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CORDIS - Résultats de la recherche de l’UE
CORDIS

Mapping Normative Frameworks for EThics and Integrity of REsearch

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - EnTIRE (Mapping Normative Frameworks for EThics and Integrity of REsearch)

Période du rapport: 2019-11-01 au 2021-10-31

Recent cases of scientists falsifying and fabricating data threaten the credibility of the scientific community and provide impetus for new actions in support of good research practices. Although the number of serious violations is limited, the changing scientific environment presents researchers with a number of challenges, such as publication pressure, declining research funds, pressure to justify public research budgets and the promotion of public-private partnerships. These challenges together can undermine the ability of researchers to make good choices and may lead to questionable research practices. In response to this situation the field of Research Ethics (RE) and Research Integrity (RI) is rapidly growing and gaining in importance. New codes, regulations and laws have been established all over Europe and world-wide. This results in an increasingly complex and fragmented regulatory landscape. Researchers are in need of up-to-date, easily understandable and useful information on relevant RE+RI regulations, how they should be applied in practice, which tools might promote good research practices, and where to look for support and advice.
The goal of EnTIRE is to develop an on-line, open source Wiki based platform, designed by and for the RE+RI community: The Embassy of Good Science (www.embassy.science). The ambition of this community-based initiative is to make the RE+RI normative framework accessible, foster active participation of the scientific community, and support the quality of science by making knowledge and experience in RE+RI available and useable. The stakeholder consultation, conducted during the first year of the project, reflected the project’s bottom-up approach and provided the basis for the design of the platform and selection and description of content. The platform was launched for the research community in June 2019 during the 6th WCRI (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvsVzqhRCNg&feature=youtu.be). Since then, users have been able to navigate a curated collection of tools which aim to support them in improving their own and their institution’s practices. The platform, gives access to: national, institutional and discipline specific guidelines on RE+RI; descriptions of cases and scenarios for teaching; freely available RE+RI educational resources; ‘themes’ in RE+RI (i.e. short articles describing relevant ethics and research integrity issues and topics), country reports, and an interactive community section. Content can be filtered and compared per discipline and country. In this way it is possible to organize a wide range of background information, examples of good practices, cases, and guidelines. A dedicated ‘Training’ section provides access to free online training materials and courses , but also gives information about opportunities to follow more traditional in-person courses on integrity issues experienced in practice. The training guide for the European Commission funded VIRT2UE train-the-trainer programme, for example, is fully presented on The Embassy.

All of these sections of the platform are open for the contributions of users who can directly add or edit content. Through a commitment to open source and open data approaches The Embassy of Good Science aims to become a dynamic, customer-tailored, up-to date, sustainable, user-friendly on-line platform. To achieve this goal an appealing, high-quality, user-friendly platform experience was created and made available at https://www.embassy.science/.
In terms of overall achieved objectives, the project has:
1) conducted and implemented the results of an in-depth stakeholder consultation across EU countries (WP2);
2) made available a collection of the relevant normative elements, including RE+RI rules and procedures (WP3), a list of educational materials, relevant institutions and experts across EU countries (WP4) and a collection of illustrative cases and scenarios (WP5);
3) developed a user-friendly platform to facilitate access to RE+RI knowledge and experience, support application in research and evaluation and foster uptake of ethical standards and responsible conduct of research (WP6);
4) fostered the further development of the RE+RI community, by establishing a dedicated Community Section for RE+RI initiatives to support collaboration, dissemination, and use of the Embassy (WP7).
The Embassy of Good Science (https://www.embassy.science) aims to improve research integrity and research ethics by offering an online, open, 'go-to' platform which brings together all of the information on research integrity and research ethics relevant for researchers and makes that information accessible, understandable and appealing. It effectively organizes and describes research integrity and research ethics guidelines, educational materials, cases, and scenarios. The Embassy is wiki-based, allowing users to add - when logged in with their ORCID researcher id - new information, and update and refine existing information. The platform also makes the research integrity and research ethics community visible and accessible in pages dedicated to relevant initiatives, news and events. The Embassy, therefore enables researchers to find useful guidance, rules and tools to conduct research responsibly. The platform empowers researchers through increased knowledge and awareness, and through the support of the research integrity and research ethics community. To date, the platform has been visited over 34,000 times and 375 people, on average, visit the Embassy daily.

The core principles that the Embassy of Good Science stands for have been described in a declaration, below, which describes the platform’s identity and aim.

Taking better care of good science
Public trust in science is crucial. As researchers, we see questionable scientific practices and external pressures. Safeguarding ethics and integrity in scientific research is more important than ever. Yet in Europe there is no central resource containing detailed information on how to perform science responsibly and with integrity. Therefore, we are strongly committed to building a new online platform for the research community.
Inspiring researchers to foster trust
We aim to improve understanding and awareness around good science. Not by naming and shaming but by taking a positive approach that will set a standard for all of us. We are convinced that integrity in research will benefit from a transparent and up-to-date platform. This will inspire current and future generations of researchers. If we as a community don’t act to foster good science, who will?
Enabling our community to take control
The new platform will offer help to anyone seeking support in handling day-to-day research practices and dilemmas. It will provide relevant rules and best-practice guidelines, cases and tools for learning and education. The ultimate goal is for the research community itself to actively participate in the platform – and take control of it. Together, we will share experiences and insights, deepening understanding and continuously contributing to the development of good science.
And that’s where you come in!
Annex 2: Declaration of the Embassy of Good Science
Annex 1: The Embassy of Good Science Logo