A. Background & Definitions
According to the EQIPD Quality System's Implementation Strategy, the first thing that the 18.104.22.168 Process owner does is to prepare an answer to the questions why she / he has decided to implement a Quality System. It is expected that this question will be asked not only by the members of her / his research unit but also by other colleagues and collaborators. Thus, Process Owner should be prepared to have a convincing answer that justifies the efforts and time that will be invested in the implementation and maintenance of the Quality System.
In EQIPD terms, mission statement is a concise summary of why quality matters for the research unit. Please visit the EQIPD Quality System page for information on how EQIPD defines quality and examples of how different types of scientists answer the question "why quality matters".
EQIPD emphasizes not the length of the mission statement but its ability to be understood and followed by all members of the research unit.
This Toolbox item refers to one of the Core Requirements (Core Requirement 3 - "The research unit must have defined quality objectives").
B. Guidance & Expectations
The mission statement may have the following sections:
1. General statement about research data quality
- List what quality means in your environment or context.
- Prioritize where quality does matter the most.
- Define the goal of your research unit or parent organization with regard to research quality.
This statement shall briefly describe your understanding of the term research data quality. Since this understanding might vary depending on the context of your organization, you might have a different focus than others (e.g. data points being a real representation of the population, having implemented measures against bias or providing adequate training). Depending on your setting, it is advisable to see this as an exercise within a larger group, e.g.
- Within a CRO it can be done together with leadership
- In academia it can be done with all group members to get also students involved in this thinking
2. What is at stake when research quality is not maintained
- Analyze the consequences of non-compliance or inferior quality for your research unit and/or parent organization.
- Describe the biggest risks for non-compliance or inferior quality in your environment.
- List specific measures to be taken to address these risks.
The Understanding and awareness of the consequences of not maintaining research quality should be known to everyone in the research unit. It should be clear what the impact is if not every team member is working towards research data quality. This description should point out most, if not all, consequences for the research unit but also for the individual researcher. In this context it is also advisable to identify measures to protect the research unit against the negative impact.
3. Quality objectives
- Describe what exactly shall the Quality System improve in your research unit and/or parent organization.
- Define the specific, measurable and traceable goals that your research unit and/or parent organization wants to achieve with the EQIPD Quality System.
- Define indicators for each objective and describe how you will use them.
A description of improvements can be about the research process itself such as experimental design, data analysis and reporting. But it can also be about the supplementary processes such as storage of research materials, the documentation of research data or the archiving thereof. It is important to identify and describe these aspects for which your research unit has the greatest need. Finding measurable goals is difficult but advisable, since they will help to judge the effectiveness of the implemented measures over the years.
PLEASE DO NOT FORGET
- To make sure that an incentive and award/reward structure is aligned with the quality objectives (please refer to items 1.3.1-1.3.4 for more information). The following questions serve as example of how such alignment can be tested:
- Do we encourage / support publication of negative results?
- Do we recognize / reward high-quality results irrespective of the outcome (positive/negative)?
- Do we encourage people to develop and implement risk-mitigating strategies and procedures? Do we recognize these efforts?
- Do we encourage people not to rush experiments but to invest time and resources in developing/using robust methods, optimizing experimental set-ups and to conduct experiments properly according to high-quality standards (even if it takes more time than initially allocated)?
- Do we review internal processes to make sure that there is no pressure to generate positive results? If there is such pressure, do we have processes to mitigate the risks?
- When evaluating new job applications, do we pay attention to rigor of applicants’ research?
Template to create a Mission Statement based on the above guidance - 
Experiences from the pilot phase of implementing research assessment reforms for hiring professors at BIH/Charité - MERIT-PROF
Financial incentives to support re-use of open data, preregister and to publish negative (null) results - BIH QUEST examples
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