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The empirical and behavioural approach to research ethics and integrity

In order to elucidate behavioural factors that may lead researchers to breach standards of research ethics and integrity, this action should perform a literature review, map the existing knowledge on behavioural ethics and moral psychology and identify research outcomes and research needs.

Based on the results of the literature review the action should develop a casuistry-based methodology to address research misconduct. This methodology should also take into account personal and institutional responsibilities for the promotion of research integrity and relevant research and efforts on the rehabilitation and reintegration of researchers. Particular attention should be paid to issues related to the mental health and wellbeing of researchers, especially for those employed in uncertain work conditions (short-term contracts, early career researchers, students, etc.), including with respect to bullying and sexual harassment as well as other forms of gender-based violence.

Based on the results of the literature review, the action should conduct a public consultation process with all involved stakeholders and ensuring adequate representation of young students and early career researchers. The literature review and the consultation process should also incorporate real life experiences from researchers, members of ethics and misconduct committees, Integrity and Ethics officers (and the local and national level).Participation of the private sector is strongly encouraged, especially as behavioural studies on ethical conduct in industry have been widely published and discussed.

Publicly available results from relevant EU funded research projects[[Detailed information of the mentioned EU funded projects can be found on CORDIS web site (https://cordis.europa.eu/ )]] (e.g. SOP4RI, Integrity, PRO-Ethics, TRUST, PRO-RES, Path2Integirty) should be taken into account. Structured cooperation with the e-platform Embassy of Good Science[[www.embassy.science]] and the European Network ENRIO, is necessary.

In order to achieve the expected outcomes, international cooperation is strongly advised, in particular with countries which have concluded an international agreement on science and technology with the European Union. Participants from countries, which are not eligible for funding according to the General Annexes, may take part in the project as associated partners.

The action should develop:

  1. An identification of current needs in improving institutional research culture, taking into account the potential unequal impacts on people of different genders;
  2. Specific course material to enhance and supplement current efforts on research ethics and integrity that stem from (but not limited to) EU-funded projects (see https://www.embassy.science/);
  3. Guidelines to facilitate adoption of the gained knowledge in host institutions - as a supplement to existing Standard Operating procedures (see SOP4RI, https://www.sops4ri.eu/). These guidelines should also cover responsible mentoring, supervision and role modelling;
  4. Methodologies for measuring the short-, medium- and long-term impact of ethics and integrity trainings in the attitudes and behaviours of students and researchers and their ethical conduct in research and innovation; and
  5. A best practice manual, based on case studies of implemented measures that analyse what works and what does not work in various contexts, to enable practice-oriented learning.

All outputs of the action must be available on the e-platform Embassy of Good Science web site (https://www.embassy.science/)