Ethical Guidelines

The operations of our University community are defined by our values: truth, Bildung, freedom and inclusivity. Alongside our values, these ethical guidelines and the principles below constitute a foundation for decision-making and operational development at the University.
Gen­eral policies

We acknowledge and promote the universal human rights declared by the UN in all our operations, and strive to ensure that they are not violated.

In all of our operations, we defend democracy as a form of society, academic freedom and the autonomy of the University. We are committed to the joint statement released by the Council of Europe and the academic community at the Global Forum on Academic Freedom, Institutional Autonomy, and the Future of Democracy in 2019.

In all of our operations, we comply with the law and regulations as well as University guidelines. Each member of the University community is also responsible for complying with any specific regulations pertaining to their field of science or work.

As a public entity, we consider good governance and related principles of transparency important.

All members of the University community are equal. We behave in a fair and respectful manner so that each member of the University community has an equal opportunity to contribute to the University’s operations. We promote the safety, security and wellbeing of society and our environment by acting in accordance with the University's equality and diversity plan.

The University does not condone any type of inappropriate treatment, bullying or harassment. Every University supervisor and teacher is obliged to address any harassment they observe taking place in their work or study community. The University provides help in cases where an employee or student encounters inappropriate treatment in their work or studies.

We operate in accordance with the principles of sustainable development, using natural resources responsibly and continuously improving environmental efficiency. Through research and education, we increase understanding of complex global phenomena. We produce new knowledge and skills for the benefit of humanity as a whole.

As employees of the University of Helsinki, we observe the University’s values when active on social media. On social media, we act in a smart, ethical and respectful manner. The University’s guidelines for social media help establish its digital footprint in a safe and responsible manner.

University of Helsinki social media guidelines

Values in everyday work
  • Leads us to pursue new knowledge
  • Requires critical thinking
  • Promotes high-quality research and teaching
  • The starting point for research, teaching, learning and other University operations is the pursuit of truth and new knowledge.
  • We do not behave, either unintentionally or intentionally, in a way harmful to any members of the University community.
  • We do not plagiarise, falsify or misrepresent data.
  • We act in an honest and unbiased manner.
  • We do not let external parties influence our judgement or interfere with how we employ our skills or special expertise.
  • We respect one another’s right to privacy as well as the confidentiality of information, documents and data.
  • Guides us on the right path
  • Serves as our moral conscience
  • Cultivates stability and open-mindedness
  • A good moral conscience guides all of our choices.
  • We are open to new ideas and approaches.
  • We give feedback or critique in a constructive manner and without using rude language.
  • We define clear and realistic goals for our activities and communicate them to each other.
  • We avoid conflicts of interest.
  • We do not abuse our position to gain special treatment or inappropriate benefits for ourselves or others.
  • We do not hide our intentions, we tolerate disputes, and we avoid using moralistic language.
  • Encourages our creativity
  • Affirms the autonomy and responsibility of the University
  • We encourage one another to be creative.
  • We allow others to contribute to our work as well as carry it on and develop it further.
  • We adopt a flexible and open attitude to change.
  • We safeguard the University’s autonomy in a responsible manner, acknowledging the limits of the University community’s human, financial and material resources.
  • Through our actions, we have a positive impact on the University’s reputation.
  • Freedom begets responsibility, which means that as experts or leaders we provide sufficient guidance and do not delegate overly heavy workloads to others.
  • Safeguards our equality
  • Translates into diversity and respect for others
  • Supports and promotes openness and collaboration
  • Springs from democratic empowerment
  • We treat one another with tolerance, consideration and mutual respect, maintaining good relations with everyone at work and in our studies.
  • We promote diversity and non-discrimination, in terms of both personal characteristics and professional skills.
  • We respect and value diversity.
  • We take the initiative in handling disputes in an unbiased manner.
  • We support and guide one another.
  • We do not subject others to rude or disparaging comments or behaviour.
  • We do not tolerate any kind of discrimination, harassment or abuse, and we actively work to prevent them and address any instances of such behaviour observed.
  • We promote and maintain a safe and thriving work and learning environment.
  • We take care of our own mental and physical wellbeing as well as that of others.
Eth­ical prin­ciples of teach­ing and stud­ies

The purpose of the ethical principles of teaching and studies at the University of Helsinki is to make visible the values and ideals of the University community. The principles help in assessing the realisation of our shared values. As a guideline for teachers, students and other staff, the principles describe the basis and features of ethically high-quality teaching and studying.

Ethical principles of teaching and studies at the University of Helsinki

Eth­ical prin­ciples of research

The reliability and credibility of the results of scientific research require that research complies with good scientific practice. The entire scientific community and each individual researcher are responsible for complying with good scientific practice. The University of Helsinki is committed to observing the Guidelines for Good Scientific Practice and Procedures for Handling Misconduct and Fraud in Science of the Finnish National Advisory Board on Research Integrity.

Research ethics

Principles of collaboration

The ethical principles of fundraising and business collaboration at the University of Helsinki guide the operations of the University of Helsinki and the University of Helsinki Funds, as well as their staff and elected officials.

Ethical principles of business collaboration at the University of Helsinki

Ethical principles of fundraising and donating at the University of Helsinki

We are committed to honest, transparent and responsible practices in our operations. We do not condone bribery or corruption.

We are committed to identifying, disclosing and avoiding conflicts of interest that could compromise our unbiased operations. We report all required details to the relevant liability registers.

In all our activities, we comply with the relevant regulations on disqualification.

University of Helsinki Anti-Corruption Policy

The University is a long-term investor and seeks to ensure that our investments yield good returns and positive performance over a long period. We believe that a responsible company which considers environmental and social factors and follows good governance practices is a better investment in the long term.

Principles of Responsible Investment Activities

We comply with regulations pertaining to public procurement, making all procurements according to the University’s procurement regulations and guidelines.

We are committed to identifying, disclosing and avoiding conflicts of interest that could compromise our unbiased operations. We report all required details to the relevant liability registers.

In all our activities, we comply with the relevant regulations on disqualification.

We make sure that sensitive information is processed in a responsible and careful manner. We are committed to complying with the principles of data protection and information security as well as related guidelines.

Re­port­ing sus­pec­ted mis­con­duct

These ethical guidelines have been drawn up for the benefit of our University community. Each member of our community is responsible for acting in accordance with these guidelines as well as for reporting any suspected unethical behaviour or illegal activity. Cases of suspected misconduct will be processed by employing the process applicable at the University to the matter in question. When uncertain about who to report misconduct to, employees can contact their head of human resources, while students can contact Student Services and other parties can contact the legal counsels of the University.

We respect the legal protection and privacy of all parties. Reports of misconduct submitted in good faith will not result in any negative consequences to the individuals submitting them.