The Directorate General for Research and Innovation at the European Commission published the Mutual Learning Exercise (MLE) on Research Integrity Report.
Research integrity is essential for excellent science and is a cornerstone of societal trust in researchers and research institutions. Advancing research integrity across Europe is therefore of the utmost importance to ensure highquality research that is relevant to society.
The aim of the Mutual Learning Exercise (MLE) on Research Integrity was to take stock of emerging challenges, current or planned policies and best practices at Member State level and beyond, and to facilitate the sharing of experience among policy-makers and national authorities on the formulation and implementation of policies promoting research integrity.
The MLE focused on four specific topics:
- Processes and structures
- Dialogue and communication
- Training and education
The group’s contributions, discussions and reflections resulted in multiple recommendations for a range of stakeholders, such as: researchers, research performing organisations (RPOs), research managers, funding agencies and policy makers. RPOs, for instance, are encouraged to define what RI means to them, why it is
important and how they implement RI in their organisations, or how they aim to meet professional standards for conducting research. They should be encouraged to indicate how they value and safeguard RI – for example, through their organisational websites.
Academics should be encouraged to devote a special section of their CV to relevant RI experience or to develop an RI skills portfolio by obtaining RI training, contributing to RI promotion/dissemination at the institutional level, or in academic and public debate, or by providing RI training in their role as research manager or supervisor.
The group’s discussions suggested that soft measures can have broad effects, such as public recognition of significant institutional efforts to foster RI.
Inspirational rather than competitive forms of incentives or acknowledgements can be implemented, such as recognition of the quality and transparency of integrity policies, activities to promote RI and to foster an environment that supports RI, and activities in the realm of training, coaching and teaching. It would be welcome if universities and other RPOs shift their focus from ‘reputation damage control’ to transparency and sharing of best practices and mutual learning.
The MLE’s recommendations include the development of platforms for deliberation, where research communities address emerging challenges in a transparent and proactive environment based on mutual learning and where
training material, good practice examples and other instruments are stored, curated and easily accessible.
RPOs need to invest in and care for their research culture. Fostering a supportive research ecosystem where responsible conduct of research is considered a joint responsibility of researchers, funding agencies and research managers is key.
Codes and guidelines are important, but due attention should also be given to the institutional research climate, which should be one of transparency, honesty, inclusiveness and fairness. Promoting integrity requires a holistic RI approach, seeing RI as an integral dimension of good research, embedded, realised and practiced in a resilient research culture. This includes establishing forms of research integrity coaching, where experienced colleagues may offer advice to individuals or teams, as RI needs a local voice and a face to become less abstract and more supportive.
Source : https://www.hceres.fr/sites/default/files/media/downloads/MLE%20RI_Final%20Report_0.pdf