The new version of the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity will be published today. Recently, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU), Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Associated Applied Research Institutes (TO2), Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (VH), and the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) worked together intensively to thoroughly amend and expand the Code of Conduct that has been in use since 2004. This amendment process, which included a public consultation, was led by a committee chaired by Prof. Keimpe Algra. The Code of Conduct will enter into force on 1 October 2018. Committee chair Prof. Keimpe Algra says, “Research integrity is essential if research is to be conducted properly. This new Code of Conduct ensures that the Netherlands keeps up with international developments regarding research integrity. I am proud that we have drawn up a Code of Conduct that applies to fundamental, applied, and practice-oriented research. This new Code of Conduct describes clear standards that researchers in many research organizations can apply to their daily practices”.
Compared with the previous version, a number of striking elements of the new Code of Conduct are as follows:
- The new Code of Conduct is written in such a way that it can apply to both public and public-private scientific and scholarly research in the Netherlands.
- The Code of Conduct specifically allows for collaboration and multidisciplinary approaches, as it takes into account the differences between different institutions. The Code of Conduct defines five principles of research integrity and 61 standards for good research practices and duties of care for the institutions.
- The institutions’ duties of care are new additions to this Code of Conduct. With these, the research organizations show that they are responsible for providing a working environment that promotes and safeguards good research practices.
- Moreover, the new Code of Conduct for Research Integrity distinguishes between research misconduct, questionable research practices, and minor shortcomings.
- The final chapter describes how an institution must address potential research misconduct.
- On the one hand, the Code of Conduct grants institutions adequate scope to deliver a balanced verdict regarding potential research misconduct, while on the other hand it explicitly states the criteria that play a role in such a scenario.
The final point clearly shows how the Code of Conduct should be viewed: as a helping hand that researchers and institutions can and will apply themselves. Committee member Prof. Lex Bouter says, “This Code of Conduct is a way for participating organizations to demonstrate that integrity is an essential part of their research practice. We want researchers to be able to work in an open environment in which they feel responsible and accountable. Science and scholarship can only develop further if people can share concerns about dilemmas and discuss errors made. This Code of Conduct is our contribution to that thought.”
The committee consists of the following members:
Prof. Keimpe Algra (chair)
Prof. Lex Bouter
Prof. Antoine Hol
Dr Jan van Kreveld
Dr Daan Andriessen
Prof. Catrien Bijleveld
Prof. Roberta D'Alessandro
Prof. Jenny Dankelman
Prof. Peter Werkhoven