Consultancy for members of the academic community with disabilities
Members of the academic community with disabilities may contact the Office in person or by electronic means on academic ethics issues. They will be served in an adapted environment at the Department for the Affairs of Disabled under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour (from 1 January 2024 at the Agency for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), 10 Švitrigailos Street, Vilnius. Specialists will be brought in when needed.
To ensure a smooth service and equal opportunities for persons with disabilities, pre-registration is required by email firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone +370 694 43992.
Meeting with the community of the General Jonas Žemaitis Lithuanian Military Academy
On 29 November 2023, Dr Julija Umbrasaitė and Dr Birutė Liekė, employees of the Office, gave a seminar to the academic community of the General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania. Dr Julija Umbrasaitė gave a presentation on academic ethics in the study process, presenting the establishment of the concept of academic ethics, the actors of the academic ethics system, and a study on the supply of contract cheating services in Lithuania. Dr Birutė Liekė talked about plagiarism and unethical authorship, introduced their types and exemplified plagiarism. She also presented international trends related to artificial intelligence (AI) in an academic environment providing more detail about the regulation of the use of generative AI engineering. She continued with the unresolved ethical issues surrounding the increasing sophistication of generative AI tools, the determinants of reliability and trustworthiness of AI tools, etc.
The seminar participants were interested in the fields of science in which contract cheating services prevail, shared their thoughts on human-artificial intelligence co-authorship and more.
Around 20 members of the academic community attended the seminar.
Cooperation on academic ethics and intellectual property protection
On 28 November 2023, the Office the State Patent Bureau signed a cooperation agreement. The aim of this cooperation is to disseminate information related to intellectual property in the context of academic ethics and copyright in a more effective way. Activities are planned within this cooperation, e.g. to jointly develop relevant information, advise members of the academic community and others on related issues on the website intelektine.lt, organise various events.
For detailed information on intellectual property and how to protect it, see: intelektine.lt.
Participation in the seminar-discussion “Ethical Issues in Citizen Science: between Enclosure and Freedom”
On 24 November 2023, Dr Birutė Liekė, Senior Analyst of the Office, participated in a seminar-discussion “Ethical Issues in Citizen Science: between Enclosure and Freedom” organised by Vytautas Magnus University. She presented the Guidelines on Research Ethics and Research Integrity in Citizen Science and participated in a roundtable discussion. The discussion focused on the regulation of academic ethics and the interaction between science and society. It also looked at how research and higher education institutions and their departments could better contribute to the promotion of citizen science. The discussion developed around whether/how the regulation of academic ethics should be improved to empower and promote citizen science. Other topical issues of academic ethics were also discussed. Other relevant issues of academic ethics were also brought to the discussion.
Around 40 members of the academic community attended the seminar-discussion.
Meeting with the community of SMK University of Applied Sciences
On 21 November 2023, Dr Birutė Liekė, an employee of the Office, gave a seminar on international trends in artificial intelligence (AI) in the area of academic ethics. She overviewed the concepts related to artificial intelligence, introduced the UNESCO Guidance for generative AI in education and research, and presented the regulation of the use of generative AI in education. In addition, Dr Birutė Liekė introduced the Final Report of the Commission’s Expert Group on AI and Data in Education and Training as well as Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI. The academic community was interested in whether the guidelines related to the ethical use of AI are going to be published and explored the effectiveness of bans on certain AI technologies.
Around 30 members of the academic community attended the seminar.
Relevance of the ethical review in research has been discussed
On 8 November 2023, representatives of the Office together with the community of the Lithuanian Center for Social Sciences delved into issues related to the review of research ethics. Dr Loreta Tauginienė, ombudswoman, presented the need and prerequisites for the review of research ethics in Lithuania, methods of depersonalisation of research data. Dr Julija Umbrasaitė, an employee of the Office, discussed good practices in research data management and the peculiarities of the research data management plan.
The meeting discussed issues of concern to the community, e.g. instances of obtaining ethical review, informed consent, open data, good practices for authorship attribution.
