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Statute

APPROVED

By Resolution No. XI-1583 of 15 September 2011

of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania

 

STATUTES OF THE OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN FOR ACADEMIC ETHICS AND PROCEDURES OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

 

1. Statutes (hereinafter referred to as the “Statutes”) of the Office of Ombudsman for Academic Ethics and Procedures of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the “Office of Ombudsman”) establish the tasks, functions, rights, duties, structure and organization of work of the Office of Ombudsman.

2. The Office of Ombudsman is a state institution, which aims to ensure the functions of the Ombudsman for Academic Ethics and Procedures of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the “Ombudsman”), including considering the complaints, initiating investigations for violation of academic ethics and procedures and supervising the compliance with academic ethics provisions and procedures.

3. In its activity, the Office of Ombudsman obeys the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, international treaties of the Republic of Lithuania, the Law on Higher Education and Research of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the “Law on Higher Education and Research”), other legislation, the present Statutes and the work regulation.

4. The activity of the Office of Ombudsman is based on the principles of legitimacy, justice, impartiality, priority of rights and legal interests of the teachers and researchers of higher education institutions and research institutes as well as other members of the academic community, freedom of activity, independence, and publicity.

5. The Office of Ombudsman is a legal entity, which has a settlement account in a bank and a seal bearing the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Lithuania and the name “Office of the Ombudsman for Academic Ethics and Procedures of the Republic of Lithuania”.

6. The seat of the Office of Ombudsman is in Vilnius. The premises for the Office of Ombudsman are provided by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the “Government”).

7. The owner of the Office of Ombudsman is the state. The institution establishing the Office of Ombudsman and exercising the rights and duties of the owner is the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the “Seimas”).

8. Public announcements of the Ombudsman are made in the website of the Office of Ombudsman and the appendix Notifications (Informaciniai Pranešimai) to the Official Gazette (Valstybės Žinios).

The amendment: No. XII-1086, 17/07/2014 became null and void from 22/07/2014, announced in the Register of Legal Acts on 21/07/2014, ID 2014-10406.

9. The Ombudsman is appointed and dismissed under the procedure of Article 18 of the Law on Higher Education and Research.

10. The Ombudsman is the head of the state institution Office of Ombudsman.

11. The amendment of the Statutes of the Office of Ombudsman is prepared by the Office of Ombudsman and approved by the Seimas.

 

II. TASKS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE OMBUDSMAN

 

12. The field of activity of the Office of Ombudsman is to ensure the fulfilment of tasks assigned to the Ombudsman. Tasks of the Ombudsman:

1) Promoting the compliance of higher education and research institutions with academic ethics and procedures;

2) Supervising and controlling the compliance of higher education and research institutions with the codes of academic ethics;

3) Cooperation with higher education and research institutions in solving the problems related to violations of academic ethics and procedures;

4) Ensuring effective and confidential investigation of violations of academic ethics and procedures;

5) Supervising and controlling the fulfilment of the provisions of international treaties of the Republic of Lithuania, legislation of the European Union, laws of the Republic of Lithuania and other legislation regulating academic ethics and procedures;

6) Contributing to the quality of higher education and research by nurturing the principles of academic responsibility and ethical research practices by applying the preventive measures against plagiarism, unauthorized copying and other unauthorised use of intellectual property results developed by other people as well as counterfeiting, fraud and manipulation of research data.

13. Types of activity of the Office of Ombudsman: to ensure the fulfilment of Ombudsman’s activities specified herein. In fulfilling the assigned tasks, the Ombudsman shall:

1) Consider the complaints of the applicants and at own initiative carry out the investigations of the actions of natural and legal entities (acts and omissions), which violate or are suspected to violate the academic ethics and procedures, first of all, the principles of academic integrity, academic freedom, impartiality in assessing research, equal rights to participate in competitions, and ethical relations as well as the complaints regarding the abuse of heads of higher education and research institutions and heads of administration of departments in the field of academic ethics and procedures;

2) Give recommendations to higher education and research institutions on the development, implementation and improvement of codes of academic ethics and other measures of academic ethics;

3) Make proposals to the Seimas, the Government and other competent institutions regarding the measures to ensure the compliance with academic ethics and procedures;

4) Collect, analyse and summarize the data on violations of academic ethics and procedures, violations of the Law on Higher Education and Research or statutes and codes of academic ethics of higher education and research institutions, applied cases of administrative liability as well as other information related to the compliance with academic ethics and procedures in Lithuania known to the Ombudsman;

5) Cooperate with Lithuanian and foreign institutions, offices and organizations as well as international organizations and other natural and legal persons in analysing the cases of violation of academic ethics and procedures, use academic networks to exchange information on the violations of academic ethics, first of all, plagiarism and other violations of intellectual property rights related to unauthorized use of research or art work as well as the cases of counterfeiting, fraud and manipulation of research data;

6) In the procedure set by the legislation, promote and support the initiatives of natural and legal persons and society, which help to implement the measures for promoting and ensuring the quality of higher education and research based on the principles of academic ethics;

7) Inform the society about the activity of the Ombudsman, considered complaints or ongoing investigations as well as the decisions made by the Ombudsman in the website of the Office of Ombudsman;

Amendment of subparagraph: No. XII-1086, 17/07/2014, announced in the Register of Legal Acts on 21/07/2014, ID 2014-10406.

