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New code tells European researchers how to behave

A voluntary code of conduct for European researchers was published today at the World Conference on Research Integrity in Singapore to help guard against fraud and malpractice.

The code was draw up by the European Science Foundation (ESF), an association of 79 science bodies across Europe. It is aimed at helping those nations that do not already have a code of good research practice, such as France or Slovakia, to draw one up. It is complementary to the existing codes of nations such as England.

The code differs from the 2005 European Charter for Researchers published by the European Commission, which provides guidance on the recruitment and career development of researchers.

The new code sets out eight key principles by which researchers, researcher organisations and funding bodies should abide, including honesty in communication, duty of care and fairness in giving credit.

Fabrication and falsification of data are serious violations of the ethos of research, and institutions that fail to deal properly with such wrongdoing are also guilty, it says.

In October, ESF members will meet to discuss how to implement the code. This could include incorporating the code into employment contracts. The ESF is also working on drawing up a code that would apply world wide.

“Science is an international enterprise with researchers continually working with colleagues in other countries. The scientists involved need to understand that they share a common set of standards. There can be no first-class research without integrity,” says Marja Makarow, chief executive of the ESF.


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