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Legal Issues

Researchers’ responsibilities

Researchers and research groups are responsible for observing effective legislation and following good scientific practice.  

The publisher of the data must ensure that their publication does not violate the Act on the Openness of Government Activities, the Personal Data Act or the Copyright Act.

Further information: Open Science and Research Handbook, Ethical and legal issues

Licences and terms and conditions regarding the use of material

The terms and conditions regarding the use of the materials are determined by the creator of the material or a person to whom the creator has ceded the rights to manage the material, with the exception of cases in which the use or publication of the data is restricted by legislation (the Personal Data Act or the Act on the Openness of Government Activities) or trade secret provisions. Licences (e.g., Creative Commons) determine the rights of the creators and users of the material, thus facilitating the reuse of the data.

Further information: How to License Research Data at the Digital Curation Centre

Data protection

Research data must be sufficiently protected in terms of confidentiality (only persons with the appropriate access rights may handle the data), integrity (only persons with the appropriate access rights may edit the data) and availability.

Data protection methods include technological solutions, agreements and legal methods. Researchers should make a note of any risks and determine who will implement the protection measures and how.

Further information: Open Science and Research Handbook, Data security

Protection of confidential personal information

If the research subjects are to remain anonymous, researchers must draft a plan as to how any personal details (e.g., names or personal identity numbers) will be protected, handled and/or deleted. Research materials can be anonymised by removing any personal details or coarsening them by utilising categories.

Researchers who collect and handle materials that include identifiable information must draft a file description indicating, among other things, any anonymisation methods and measures taken to protect the data.

Further information: Anonymisation and identifiers at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive

Ethics issues

The University of Helsinki, along with many other organisations, has agreed to observe the Guidelines for the responsible conduct of research (RCR Guidelines) compiled by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (TENK).  

Further information: Research ethics at the University of Helsinki