4.2.3 Responsible conduct of research
A. Background & Definitions
This item refers to one of the Core Requirements (Core Requirement 5 - "The research unit must have a procedure to act upon concerns of potential misconduct") and is, therefore, considered as essential.
Please see Toolbox item 18.104.22.168 Research integrity for background and definitions.
B. Guidance & Expectations
The research unit (or the research organization to which the research unit belongs to) must have a uniform and robust procedure in place to deal with potential research misconduct:
- A central and known to all researchers "speak up" mechanism for research misconduct concerns must be in place.
- This could be an ombudsperson or research integrity officer or an anonymous mailbox or a confidential electronic "hotline" from where concerns are triaged to a dedicated person.
- This could be a person of trust identified in the neighboring research unit or organization and who would be in a position to deal with violations and allegations of misconduct in agreement with the national or institutional guidelines. Please see also the FAQ section.
- In general, allegations of misconduct are handled by a standing or ad hoc investigation committee taking into account the required expertise and potential conflict of interest.
- The ENRIO handbook on Recommentations for the Investigation of Research Misconduct is a good resource for practical recommendations.
It is advised that the procedure, including the speak-up (anonymous reporting, whistleblower policy) and the investigation mechanism, is described and documented in a single file in the Dossier and the research unit informed about it via Email or in group meetings.
PLEASE DO NOT FORGET
- Research misconduct is a sensitive topic and has to be handled with maximal care, fairness, and integrity
- To provide training on research integrity and document it
- To make sure that every member of the research unit knows how to report potential misconduct
- The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (ALLEA)
- WHO Code of Conduct for responsible researh
- ENERI Research Integrity & Research Ethics Manual
- ENRIO Handbook on Recommendations for the Investigation of Research Misconduct
- German Research Foundation
Training and learning resources:
- EARMA Guidance for implementation of ethics and integrity training
- Erasmus University dilemma game
- UKRIO case studies
- US ORI The research clinic
Examples and guidance on building institutional policies:
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