The Research Misconduct Board is one of the first national agencies tasked with investigating serious research misconduct.
Bruised by a string of high-profile scientific-misconduct cases, Sweden has laid the legislative groundwork for a government agency that will handle all allegations of serious research misconduct. The country follows in the footsteps of neighbouring Denmark, which created the world’s first such agency in 2017.
The Swedish investigative body is a positive move, which is worth emulating by other countries. It should be complemented by a commitment to genuinely supporting a culture of practice (with nationally co-ordinated professional development and symposia).
The way in which Swedish research institutes handle allegations of research misconduct has come under fire in recent years — thanks in part to the case of trachea surgeon Paolo Macchiarini. Macchiarini had been accused of misconduct relating to trials of an experimental trachea-transplant method, in which some patients died. On three occasions in 2015, the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm cleared him, but independent investigations commissioned by the Karolinska later found that he had committed misconduct. A 2016 independent commission concluded that the institute’s procedures were flawed.