The Code of Academic Ethics

Approved by KTU Senate Resolution No. V3-S-1 of 25 January 2012

I. General provisions

  1. The Code of Academic Ethics (hereinafter – the Code) of Kaunas University of Technology (hereinafter – the University) lays down the values and moral principles and the main standards of ethical conduct to be observed in the activities of the University’s community and regulates the most important behavioural patters to be avoided which are not directly covered by the Lithuanian legislation or the University’s internal documents.
  2. The University recognises the Great Charter of European Universities, the European Charter for Researchers, the declarations and principles of the European higher education and research area, and develops and respects competences, professionalism, initiative, a sense of duty and responsibility.

II. General principles of academic ethics

The principle of academic freedom and responsibility
The principle of ethical mutual relations within the community
The principle of academic honesty
The principle of loyalty

  1. Understanding the importance of their historically inherited mission the members of the University community shall adhere to the following principles of ethics:

The principle of academic freedom and responsibility

3.1. The University’s community members can freely and openly express their opinions and critical attitudes, exchange ideas without restraint, set up research groups, select themes and techniques for research and creative work as well as higher education goals and methods. Responsible exercise by each member of the University community of his/her freedom is understood as the necessity to recognise that other community members also enjoy the same freedom.
3.2. Every member of the University community shall:
3.2.1. respect the University’s general interests and help, to the maximum extent possible, implement its goals;
3.2.2. remain impartial in decision-making;
3.2.3. while initiating, implementing and helping carry out projects, research or tests pertaining to the name of the University, make sure that they and their results comply with the University’s common interests;
3.2.4. refrain from using a voting right when the University’s self-government institutions adopt financing, incentive provision or sanction imposition decisions related to his person, family member, relative or business partner;
3.2.5. refrain from using the name of the University for political, religious or private commercial activities;
3.2.6. not restrict academic freedom through abuse of official position.
3.3. The principle of academic freedom and responsibility is contrary to:
3.3.1. intolerance for other views;
3.3.2. disregard or deliberate restriction of another’s opinion;
3.3.3. deliberate dissemination of incorrect information (untruth), and partiality;
3.3.4. participation in projects which are clearly detrimental to the University, man, nature, society or culture.

The principle of ethical mutual relations within the community

3.4. Relations between the University community members shall be based on respect, goodwill and impartiality.
3.5. The members of the University community shall not subject, through speaking, acts or academic assessment, each other to discrimination and indignities on grounds of age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, appearance, race or ethnicity, nationality, religion or convictions, family status and character of work.
3.6. Personal confidentiality shall be protected and no private information about a person shall be disclosed without his/her consent at the University.
3.7. The principle of ethical relations within the community is contrary to:
3.7.1. humiliation of other community members and excessive bureaucracy using one’s superiority (e.g. office held);
3.7.2. tolerance for behaviour that violates individual’s rights or degrades his dignity;
3.7.3. physical or psychological violence inflicted by persons with whom the subject taught, work supervision or any other direct links relate.

The principle of academic honesty

3.8. The principle of academic honesty builds on respect for intellectual property, the separation of public and private interests, justice, and the objectivity and impartiality of assessment.
3.9. Academic honesty is contrary to:
3.9.1. plagiarism, falsification or deliberate unfair interpretation of research data;
3.9.2. imposition of co-authorship misusing one’s office, also the denial or concealment of a contribution made by persons or organisations that provided assistance in research activities;
3.9.3. abuse of one’s official position or use of the University’s material resources for the purpose other than intended for personal reasons;
3.9.4. unfair competition;
3.9.5. fraud or tolerance for fraud;
3.9.6. corruption or tolerance for corruption;
3.9.7. cover-up or distortion of information intended for all;
3.9.8. acceptance or demand of direct or indirect gifts for a service or a work which must be performed according to one’s official duties;
3.9.9. assessment based on personal or ideological relations but not on the quality of the submitted work and the candidate’s professional properties.

The principle of loyalty

3.10. The principle of loyalty relies on collegiality, academic solidarity and respect for the University and its community, e.g. the priority to solve arising problems inside the University.
3.11. Community members must help implement the University’s goals.
3.12. The principle of loyalty is contrary to:
3.12.1. humiliation of a student, teacher or staff member on grounds of inappropriate conduct or violations of academic discipline;
3.12.2. public disclosure of incorrect, knowingly misleading or confidential information about the University or the members of its community;
3.12.3. undermining the University’s image otherwise.
3.13. Disclosure of information about University community members’ unlawful or negligent acts with the aim of criticising them will not be deemed to be in breach of the principle of loyalty.

III. Standards of ethics for teachers

  1. Relations between the University’s teacher and student shall be built on the principles of respect, impartiality, benevolence, non-discrimination and tolerance, academic collaboration and transparency. Since non-academic commitments are likely to give rise to a conflict of interests, they should be avoided.
  2. The teacher shall not publicise confidential information about the student:
    5.1. in the absence of special basis (student’s consent, legal basis, benefit for the student or expected damage to others), shall not disclose information about the student’s academic evaluations or penalties to third persons;
    5.2. shall not use private information about the student as training or research materials, without the student’s consent;
    5.3. shall make sure that observations and comments on a student’s written work not submitted for public defence are not available to third persons, and shall not discuss academic failures of students and teachers with other students and teachers, except where this is necessary for the evaluation of student appeals, and extensive discussion on examination or credit test results or other academic issues the objective dealing with which obviously justifies that.
  3. The evaluation of student knowledge and skills shall be fair, objective and honest complying with the goals of the subject:
    6.1. the teacher must react with integrity to the cases of student dishonesty such as plagiarism, cribbing, falsifying data, cheating on examination or credit test results, using external aid during examination or credit test, submitting another’s written work as one’s own, doing written works or performing other assignments for other students, submitting the same written work on more than one subject;
    6.2. teachers may not evaluate students’ knowledge and skills only by the highest or only by the lowest grades obviously disregarding the level of student performance;
    6.3. student evaluation cannot be related to student’s participation in political, public or any other activities not pertaining to higher education, and also to personal likes or dislikes.
  4. The standards of ethics for teachers are contrary to:
    7.1. aiming to initiate relationships with a student that are contrary to the recognised principles of ethics;
    7.2. assuming the teacher’s role in regard to a family member, close friend, relative or business partner (testing, supervising written works, etc) where such a role may be avoided;
    7.3. using another’s copyright work that is not subject to public use, also using, during academic classes, information constituting a commercial secret or other information which may be used only with the competent person’s permission without obtaining the required permission.

