Tool Guideline

Guidance for implementation of ethics and integrity training

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 17 November 2020

Stefanie Van der Burght, Jonas Åkerman, Eva Casamitjana, Karim Mahmoud, Borana Taraj, Nik Claesen / EARMA

EARMA held its 5th meeting of the ETHICS AND RESEARCH INTEGRITY OFFICER NETWORK (ERION) in Eindhoven on March 9th, 2020. The theme of the meeting was ‘Implementation of training programmes for researchers in Ethics and Research Integrity (ERI)’.

The report is a summary of the results of participant breakout sessions to identify best practices and key elements for the implementation of training programmes for researchers in ERI. It is a guidance document for research integrity and ethics practitioners in academia. It identifies the key themes that lead to good practices and essential principles for an effective and successful approach to training. The report focuses on a hands-on approach with a checklist to help create an effective ERI training programme and provides links to relevant resources that help build that training.

Any research performing organisation should offer research ethics and integrity (REI) training. With this report, we have prepared guidance for such training of researchers in the context of ensuring an awareness of possible issues and of governance frameworks which can be used to assess and manage specific situations on a case by case basis. This is a complex area, and we encourage individuals using the report to think critically about moral, ethical and legal issues and how these converge in the context of both research integrity and ethics within their jurisdiction and institution. As a consequence, the details of the training programme may vary due to a number of factors, including the organisation’s size, capacity, resources, applicable laws and regulations, and other external requirements such as those imposed by funders or policymakers and local codes of practice.

In designing a REI training programme, it is crucial to integrate the factors above in a way that facilitates promotion of compliance, high quality research, and high standards of ethics and integrity. We have not included specific directions as to what we believe is ethical or moral simply that such value judgements can be reached by researchers who have been trained and possess an understanding of the ethical and research integrity implications of their research as well as broader issues of research governance. We recognise that besides a research integrity perspective, there are numerous examples where the research itself needs to be carefully and sensitively managed with appropriate safeguards and insurance as well as governance and standards. Consequently, how to identify and manage any ethical concerns including the relevant processes, approvals and categories of risk should be part of any REI training programme.

This report has been structured in three sections, as follows:

  • Section I – introduces the key themes identified from the workshops that represent good practices and essential principles for an effective and successful approach to training in REI.
  • Section II – contains a checklist to help create an effective REI training programme.
  • Section III – provides links to other resources that were mentioned during the workshop

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