Public access to documents and information is governed by the Finnish Act on the Openness of Government Activities. Based on the Act, plans of intent, research plans, abstracts, progress reports and review reports, for instance, are as a rule treated as documents subject to professional secrecy. Application documents must be handled and stored with due care, taking into account provisions on secrecy.
Professional secrecy means, for example, the prohibition to express confidential information. Professional secrecy applies both to Research Council of Finland staff and to members of the Research Council's decision-making bodies. If the confidentiality of the document or information continues, professional secrecy applies even after the employment or body membership has ended.
Reviewers commit to professional secrecy while they act as expert reviewers. Reviewers are not allowed to disclose any information concerning application documents or review reports to outsiders, nor are they allowed to use this confidential information to their own or anyone else’s advantage or disadvantage. In addition, they may not reveal to outsiders that they are reviewing the research plan of a particular researcher. Once the review has been completed, all application documents and any copies made of them must be destroyed. The nondisclosure obligation applies also after the review assignment has been completed.
After the funding decisions have been made, we will publish a list of the names, titles and organisations of the experts who participated in the review. Applicants will receive the review reports on their research plan after the funding decisions have been made. The report shows the names of the review panel members or the individual reviewers.
The party concerned has the right to receive information about a confidential document if it may affect or might have affected how the matter is processed, which means that the applicant, and only the applicant, has the right to receive information about the review report or review concerning themselves. A party may not disclose to third parties confidential information obtained based on the party status that concerns persons other than the party itself.
Any inquiries concerning application documents or review reports must be submitted to the Research Council's Registrar’s Office (email: kirjaamo(at)aka.fi).