In view of the significant amendments to Article 17 of the Law on Research and Higher Education of the Republic of Lithuania, which entered into force on 1 December 2021, and other legal acts, the Regulations of the Office have been reworded. It should be noted that the new wording of the Regulations of the Office, which entered into force on 1 May 2022, clarifies the purpose of the Office’s activities, which includes not only the handling of complaints of allegations of academic ethics, but also the conduct of investigations of alleged administrative transgressions and the prevention of unethical conduct. The new version of the Office’s Regulations also includes the principle that the Office will be guided by good (generally accepted) scientific practices (standards of academic ethics) in the implementation of its activities. The assessment of the scope of activities has led to the identification of the Office’s main field of activity as the legislative and executive activities of central administrative authorities.
The Regulations of the Office also distinguish the tasks and responsibilities of the Office and the Ombudsperson, and expand the possibilities of their activities (e.g., to carry out scientific and other research related to academic ethics and the improvement of their own performance, which does not involve persons employed in Lithuanian research and higher education institutions, and to publish the results of such research). In the interests of legal clarity, the Office’s Regulations detail how, following a complaint, an investigation should be carried out which could give rise to a conflict between the Ombudsperson’s public and private interests; how the Ombudsperson should be granted a one-off allowance for overtime, rest, and public holidays; what criteria may be used to reopen the investigation of a complaint concerning a study-related activity; etc.
The new wording of the Regulations of the Office will help to better ensure activities related to the promotion of the formation of a culture of academic ethics, effective supervision of the implementation of research and higher education procedures, the enhancement of the Office’s cooperation at the international level, etc.
You are invited to take a closer look at the new version of the Regulations of the Office.