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Rotatory role-playing and role-models to enhance the research integrity culture

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Path2Integrity (Rotatory role-playing and role-models to enhance the research integrity culture)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-03-31

Path2Integrity aims to foster a positive culture of research integrity in and beyond Europe by developing and evaluating both formal and informal research integrity learning paths. This will help maximise the quality and societal impact of research and innovation. More specifically, Path2Integrity pursues two overall objectives, namely:
1. Establishing and disseminating excellent learning paths based on research integrity role-models and rotatory role-playing outlined in three handbooks.
2. Launching an awareness-raising campaign for educational organisations that presents scientific facts about research integrity as well as features research integrity role-models.
Both the handbooks and the campaign address actors directly involved in research (e.g. researchers and students) and actors indirectly involved in research (e.g. secondary school students and teachers).
Path2Integrity coordinates and supports actions to promote a research integrity culture. This work is divided into four phases: (1) mapping and analysis, (2) development, (3) implementation and dissemination and (4) effectivity. Path2Integrity successfully completed the mapping and analysis phase in December 2019 and moved on to the development phase, which is ongoing.
Major achievements of Path2Integrity during this reporting period include:
1. In September 2019, a first version of the Path2Integrity learning cards was published. The learning cards are innovative learning units that address fundamental principles of research integrity that will complement the Path2Integrity handbooks.
2. A roadmap of innovative educational methods to learn research integrity was created. Presented as an intuitive three-layer website, the materials are categorised and described to allow users to easily find information on this emerging field. The roadmap is integrated into the Path2Integrity website and will be maintained and updated regularly during the course of the project.
3. A map of secondary school and university curricula that include research integrity, research ethics or related fields was produced and published in the RIO (research ideas and outcomes) journal. Based on a keyword search conducted in Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Poland and Spain, the map provides an overview of how research integrity is being addressed in curricula, as well as how and to what extent schools and universities are currently aware of the topic. It allows possible gaps to be identified and encourages schools and universities to close these gaps. The Path2Integrity community will propose further curricula, particularly from more countries, which will be presented on the Path2Integrity website together with the results from the systematic keyword search.
4. To identify the potential for synergies and complementarities with other European projects dedicated to teaching and learning research integrity and research ethics, Path2Integrity compiled a map of these projects, which also describes the key objectives of each project.
Besides these major achievements, project members have been very active in all areas of the project. The Path2Integrity campaign is under development and will be launched in September 2020. Work on the train-the-trainer programme started recently. Preparations for the project’s central outreach event, the Path2Integrity conference, began in mid-2019 and seek to ensure all groups directly or indirectly involved in research are included. The evaluation team prepared the assessment of the Path2Integrity learning materials.
Project members have been extensively promoting Path2Integrity and gaining valuable feedback by presenting the project and its products at conferences, symposia and congresses they attended or organised. In particular, four workshops run by Path2Integrity allowed for fruitful exchange with important stakeholder groups (secondary school students, members of research ethics committees and research integrity offices, educators and policy makers) during the early development of formal and informal learning materials.
All project outputs are available free of charge on the Path2Integrity website and disseminated actively using social media and news items. Furthermore, Path2Integrity launched a gold open access special series in the RIO journal, which will remain accessible beyond the project’s lifetime and will contain all the Path2Integrity products.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic impacts Path2Integrity in two ways. Firstly, carrying out the evaluation of the learning materials will have to be postponed due to the irregular teaching conditions. This will delay some further activities. Secondly, the Path2Integrity conference planned for February 2021 will take place virtually. At this time, the adjustments required to turn the conference into a successful online event are under development.
The Path2Integrity campaign and the Path2Integrity handbooks will constitute a novel two-component approach for secondary school and university students to learn research integrity. This will foster a positive research integrity culture and improve the quality and the impact of research and innovation in society. All developed materials will be subject to a robust evaluation. They will remain downloadable without restrictions and for free in the RIO journal. By training trainers and forming a community of research integrity educators, Path2Integrity intends to initiate a permanent network, which will continue to employ Path2Integrity materials.
Although Path2Integrity develops innovative learning materials, these initially were designed for the traditional classroom in which an educator could moderate face-to-face interactions such as role-play. The COVID-19 outbreak provided the impetus for Path2Integrity to adapt its formal learning materials to train trainers virtually and for virtual classrooms in a digital learning environment. This will support educators in this difficult time by offering appealing and easy-to-use learning units for teaching research integrity.