Around 30 members of the academic community of the Lithuanian Center for Social Sciences attended the meeting.
Academic integrity and the challenges of artificial intelligence
On 20th October 2023, the Office organised its annual conference Ethics in Academia 2023. Gabija Juzėnaitė, a representative of the Lithuanian National Union of Students, presenting the results of the academic integrity index, stressed that the most common forms of dishonest behaviour were using notes, lecture notes and other literature sources and information technology tools during distance learning, while the least common were bribing lecturers with money or gifts to get a better mark. Dr Julija Umbrasaitė, Senior Analyst of the Office, presented the results of the study The Supply of Contract Cheating Services in Lithuania, which showed that contract cheating services are more intensively advertised during the active study period (March and April 2023), with one fifth more advertisements than in the study conducted in August 2021. The study results also show that such services are offered not only to bachelor and masters students, but also to doctoral students. Dr Laura Daniusevičiūtė-Brazaitė, Associate Professor at Kaunas University of Technology, discussed the definitions of artificial intelligence, presented the capabilities of the ChatGPT tool, and provided possible solutions on what should be done in order to prevent irregularities in the application of artificial intelligence technologies.
The conference continued with a discussion with the participation of Assoc. Prof. Dr Laura Daniusevičiūtė-Brazaitė (Kaunas University of Technology), Lijana Savickienė (Vilnius University Students’ Representation), and Assoc. Prof. Dr Irma Šileikienė (Vilnius University of Applied Sciences). The participants shared their thoughts on the benefits and risks of artificial intelligence technologies in higher education. They analysed the necessary competences of academic staff and students to use artificial intelligence technologies in an ethical way and discussed the ethical principles of applying artificial intelligence technologies.
The conference concluded with a presentation by Ombudsperson Dr Loreta Tauginienė on recent developments in research ethics, such as the need to protect research, researchers, and whistleblowers. The Ombudsperson also presented UNESCO’s guidance to research and higher education institutions and the academic community on how to prepare for the ethical use of artificial intelligence technologies.
Photos from the archive of the Office
Meeting with the academic community of Kauno kolegija Higher Education Institution
On 2nd October 2023, we met with the academic community of Kauno kolegija Higher Education Institution for the second time this year. This time, the members of the community deepened their knowledge about ethics in citizen science. Office employee Dr Birutė Liekė conducted a seminar on academic ethics in citizen science and presented a vignette on ethical use of technology. Participants had to choose the technological solution that best suited the interests of citizen scientists. Office employee Dr Julija Umbrasaitė presented a vignette on institutional review. The members of the academic community had to figure out whether the situation presented requires an ethical review.
Around 50 members of the academic community attended the seminar.
Training in Lithuanian University of Health Sciences
On 20th and 27th September 2023, Office representatives held a training session on academic ethics in Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. The following topics were presented to the academic community of the University: quality of research in terms of academic ethics, good record-keeping practices, co-authorship in research, plagiarism, and its prevention. The representatives of the Office gave an overview of good practices in research data management, gave examples of research data management plans, discussed European, field, and national guidelines on ethical authorship, types of plagiarism, possible consequences, recommendations on how to avoid it, etc. Training participants discussed the scope of research, storage options for research data (e.g., long-term storage in data repositories, conversion of data formats), unethical authorship, plagiarism cases, and other relevant issues.
Around 40 members of the University’s academic community attended the training on the first day, and around 30 members attended on the second day.
Meeting with the community of Vilnius University Šiauliai Academy
On 26th September 2023, Office employees visited Vilnius University Šiauliai Academy, where they gave a presentation on the developments of ethical review to members of the community. Office employee Dr Julija Umbrasaitė presented the specificities of the preparation of a research data management plan and gave examples from foreign countries. Office employee Dr Birutė Liekė discussed the application of ethical review in research conduct and the types of informed consent, examples, and main mistakes. The ethical review of research conducted by masters students, the storage of research data, and other relevant issues were discussed with the participants.
Photo from the archive of the Office