What’s new copycat?
Creative interpretations of plagiarism in Finnish higher education
In Finland, all higher education institutions are committed to following a national policy to deal with suspected violations of good scientific practice. All suspicions of research misconduct are dealt with at the local level in the institution. If “the person alleged of misconduct or the instigator of the allegation” is dissatisfied with the decision, s/he may request a statement from the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity (2012, 36). The system has been claimed to be unique in the world. The responsibility of research misconduct investigations being on local level has led to a situation where the rector of the institution is responsible of the decisions resulting in differencesin local decisions, processes and definitions of plagiarism (Moore 2019).
The data for this conference paper consist of 13 statements requested from Finnish National Boardon Research Integrity. All requests of statements dealt with suspicions of plagiarism in students’ Master’s theses. Thematic content analysis is used to typify first the interpretations of plagiarism and the investigation processes in institutions. The main result is that plagiarism is defined or denied on the local level and there is no need to comply with national or international definitionsof plagiarism. The national guidelines can be interpreted in creative ways: administrative and legal rhetoric is used to state that a thesis older than two years is not to be investigated at all, the instigator of the suspicion is not a party in a plagiarism case and therefore documentation of the investigation process can be kept internal. Secondary source plagiarism can be seen as plagiarism,but it can also be accepted as normal thesis writing. The national guidelines are interpreted differently resulting in creative, diverse and unequal interpretations of plagiarism.
Finnish National Board on Research Integrity 2012. Responsible conduct of research andprocedures for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland. http://www.tenk.fi/en/responsible-conduct-of-research
Moore, E. Inconsistent Responses to Notifications of Suspected Plagiarism in Finnish Higher Education. J Acad Ethics 18, 1–16 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-019-09354-0
Copyright (c) 2020 Erja Moore
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).