Complying with research integrity principles and the law

Some European countries do have laws explicitly concerned with research integrity and/or scientific misconduct – for instance, Norway, Denmark, or Finland. They establish legal procedures addressing specifically these matters, which are then construed as different from other legal issues, even if they sometimes might appear to overlap.

There is however no consistent approach in Europe towards the relation between research integrity and other legal fields. Some national frameworks attempt to mark a clear distinction between them, for example by emphasising that general rules on copyright cannot solve debates on plagiarism in the context of science, which deserves to be regarded as a separate issue.

In some cases, nevertheless, conforming to legal standards is described as an element of ‘good research practices’: the ALLEA European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, in this sense, points out that such good research practices must include the handling of research subjects in accordance not only with ethical, but also legal provisions.

Regardless of how the relation between research integrity and law might appear to be framed in each different normative context, researchers must as a matter of fact be familiar with both the specific research integrity obligations incumbent upon them, and the general legal obligations applying to their work.