What Research Institutions Can Do to Foster Research Integrity

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In many countries attention for fostering research integrity started with a misconduct case that got a lot of media exposure. But there is an emerging consensus that questionable research practices are more harmful due to their high prevalence. QRPs have in common that they can help to make study results more exciting, more positive and more statistically significant. That makes them tempting to engage in. Research institutions have the duty to empower their research staff to steer away from QRPs and to explain how they realize that in a Research Integrity Promotion Plan. Avoiding perverse incentives in assessing researchers for career advancement is an important element in that plan. Research institutions, funding agencies and journals should make their research integrity policies as evidence-based as possible. The dilemmas and distractions researchers face are real and universal. We owe it to society to collaborate and to do our utmost best to prevent QRPs and to foster research integrity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2363-2369
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Issue number4
Early online date21 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity specifies 61 standards for good research that mirror in fact as many QRPs to be avoided (Netherlands code of conduct on research integrity ). An unique feature of the code is that it also contains a chapter on the duties of care research institutions have to empower their research staff to steer away from QRPs. This idea is not new and was already contained in the Singapore Statement () that says in responsibility 13: ‘Research institutions should create and sustain environments that encourage integrity through education, clear policies, and reasonable standards for advancement, while fostering work environments that support research integrity’. In other words: research institutions need to have a Research Integrity Promotion Plan. The Horizon 2020 funded consortium Standard Operating Procedures for Research Integrity (SOPs4RI ) will offer research institutions help to formulate this plan. Having implemented such a plan might become a contractual obligation for institutions accepting grants from the next EU framework program Horizon Europe.

FundersFunder number
HORIZON EUROPE Framework Programme


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