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Sweden: Charges Pending for Unapproved Research by Sven R. Larson

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Sweden: Charges Pending for Unapproved Research

According to Samnytt.se, Kristina Sundquist, a Swedish physician and professor at Lund University, is under investigation by prosecutor for publishing research results that were not pre-approved by government. 

In a statistical analysis of factors common to men convicted of rape, Dr. Sundquist and her team found that a majority of them had immigrant background. Their analysis covered multiple factors, including age, psychiatric disorders, and prior criminal records. Dr. Sundquist’s team unexpectedly identified immigrant background as a common factor. Considering their findings relevant enough, they published them in Forensic Science Research, a peer-reviewed journal published by the Academy of Forensic Science.

Their article was reported in a complaint, filed by a graduate student at Dr. Sundquist’s university, to the Swedish government’s ethics review appeals board. According to the complaint, a copy of which has been obtained by Samnytt.se, Dr. Sundquist—the lead investigator of the project—had complied with Swedish law and obtained an ethics permit prior to starting the project. However, the complaint alleged, the permit did not cover the actual results subsequently published by Dr. Sundquist and her team.

Since 2004, researchers with Swedish academic institutions must obtain an ethics permit prior to any research project related to so-called sensitive data on human life in any form. The lead researcher must not only obtain a permit for the methodology, such as animal experiments, but also for expected conclusions and findings. 

The government agency has jurisdiction over the definition of “sensitive” data.

After reviewing the complaint regarding Dr. Sundquist’s reported findings, the ethics review appeals board referred her, as the lead researcher, to the state prosecutor. Charges are now pending. The ethics review appeals board has subsequently reviewed another five research papers published by Dr. Sundquist, finding that all of them report results without government preapproval.

Sven R. Larson is a political economist and author. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Roskilde University, Denmark. Originally from Sweden, he lives in America where for the past 16 years he has worked in politics and public policy. He has written several books, including Democracy or Socialism: The Fateful Question for America in 2024.

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