Accordingly, this is not something Npof itself decides upon.
If the allegations are not to be investigated, a “rejection” decision is made. If they are to be investigated, we will contact you again.
May I express my views on my case?
If the allegations are investigated, you will get a chance to answer them and comment on all the case material. We will also ask you to submit material, supporting documents and a written account of what happened (statement).
You will have two to three weeks to write the statement.
Below, we give advice on how to write it:
Why is Npof asking for my statement?
Since it is an administrative law process, the Board’s investigation is based on written materials. It is through your written account that we find out what you know and can tell us about what took place, so the statement you submit is crucial to the investigation. We need to understand your view of what happened; your role and involvement in the part of the research that is being investigated; and what documentation you can present to support your statement. No one else can give us this information.
Can I follow what happens in my case?
You will have access to all the material relevant to the case during the process and before the decision, and will also be updated on case progress. You are always welcome to contact the caseworker if you have any questions.
In some cases, an expert is appointed to assist Npof in the research area concerned. However, it is invariably Npof that decides on the matter. You will be notified if we decide to appoint an expert in the case. You will also have an opportunity to comment on the expert’s statement. The expert usually has one month to reach an assessment and write the statement.
We will tell you when the Board is going to take up your case for discussion and decision respectively. You are always welcome to contact the caseworker or office if you have any queries about your case.
Support during the process
Being accused of misconduct can be stressful and unpleasant, and many people find the investigation upsetting. The entity responsible for research, as employer, has a major responsibility to provide support during the legal process, and also after Npof has announced its decision, regardless of whether the researcher has been found guilty or innocent of the allegations.
The research principal must also ensure that an “innocent” decision is communicated to colleagues and others concerned, so that the respondent (alleged offender) feels entirely freed from suspicion.
If you are a union member, you can also contact the union to find out what support it offers.
Who else will know?
The research principal is always informed about the case. Sometimes, if the matter is unclear, investigating who is — or was at the time — the researcher principal takes time. This means that there may be some delay before the details reach us.
Otherwise, the legal publicity and secrecy rules govern who is permitted to receive information and copies of the case documents. See Chapter 24, Section 7a of the Swedish Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act.
Secrecy applies to information about an individual’s personal circumstances, unless the information can obviously be disclosed without any adverse impact on the person or anyone close to him or her. Secrecy also applies to details of an individual’s financial circumstances, if disclosing the information may be assumed to be detrimental to the person.
On the other hand, secrecy does not apply to information about who has raised the misconduct issue or the identity of the person against whom the allegation is directed.
Neither does secrecy apply to case decisions.
When a decision is made, it is published here on the site, but with the respondent’s name removed. The purpose of publishing decisions is so that others can learn from them, those responsible for research can work on preventive measures and so on.