About the document
Research integrity is inherently linked to the quality and excellence of research and science for policy. To further this agenda, the European PRINTEGER project (Promoting Integrity as an Integral Dimension of Excellence in Research) has conducted comprehensive studies on research integrity and misconduct. [i] The research shows that there is a need for increased focus and guidance on how organisations may address such issues. In order to develop guidance that is anchored beyond the PRINTEGER project consortium, a consensus panel was established with a broader range of members representing wide practical and theoretical understandings of how to strengthen integrity in research organisations. The panel consists of members from different European countries and organisations, with diversity in terms of gender, geography, functions, seniority and disciplinary background.2 The members discussed recommendations in two rounds by email (a Delphi process) and at a final 1-day meeting during the PRINTEGER Conference on Research Integrity, in Bonn in Germany, February 7th 2018. This document presents the outcome of the consensus process.
The authors of this contribution are the signatories of the statement. While drawing on their professional backgrounds, the panel members are signatories of the statement in their private capacity. The statement represents the agreement of all members.
Research—and thus research misconduct—mostly takes place in a professional and organisational setting, and the organisations are normally held to be co-responsible for the conduct of their staff. There are therefore clear expectations (in some countries, legally mandated) for organisations to systematically work to promote responsible conduct in research, strengthen research integrity and reduce the risk of research misconduct. This document emphasises that responsibility for ethical research lies with everyone who is active in research, but especially with leaders in research performing organisations. Researchers’ morals alone cannot ensure research integrity; good conditions for exercising integrity must also be created at the level of the organisation and the research system.