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Independent of management


Dean: Science's named persons scheme for suspected misconduct - a precaution (updated)

Two professors appointed in a new role to address suspected cases at the Faculty of Science and to give independent advice on co-authorship. Should be seen as a precaution, Dean says to the University Post (updated)

A new role of ‘named person’, independent of management, is to look into cases of scientific practice and co-authorship at the Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen.

“Beginning April 1, 2014, you may go to a ‘named person’ if, for example, you are in doubt of co-authorship rules or suspect a breach of good scientific practice,” the Science newsletter writes.

The role of ‘named person’ or ‘specially appointed’ has already been put into place at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences in the wake of the recent Penkowa case. To the University Post, Dean of the Faculty of Science John Renner Hansen explains that there are, “as far as I know, there are no specific cases at Science. The scheme has been set up as a precautionary measure”. Science has appointed two people “due to the faculty’s size and diversity in terms of research areas,” he says.

To advise on good practice, co-authorship

The Faculty has appointed Professor Kaj Sand Jensen of the Department of Biology, and Professor Bo Jellesmark Thorsen of the Department of Food and Resource Economics, as the ‘named persons’. They will address suspected cases of academic misconduct for the next two years.

“They will also advise in relation to more general questions having to do with good scientific practice, including various rules and traditions, such as those addressing co-authorship. After two years, the scheme will be evaluated and a decision will be made as to whether or not its structure and function should remain intact, ” the release writes.

“The named persons are completely independent of department and faculty management and may not notify management regarding a particular case, unless there is concrete evidence of academic misconduct, or a specific breach of good scientific practice,” it writes.

For early stage

“The purpose of the named persons is for them to serve as independent advisers or mediators who, for example, can be brought in at an early stage to address a specific academic conflict. The named persons will, among other things, be able to deal with the needs of PhD students and postdocs in relation to clarifying questions related to publication rights, shared authorship and the co-ownership of research ideas.”

To the University Post, Dean John Renner Hansen elaborates that the decision to appoint ‘named persons’ comes from top management at the University of Copenhagen, and that the Science scheme is close to the model which is already in place at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences here

Couldn’t someone just write to you in management if you have a suspicion of scientific misconduct?
“A specially appointed person is to be independent of faculty and department management. The scheme in this way allows you to go over concerns or knowledge about research irregularities without involving management at an early stage. You are right, you can always go to your manager, but here is an alternative,” John Renner Hansen says.

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