8) Carry out other functions necessary for fulfilment of tasks of the Office of Ombudsman as well as the functions stipulated by other legislation.

 

III. RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE OMBUDSMAN

 

14. In performing the assigned tasks and functions the Ombudsman is entitled:

1) To receive all information necessary to perform the functions from institutions, companies, organizations and members of academic community free of charge;

2) To receive information, explanations, protocols, materials, data and other documents from natural and legal persons, under procedure set by the law, to get access to the documents comprising state, official or commercial secrets and the documents containing information on personal data protected by the law necessary to fulfil the tasks of the Ombudsman stipulated in the Law on Higher Education and Research and other legislation;

3) To attend the meetings and sittings of the Seimas, the Government, councils of higher education and research institutions, senates and other management or self-government bodies as well as in the activity of commissions and work groups when discussing the issues related to the activity of the Office of Ombudsman or an investigation carried out by the Ombudsman and to express an opinion;

4) When solving the problems related to academic ethics and procedures, to engage specialists of state or municipal institutions and offices, higher education and research institutions, representatives of non-governmental organizations as well as other persons related to considered issues, implemented projects and initiatives;

5) When carrying out investigations of violation of academic ethics and procedures, to engage experts of text analysis, graphology, IT, law and other domains and to pay for their work under procedure set by the law;

6) To organize conferences, workshops and other events;

7) To publish information publications, to set up and administer a website, which would provide the information on the activity of the Office of Ombudsman, measures for ensuring academic ethics applied in Lithuania and identified violations of academic ethics and procedures.

15. The Office of Ombudsman is entitled to receive support under procedure set by the law.

16. The employees of the Office of Ombudsman must keep state, official and commercial secrets and personal data protected by law, which become known to them in carrying out their duties. When carrying out an investigation, the Office of Ombudsman must ensure the confidentiality of the information about the persons who have officially provided information necessary for the investigation, requested to be secret experts or were wrongly accused of violations of academic ethics.

17. By 1 March each year the Ombudsman must present an activity report of the Office of Ombudsman for the previous calendar year to the Seimas and publish it in the website of the Office of Ombudsman.

18. The Office of Ombudsman also has other rights and obligations stipulated by legislation.  

 

IV. STRUCTURE OF THE OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN

AND ORGANISATION OF WORK

 

19. The Office of Ombudsman is comprised of: the Ombudsman, civil servants and other employees of the Office of Ombudsman. The Board of the Seimas shall establish the maximum permitted number of positions of civil servants and employees hired under employment contracts by the Office of Ombudsman.

20. The Ombudsman shall:

1) Organise the work of the Office of Ombudsman;

2) Assume responsibility for use and storage of the seal of the Office of Ombudsman;

3) Ensure that the activity of the Office of Ombudsman complies with the requirements of law and other legislation;

4) Represent the Office of Ombudsman in foreign countries and international and regional organizations;

5) Approve the structure of the Office of Ombudsman, list of positions, work regulation of the Office of Ombudsman, which provides for the internal rules of procedure, list of positions of civil servants in the Office of Ombudsman and their job descriptions, job descriptions of other employees, categorize the positions of civil servants of the Office of Ombudsman, establish specific wage coefficients for employees hired under employment contracts;

6) Hire and dismiss civil servants and other employees of the Office of Ombudsman under procedure set by law;

7) Grant leaves to civil servants and other employees of the Office of Ombudsman and send them on missions;

8) Make decisions regarding improvement of qualification of civil servants and other employees of the Office of Ombudsman;

9) Grant incentives and impose official (disciplinary) penalties to civil servants and other employees of the Office of Ombudsman;

10) Issue orders and control their implementation within his/her competence;

11) Perform other functions stipulated by the laws and other legislation of the Republic of Lithuania.

21. Complaints shall be filed and considered and decisions regarding the filed complaints shall be made under procedure of the Law on Higher Education and Research. The Ombudsman must reply to applicants in writing.

22. Promoting self-regulation of ethics of higher education and research institutions, the Ombudsman may recommend the applicants apply to a commission for academic ethics or another dispute resolution commission of the respective higher education institution or research institute, which supervises the compliance with academic ethics and procedures.

23. Decisions of the Ombudsman may be appealed against in court under procedure set by the laws of the Republic of Lithuania.

 

V. FUNDING OF THE OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN

 

24. The Office of Ombudsman shall be funded from the state budget.

25. The Office of Ombudsman may have other legally acquired funds at its disposal.

26. The procedure and conditions of remuneration to civil servants and employees hired under employment contracts by the Office of Ombudsman shall be stipulated by the Law on Public Service of the Republic of Lithuania, Labour Code of the Republic of Lithuania and other legislation.

27. The accounting of the Office of Ombudsman shall be kept and the financial statements shall be drawn up under procedure of the laws and other legislation of the Republic of Lithuania.  

 

VI. FINAL PROVISIONS

 

28. The Office of Ombudsman shall be reorganized or wound-up under procedure set by the laws of the Republic of Lithuania.

29. The Ombudsman shall start performing their functions from their appointment under procedure set by the laws of the Republic of Lithuania.

30. The Office of Ombudsman shall start operating after starting the implementation of the decision of the Board of the Seimas on maximum permitted number of positions of civil servants and employees hired under employment contracts by the Office of Ombudsman, but not later than on 1 January 2012.