In 2005 the European Commission produced a researchers’ charter. This voluntary code* is supposed to set out researchers’ rights and responsibilities.
Since that time there have been about 100 signatories covering 900-odd institutions and the Commission is keen to raise awareness of the document.
But a rather strange fact emerged at a conference session on the topic today: some people are working under the code without even knowing about it. “Even the institutions that have undertaken the code, some have not undertaken awareness raising internally,” said Massimo Serpieri, of the Commission’s Directorate-General Research.
This did not impress Jean Patrick Connerade, former president of Euroscience and a man not afraid to cross swords with powerful people.
“We’ve got to be careful,” he says. “There could be a tendency for institutions to sign up for it because it sounds great and then to put this thing away in cupboards and hide it from their personnel.”
So to our researcher readers: is your institution on this list? And have you ever heard of the code?
*officially called: a Code of Conduct for the recruitment of researchers and a European Charter for Researchers.