If problems occur during PhD studies

The Medical Faculty has the final responsibility for PhD education within the Faculty. The Head of Department (‘Prefekt’) for the department where the PhD student is enrolled has the primary responsibility for the PhD student’s working environment and conditions.

The main supervisor has the responsibility for the educational program details. The Reference person and Reference group is a further resource for the doctoral student.

Problems with supervision

If the doctoral student experiences problems, including for example communication issues with the main supervisor, and contact with the reference person or Examiner have not helped to improve or resolve these issues, the student should contact the Head of Department or the Departments research education coordinators. If the problem does not get resolved adequately and in a timely way in the Department, then the doctoral student should contact the Faculty's Director of Doctoral studies or the University's Coordinator for doctoral studies (Umeå universitets koordinator för doktorandärenden).

Retraction of access to supervision

If a doctoral student has systematically and over time neglected their studies as specified in their individual study plans, the University's Rector can decide that the student will no longer have access to supervision as a university resource as well as other resources for doctoral education (Handläggningsordning för indragande av resurser för studerande på forskarnivå vid Umeå universitet).


Doctoral students who decide to stop their studies and unregister themselves do this using the following form (Underlag för avregistrering från utbildning på forskarnivå) which is submitted to the Faculty office. The application to be unregistered does not need to have an accompanying explanation. The Faculty's Director of Doctoral Studies can make the formal decision to accept this, and the doctoral student's own department will register the formal unregistration in Ladok.

Misconduct in research

Responsibility for proper scientific conduct and assessment of suspected misconduct is regulated by law (SFS 2019:504). Each individual researcher, including also PhD students, is responsible for prevention of research misconduct and unprofessional behavior in research. Misconduct can include fabrication, falsification, plagiarism during planning, conduct or review of scientific activity or reporting of research results.

  • Fabrication is registering or reporting 'made-up' data or results
  • Falsification is manipulation of scientific material, equipment or processes, or manipulation or changing data or results without scientific motivation in reports.
  • Plagiarism is the reuse of another person's ideas, results, or text without properly citing the source or reference or credit.

The All European Academies (ALLEA) presents recommendations and guidelines in 'The European code for research integrity/Den Europeisk kodexen för forskningens integritet), including a list with the above points. This also includes more points concerning unethical and unacceptable behavior which is not consistent with good scientific practice. Examples include the following:

  • Manipulation or unmotivated authorship
  • Self-plagiarism
  • Incomplete reporting of research results
  • Exaggerated representation of research finding's importance and practical implications

Guidelines for scientific publication for the Medical Faculty

(Riktlinjer för vetenskaplig publicering)
Swedish copyright law (Upphovsrättslagen 1960:729) forbids use of others' copyrighted material without proper referencing. When reproducing text which has been published or accepted for publication, including for example an article which will be included in a doctoral thesis, permission to reproduce this is needed from the copyright owner, which is usually a scientific journal.

Concerning other texts, including for example manuscripts and text drafts where one is not the single author, clear (written) permission from all authors to use the text is required where text use will be published in any form (including a PhD thesis).

In the case where portions of a text have already been published elsewhere, this must be made clear with included proper reference when submitting the text for consideration for publication in a scientific journal, with the understanding that text recycling may lead to problems with new publication.


Lena Åminne