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Rules and regulations

All research conducted at Swedish higher education institutions are subject to general rules and regulations. These regulations concern public access to information and secrecy, personal integrity and ethical review, as well as working with research data.

Regulations that affect the work with research data

The Swedish Higher Education Act regulates, among other things, the freedom of research, stating that “research issues may be freely selected, research methodologies may be freely developed, and research results may be freely published” (Higher Education Act 1992:1434 Chapter 1, Section 6). The initial idea behind this principle is that the government is not to have supremacy over the research conducted at public higher education institutions. Consequently, there is academic freedom, but not administrative freedom as a result of a number of different regulations.

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Public access to information and secrecy

The Swedish principle of public access means that all Swedish citizens have a basic right to access official documents of government authorities. In research contexts, this principle is a prerequisite for maintaining the public’s confidence in research. However, not all documents are official and not all official documents are public. In research contexts, the regulation of secrecy is central to both the researcher’s and the public’s opportunity to read the research data of others, as well as to the researcher’s ability to protect the collected information. Therefore, requests for disclosure of official documents must always undergo a secrecy assessment. Read more:

On public access to information and secrecy (SND) (in Swedish)

More on the disclosure of public documents at LU (Staff pages)


Ownership and copyright

All research conducted at a university is considered a government authority activity, and the documents produced in this context therefore belong to the university, even when the research is externally funded. The research data is therefore subject to state regulations on public access and secrecy. For research projects conducted in collaboration with other higher education institutions or agencies, it is important to establish agreements to regulate cooperation and ownership of the research data. As a researcher, you are therefore not allowed to bring your research documents with you in case you, for instance, leave the University for a new position elsewhere or retire. However, you do own the intellectual property rights to your results and conclusions, which you are free to bring with you, just not the actual physical original documents (analogue or digital).

Read about the rights of ownership (Staff pages)

Agreements and conditions for participating in projects

Whenever the University enters into an agreement on an assignment or collaboration that includes conditions with regard to the rights to the results, secrecy and publication, the individual participants must approve the agreement by first signing the below agreement.

More on the conditions for participation (Staff pages)

Registration of the agreement

Agreements on research collaboration between Lund University and an external party must be registered at the department or faculty level. This rule also applies to all correspondence between Legal Services and the external party during the agreement negotiations.