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TOPIC : Developing research integrity standard operating procedures

Topic identifier: SwafS-03-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
DeadlineModel:
Planned opening date:
single-stage
05 December 2017
Deadline: 10 April 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Science with and for Society
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Work Programme Part: Science with and for Society
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Research integrity is key to achieving excellence in research and innovation in Europe. It is widely acknowledged that research misconduct undermines the quality of research and may potentially lead to social and financial costs.

Research performing organisations (RPOs), including Higher Education Institutions, as well as research funding organisations (RFOs) play an important role in shaping the culture of scientific research. In this regard, it is important that RPOs and RFOs develop efficient mechanisms to promote the quality of science. As indicated in the first Council conclusions on research integrity[1], they are expected to "define and implement policies to promote research integrity and to prevent and address research misconduct". The implementation of these policies requires the development of standard operating procedures (SOP) and guidelines related to research integrity and the prevention of research misconduct. The crucial role of RPOs and RFOs is further underlined by the new the European code of conduct for research integrity[2]. In order to achieve the broadest embedding of research integrity and the minimisation of research misconduct, appropriate structures must be in place.

Scope:

The action aims to promote the development of Research Integrity Promotion Plans, i.e. concrete and efficient research integrity support processes and structures as "drivers" for institutional change within RPOs and RFOs. To this end, SOP and operative guidelines for effective and efficient prevention, detection and handling (including any legal and financial aspects) of research misconduct (hereafter "processes") will be developed, addressing the needs and expectations of the research funders, the research community and other relevant stakeholders.

In order to inform the development of such guidelines, discipline-related focus groups including stakeholders from research integrity structures (research integrity offices, academies, industry ethics departments, university research offices, etc.) should take place. The issue of promoting research integrity and the relation with scientific and research culture in general should also be discussed and analysed.

The outcomes of the focus groups will form the basis of a large-scale survey of researchers on issues around research integrity to be carried out by the action. This survey should be performed on the basis of the relevant literature and, in order to avoid duplication, take into account previous survey results including those conducted by the SwafS projects PRINTEGER[3], ENERI[4], DEFORM[5] and EnTIRE. Similarly, the results of EU Member State national surveys should also be used appropriately. The survey, to be conducted in all EU Member States and some key OECD countries, should cover the main scientific disciplines (including social sciences and humanities) in order to reflect the different realities and perceptions of research integrity within these fields. Ultimately, the survey results will inform the development of the research integrity support processes and structures.

The processes must be in line with the above mentioned new European code on research integrity. Overall, the action must facilitate the coherent implementation of the principles and practices contained in this code throughout the European Research Area. The elaborated SOPs/guidelines should be tested as a pilot, in selected institutions, and the feedback on their efficiency and effectiveness should be integrated into the outcomes of the project.

When designing such processes, the work shall explore, among others, factors that could have a negative influence on the culture of scientific research as well as on the means of promoting the quality of science, identifying in particular best standard practices, good laboratory practices (GLPs), conditions for reproducibility of results and standardisation of materials, encouraging the publication of negative results. The processes and structures should be comprehensive and practical, designed to address specific needs and expectations of the research community and other relevant stakeholders in the different fields. The work should also include cost-benefit analysis and suggestions as to how the proposed SOP/guidelines should be embedded in the RPOs internal procedures (e.g. acknowledging differences in size, scope of activities, budget, location, etc.)

A key element in developing the SOPs is the need to address, in a constructive manner, the roots of research misconduct (e.g. the lack of standardisation and GLPs, negative consequences of the "publish or perish" model and side effects of assessing excellence via bibliometric tools) and not to solely rely on repressive systems. In this regard and in addition to the identification of the most effective sanctions (from a short and long-term perspective), innovative ways of stimulating responsible research practices should be proposed and validated (preparatory work should be included in the survey). This should also address those researchers who have been involved in some form of misconduct ("innovative sanctions").

The scientific community and other relevant stakeholders should be involved in the co-design of research integrity plans for RPOs and RFOs. The research integrity plans should include actions such as the introduction of research integrity in Higher Education Institutions' curricula, continuing education actions on research integrity, SOP for establishing research integrity committees and a commonly accepted framework of principles and procedures dealing with issues of research misconduct.

The proposal should demonstrate how the Research Integrity Promotion Plans will contribute to the promotion of research integrity, fostering a culture of open science and open innovation. The work will also propose methods for monitoring the implementation of such integrity plans in RPOs and RFOs.

The proposed actions will closely collaborate with and make use of the results form relevant EU funded research projects under the SWAFs programme (mainly PRINTEGER, ENERI, DEFORM and projects funded via SwafS-16-2016, SwafS-21-2017, SwafS-27-2017). The currently available results of these projects are accessible through the websites already listed (see previous footnote). Any IT communication infrastructure envisioned should use the existing EU communication tool SINAPSE[6]

The close cooperation with the European Network on Research Ethics and Research Integrity (ENERI) is of particular importance due to its current activities in this area. In order to improve the impact of the expected output, cooperation with organisations of research managers and administrators such as the European Association of research managers and Administrators (EARMA) is encouraged.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation is encouraged.

A project duration of at least 36 months is recommended.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of the order of EUR 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts

Expected Impact:

Overall, the action will actively contribute to the development in the EU of a strong research integrity culture and to a coherent adherence to the highest ethics and integrity standards. The resulting support processes and structures should ultimately lead to institutional changes within RPOs and RFOs that will fill in gaps in the existing system and promote responsible research and innovation while respecting the diverse circumstances that prevail in different scientific and research fields.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

RRI
Open Science
Socio-economic science and humanities
International cooperation

[1]1 December 2015 – 14853/15 RECH 296.

[2]http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-14853-2015-INIT/en/pdf.

[3]https://printeger.eu/

[4]http://eneri.eu/

[5]https://www.deform-h2020.eu/

[6]See http://europa.eu/sinapse. SINAPSE quick guide: https://europa.eu/sinapse/sinapse/index.cfm?fuseaction=cmty.downloadguide

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.

 

2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.  

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.

 

3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme. 
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission. 


 

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Coordination and Support Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement


 

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
 

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.

 

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
16. Science with and for society WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

 

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