IV. Standards of ethics for students

  1. Students’ relations among themselves and with the University’s staff shall be based on the principles of collegiality, friendliness, honesty, tolerance and solidarity oriented to the quality of higher education and maintenance of the academic climate. A student undertakes to:
    8.1. respect others’ views, make observations in a correct manner, and with tolerance evaluate the personal qualities of others;
    8.2. refrain from discussing and publicising confidential information about other students and the members of the University community;
    8.3. refrain from degrading the name of the student inside and outside the University by breaching etiquette, drinking, drug addiction or other types of addiction and discourteous behaviour;
    8.4. save the University’s property and observe the established order in the University’s premises and territory;
    8.5. refrain from seeking and initiating relations with the instructor that are contrary to the recognised principles of ethics.
  2. Recognising truth, knowledge and skills, understanding higher education values and expecting confidence and fair evaluation of their accomplishments, the University’s students must observe the principle of academic honesty. The most severe breaches of the principle of academic honesty are the following:
    9.1. Plagiarism – presenting the ideas of another as one’s own. Typical cases of plagiarism:
    9.1.1. the text of another is presented without using citation signs, i.e. quotation marks, or without separating it from the rest of the text (e.g. in a separate paragraph or in italics);
    9.1.2. restating or citing the idea, illustrative material or data of someone else without citing the appropriate source.
    9.2. Cheating during a colloquium, credit test or examination etc. Cheating cases include:
    9.2.1. cribbing or knowingly allowing another to crib, promoting, using cribs or other unauthorised means;
    9.2.2.  presenting a written work or work results of someone else as one’s own;
    9.2.3.  submitting the same written work in more than one course;
    9.2.4.  performing some assignment for another person;
    9.2.5.  illegally obtaining and/or using examination, colloquium or other assignment sheets or tests;
    9.2.6. exercising a right of co-authorship without having made a real contribution to the work.
    9.3. Forgery / falsification. Typical cases:
    9.3.1. altering a written work that has already been evaluated by the instructor in order to demand a higher grade;
    9.3.2.  forging instructor signatures, records or any other documents;
    9.3.3.  forging the data or results of academic assignments (laboratory, course papers and other works).
    9.4. Bribery – offering or giving a remuneration for academic services (individually or together with other persons) where such remuneration is not established under the prescribed legal procedure.
    9.5. Helping another person to commit a dishonest academic act: by plagiarising, cheating or falsifying.

V. Standards of ethics for researchers

  1. Mutual relations among researchers-teachers, research fellows, students and specialists and also relations with the University’s partners shall be based on the principles of adherence to the standards on fair research, copyright and related rights oriented to the quality of research and ensuring intellectual property.
  2. A researcher undertakes to observe the following principles:
    11.1. respectability in presenting research aims and purposes, extensive reports on research methods and procedures without concealing critical evaluations with regard to possible research findings;
    11.2. reliability in performing research (assessing details accurately, cautiously and attentively) publicising results;
    11.3.  honesty in providing references and respecting other researchers’ work;
    11.4.  objectivity: findings have to be based on provable and verifiable facts, data or arguments;
    11.5. impartiality and independence of the persons concerned that represent ideological, political, economic or financial interests;
    11.6. openness in discussing work results with other researchers and contributing to public education. This openness makes it possible to appropriately publish research results and makes research data available to the interested colleagues;
    11.7. responsibility in performing research on humankind, fauna, the environment or objects of culture;
    11.8. responsibility for the future generations of researchers by paying appropriate attention to the training of young researchers.
  3. Research activities at the University are based on the ideals of fair research and truth seeking. Such principle is breached by:
    12.1. falsifying or manipulating empirical research data;
    12.2. deliberately concealing the obtained data that are at variance with the hypothesis of research;
    12.3. submitting deliberately misleading information about the methods of empirical research;
    12.4. stealing or intentionally corrupting empirical research data, software, samples of empirical materials and manuscript;
    12.5. plagiarising, i.e. submitting the text, idea or invention of another as one’s own;
    12.6. imposing co-authorship not based on a real contribution on colleagues and subordinates, also attributing co-authorship to persons who did not participate in performing research or preparing a publication;
    12.7.  partiality in reviewing research projects or results;
    12.8.  incorrect and tendentious criticism and intentional debasement of peer’s work for personal antipathy, competition, political or other reasons not pertaining to the professional character of the research work under evaluation;
    12.9. making a recommendation to award a science degree, academic title, award or the recognition of research activity in other forms based on a personal or political relation but not on efficient evaluation of the submitted work and the candidate’s professional qualities;
    12.10. using intellectual property owned by the University for personal gain in breach of the University’s interests.

VI. Final provisions

  1. Violations of the Code shall be examined by the Board for Academic Ethics in accordance with the Rules of Procedure.
  2. Sanctions for violations of the Code shall be established by the Academic Regulations.
  3. The Code and amendments thereto shall be approved at the Senate.
  4. The Code shall be made available to the public on the University’s website.