Mandated by the EU Commission, ALLEA – All European Academies consulted YEAR in the review process of the EU Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.

A first version of the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity was co-written by ESF – European Science Foundation, and ALLEA – All European Academies, in 2011. The document describes the principles of research integrity and presents a set of rules for responsible scientific practices to ensure the highest integrity in research work in Europe. The Code also integrates a dedicated part to the treatment of research misconduct at the institutional level in the view to maintain the overall research integrity.

The EU Commission mandated ALLEA to revisit the 2011’s version of the Code to improve it and update it with the recent developments in the research framework (e.g. Open Science) in order to make the Code a reference document in the EU projects’ Grant Agreements. ALLEA decided to consult YEAR among other stakeholders due to our active involvement in the Open Science policies, and to get the views from the early-career researchers in Europe.

The review process consists of 2 stages
Phase 1 – Aug-Sep 2016: YEAR and other consulted stakeholder organisations were requested to send their general view of the document and propose perspectives over issues that are not included or not treated adequately in the 2011’s version. Phase 2 – Nov-Dec 2016: based on the feedbacks gathered throughout Phase 1, a writing group led by ALLEA sent out a new draft version of the Code so that the consulted stakeholders can provide feedbacks on content and structure on the updated Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.

Regarding Phase 1, the general review sent by YEAR can be found here and a first blog post was written on YEAR’s website. The review was written in the perspective of a researcher reading the Code and it especially pointed out relevant issues for early-career researchers. We are very thankful to the writing group who implemented several of YEAR’s suggestions into the draft version released for Phase II.

A Stakeholders Workshop was held by ALLEA on 25 November 2016 in the EU Commission’s Covent Garden building in Brussels. YEAR was among the 29 invited experts to discuss the freshly released draft of the Code of Conduct and suggest edits. In addition, a Review of the Code of Conduct draft sent by YEAR on 8 December 2016 to ALLEA to summarize YEAR’s main inputs before the writing group proceeds to the final version planned early January 2017. The key issues pointed out by YEAR’s review are listed below:

¤ The notion of “Transfer of knowledge” shall not be limited only to research integrity but, as a responsible practice, shall apply to research knowledge in general. To this respect, YEAR strongly suggests adding the following point (inspired from the last point of Paragraph 2.2.3 in the original Code): “Researchers have the responsibility to transfer research knowledge to the next generation of researchers through mentorship and supervision.
¤ Among the list of key principles, “Openness and accessibility” may be replaced by “Responsibility in transferring knowledge, communicating research work and provide appropriate access to data to any interested parties, including the general public, within the legal framework of intellectual properties.
¤ The notion of environmental impact shall be stressed further in the document, as it is one of the pillars of Horizon 2020 and many national research programmes.
¤ Open Science practices shall be explicitly mentioned, with reference to the European Commission book “Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World“, in the light of the current and upcoming policy implementations on research dissemination.
¤ Within the chapter “Violations of Responsible Conduct of Research“, a reference could be made to any existing legal document at the European Commission level treating specific aspects of research misconduct (e.g. fabrication, falsification or plagiarism).

If you have any comments or questions, please take contact with Alexis Sevault who has coordinated YEAR’s review.