RAISING AWARENESS OF RESEARCH INTEGRITY IS NECESSARY
The Science Europe working group on research integrity has researched prevailing policies and processes on research integrity in place in Europe. In a recent survey on integrity practices in member organisations the message is clear: it is necessary to raise awareness of research integrity.
The main objective in the survey, published last September, was to identify fitting future actions of members – who are mainly large public research organisations and funding agencies like NWO – and support their roadmap to change with good practices.
The report suggests to raise awareness of research integrity and points to the need to introduce greater levels of training and to design new measures to take into account the cross-border nature of research.
In analysing the survey responses, it became clear that member organisations take the issue of research integrity seriously. However, the survey also found that member organisations often struggle to raise awareness and achieve adequate support for research integrity policies and processes among their stakeholders.
To build awareness the report recommends that, at a minimum, policies should include promotion of good research practice, develop clear procedures for dealing with misconduct and have possible sanctions available. In addition, whistle-blower protection should be integral to research integrity policies.
Further recommendations towards greater awareness include the need for policies to be publicly accessible, downloadable and available in English. It should also be clear that these policies and procedures apply from the earliest stages of proposal writing, right through to publication of completed work.
In the survey it is hoped measures could drive behavioural change at both institutional and individual level. Initiatives are aimed to promote research excellence and to ensure an unsullied research record; continuing societal support for public investment in research; avoidance of harmful impacts and research waste; and enhanced economic advancement.
Science Europe’s member organisations, like NWO, are committed to continue to work towards improving research policies and processes to ensure maximum benefit from public funding of research. They are also keen to encourage other research organisations to place integrity at the core of the research endeavour.
One great occasion to further develop awareness is the World Conference on Research Integrity 2017, to be held in Amsterdam from the 28th of May, 2017. Speakers, workshops and networking for a greater good: real research integrity for researchers and science institutions. Registration fees for students or residents in training are reduced.