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The Code of Conduct for Academic Practice [1] contains six principles for proper scientific practice. The preamble to the 2014 version clearly indicates that not only do these standards apply to researchers, but the board of the university or research institute is also obligated to promote compliance to the code. An elaboration on monitoring the quality of data collection, entry, storage and processing is provided under the principle of verifiability. This principle ensures that others are able to check whether the information presented in a publication satisfies the relevant standards of quality and reliability.

Elaborations relevant to proper data management can also be found under other principles. For example, the principle of care requires proper citation of sources. The principle of reliability demands that the results of a research project are based on actually collected data. Finally, the principle of independence requires agreements with external providers of funding to always guarantee the freedom of researchers to publish their findings within a determined, reasonable period of time. In order to adhere to this principle, agreements with private parties will in future also have to include an agreement on data management and control of the research data.
 

From the preamble:

8. Academic practitioners must comply with the Code of Conduct and have a duty to promote the best practices amongst their peers. University administrative bodies are under an obligation to promote and enforce compliance with the Code. Universities have public and binding regulations governing the independent resolution of complaints regarding violations of academic integrity.

 

1.Honesty and scrupulousness

Principle

Academic practitioners are honest and forthright about their research and its

applications. Scientific and scholarly activities are performed scrupulously

and should remain unaffected by the pressure to achieve.

 

Definition

Researchers are called upon to be open and nuanced about margins of uncertainty and other limits on the interpretation and applicability of their own research and that of their fellow practitioners. Communication regarding research results should be dispassionate and realistic.
The actions of an academic practitioner are scrupulous when they are performed with the dedication and precision that a proper exercise of the profession requires.
 

Elaboration

1.1. Academic practitioners know that the ultimate aim of science is to establish facts and they therefore must present the nature and scope of their results with the greatest possible precision. Accordingly, they do not prevaricate about their findings or about attendant uncertainties. Scrupulousness also entails the presentation of doubts and contraindications.

1.2. Every academic practitioner demonstrates respect for the people and animals involved in scientific teaching and research. Research on human subjects is exclusively permitted if the persons concerned have freely given informed consent, the risks are minimal and their privacy is sufficiently safeguarded. Research involving animals is only permitted if the statutory permits have been granted and in conformity with the relevant legislation.

1.3. Accurate source references provide a clear indication of the intellectual provenance of cited and paraphrased text. This also applies to information gathered from the Internet and from anonymous sources. The texts and research results of others are never reproduced without a reference.

1.4. Authorship is acknowledged. Rules common to the academic discipline are observed.

1.8. Good mentorship is essential: students, PhD students and junior staff members occupy hierarchically subordinate positions. The responsibilities of persons involved in teaching and research at the institution are clearly defined and observed at all times.

 

2. Reliability

Principle

Every academic practitioner supports and strengthens the fundamental reliability of science and scholarship through their own conduct. Academic practitioners conduct and report on their research and transfer their knowledge through teaching and publishing in a reliable manner.

 

Definition

Academic practitioners act reliably when they perform their research in a conscientious manner and provide a full account of the research conducted. This ensures that scientific and scholarly research can be traced, verified and re-tested.

Reliability applies both to the conduct of academic practitioners and to their written work. Research publications should make mention of the statistical uncertainty of research results and the margins of error.

 

Elaboration

2.1. Research data have indeed been collected. The statistical methods used are in accordance with the methodological standards for the type of data used.

The selective omission of research results is reported and justified.

 

3.Verifiability

Principle

Presented information is verifiable. Whenever research results are published, it is

made clear what the data and conclusions are based on, from where they originate and how they can be verified.

 

Definition

Conduct is verifiable when it is possible for others to assess whether it complies with relevant standards (for instance of quality or reliability).

 

Elaboration

3.1. Research must be replicable in order to verify its accuracy. The choice of research question, the research set-up, the choice of method and the references to sources used are accurately documented in a form that allows for verification of all steps in the research process.

3.2. The quality of data collection, data input, data storage and data processing is closely guarded. All steps taken must be properly reported and their execution must be properly monitored (lab journals, progress reports, documentation of arrangements and decisions, etc.).

3.3. Raw research data are stored for at least ten years. These data are made available to other academic practitioners upon request, unless legal provisions dictate otherwise.

3.4. Raw research data are archived in such a way that they can be consulted at all times and with a minimum expense of time and effort.

 

5.Independence

Principle

Academic practitioners operate in a context of academic freedom and independence. Where restriction of that freedom cannot be avoided, this is clearly stated.

 

Definition

When presenting insights as correct and relevant, academic practitioners are independent when they only allow themselves to be influenced by others’ judgements to the degree that such judgements are based on scientific or scholarly authority. They do not allow themselves to be influenced on other grounds.


Elaboration

5.4.The option to publish academic research results is assured. Arrangements with external research funders always stipulate that the academic practitioner is at liberty to publish the results within a specified, reasonable period.

 

[1] The Code of Conduct for Academic Practice can be downloaded from the VSNU website http://www.vsnu.nl/wetenschappelijke_integriteit.html  or URL: http://www.vsnu.nl/files/documenten/Domeinen/Onderzoek/The%20Netherlands%20Code%20of%20Conduct%20for%20Academic%20Practice%202004%20(version%202014).pdf

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