Important European framework for research integrity updated

The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity from All European Academies, ALLEA, has recently been published in a revised version

The CoC is, among other things, incorporated into Horizon Europe, and all EU-funded projects must therefore refer to this document in their applications.

– This is the most important European framework for research integrity, and it has therefore been important for the National research ethics committees (FEK) to contribute to the process, says Helene Ingierd, director of FEK.

Read FEKs input: Comments on the review of the ALLEA code

ALLEA signalled early on that they were planning for a revision with minor changes. The rationale is that it is important to have a certain continuity to ensure recognition and legitimacy. The principles of research ethics and research integrity are thus essentially fixed, while the guidelines reflect important changes in research since the last update in 2017.

– Among other things, reference is made to phenomena that affect research practice and the research system, such as open science, new criteria for evaluations, GDPR, user participation and artificial intelligence. I believe it is particularly important that the guidelines highlight the importance of a good culture to promote good and ethical research practice, continues Ingierd.

She also believes that it is essential that the document so clearly recognizes that several actors in the research system are responsible for ensuring compliance with research ethical norms.

– In light of the worsening global security situation and security threats, it is also crucial that the guidelines simultaneously recognize the importance of cooperation and non-discrimination.

Ingierd explains that ALLEA's guidelines are complemented by the national research ethics guidelines.

– This document is particularly important in international and interdisciplinary projects. In Norway, we have national subject-specific and area-specific guidelines, prepared by the research community itself, as they are represented in our independent committees. They offer elaboration on the European framework, and are a necessary supplement when research integrity assessments are to be made.

Praises the work process

FEK prepared a separate submission to ALLEA. This was sent as an attachment to a joint input from ENRIO, the European network for research integrity, of which FEK is a member. Ingierd is an ENRIO board member and also participated in the working group coordinating the joint input from ENRIO's members. All the different suggestions are commented on by the audit committee.

– I would like to commend the ALLEA working group for their thorough and open process. It is now important that the document becomes known and discussed in the research community, says Ingierd.