Event Integrity and Ethics in Research: detailed programme

Keynotes

Veronique KiemerVéronique Kiemer - Integrity and Publishing

Véronique Kiermer is Executive Editor at PLOS, where she works closely with the editorial teams of the seven PLOS journals to continually improve the communication of research. Before joining PLOS in 2015, she was Executive Editor and Director of Author and Reviewer Services for Nature Publishing Group. In that capacity she oversaw editorial and research integrity policies across the Nature journals. She started her career in publishing as the founding Chief Editor of Nature Methods and subsequently took on publishing responsibility for the title and other online products. Véronique has a PhD in molecular biology from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.

Presentation

Lennart MartensLennart Martens - When staying whole is much more important than being the sum of parts

Bio: Lennart Martens is Professor of Systems Biology at Ghent University, Group Leader of the Computational Omics and Systems Biology (CompOmics) group at VIB, and Associate Director of the Medical Biotechnology Center of VIB. Throughout his career, Dr. Martens has been a strong advocate of open science, most specifically for open code and open data, and he has been active in standardization and data dissemination efforts in multiple fields.

An interesting paradox has emerged over the past decades. As quite a bit more money has been invested in scientific research, the scientific enterprise has become much more of a burden. Indeed, science has not only become increasingly competitive, it is also ever more quantified. As a result, scientists are more closely, and more competitively, evaluated, which necessarily puts researchers under a lot of pressure. This pressure is felt at all levels of seniority, and has started to affect the core values of science, with scientific integrity as a key battlefield. Moreover, it is not just universities, funders, or publishers that police the integrity of researchers. Due to ever greater digital communications-driven transparency throughout society, and increased societal relevance of research, the spotlights (or searchlights) can also come from popular media, from (competing) peers, from dedicated websites, or from the general public at large.

In this talk we'll therefore look at the various ways in which scientific integrity is under threat on a daily basis, and how many of these ostensibly small issues can conspire to create serious problems, even if neither of these possible micro-transgressions are truly problematic on their own. Indeed, straying from scientific integrity in the strictest sense can be quite easy. We’ll also briefly discuss the basic game theory of cheating as a nice example of the different pressures and incentives that can push people towards, or away from cheating. We’ll compare this general schematic with rewards and punishments in current academic practice.

Finally, because of the increased erosion of trust in expertise in society at large, we’ll close by briefly looking at the fundamental importance of science in society, and the roles that scientific integrity, scientific thinking, and integer science communication play in this interaction between science and society.

Presentation

 

Workshops

Gert StormsGert Storms - reproducibility in research

The workshop consists of two parts. In the first part an introduction will be given to the scientific literature that gave rise to the current ‘replicability crisis’, some recent fraud cases and evidence for the wide occurrence of questionable research practices and bias in research.

In the second part, a discussion will be initiated with the participants of the workshop on their experiences with these problems, possible causes and measures to prevent inadequate replicability.

Slides

Bio: Gert Storms obtained his PhD at KULeuven and is currently appointed as senior full professor psychology of Language at the Faculty of Psychology & Educational Sciences at KULeuven. His research interests are semantic memory, categorization, research methodology and scientific integrity.

Wim PinxtenWim Pinxten - It's such a fine line between a good practice and a bad - scientific integrity from an ethical perspective

In this workshop, issues in scientific integrity are approached from a virtue ethics perspective, with a focus on good practices. Building on diverse cases, strategies for distinguishing a good practice from a bad will be identified and discussed. In addition, implications for personal and other forms of responsibility will be discussed.

Slides

Bio: Wim Pinxten (1977) is a medical ethicist with a background in religious studies (MA), law (BA), applied ethics (MA), and biomedical sciences (PhD). His research focuses on research ethics, scientific integrity, and healthcare for vulnerable populations.
He is assistant professor at Hasselt University where he lectures medical ethics for medical students.
He is member of the Research Ethics Committee of Hasselt University, of the Institutional Review Board of the Institute of Tropical Medicine, and of the Belgian Advisory Committee on Bioethics.

Lennart Martens - How to inspire scientific integrity in practice: help build actual guidelines for a research group

This workshop will have two clear goals: (i) to create a set of guidelines to help ensure research integrity in an active research group, and (ii) to examine the rules and regulations concerning minimal publication requirements for PhDs in use today, and their potential impact on research integrity.

The first goal will be achieved by a collective discussion and formulation of a set of guidelines that should address an entire research group: the PI, postdocs, PhD students and technical staff. These guidelines should foster and encourage research integrity within the research group, and should create a framework for conflict resolution when thorny issues are raised. The topics to be covered in these guidelines are: ensuring insight and input for all, how to arrange manuscript authorship, what about openness and data sharing, and cultivating honest and direct communication.
The idea is that these guidelines will actually be used in the CompOmics group, and by any other group who wishes to make use of these guidelines.

The second goal will examine the possible effect on research integrity of increasingly widely used minimal publication requirements for PhD students. While these are of course a very specific set of rules or guidelines to single out in this discussion, these regulations are typically the first and foremost requirements that an aspiring scientist (i.e., a PhD student) is confronted with. As such, the impressions received during this formative state are likely to stay with a scientist for quite some while, and deserve some investigation. Based on a group discussion, the benefits and caveats of these regulations will be explored.

Myriam MertensMyriam Mertens - Research data management: an introduction

Taking proper care of research data is increasingly seen as an essential part of good research practice. Researchers today are producing ever-larger amounts of all kinds of (digital) research data. In this ‘data deluge’, however, it can become difficult to find, understand and use the data you need, when you need them. There is also a significant risk of data loss given the inherently fragile nature of digital material. That is problematic, because research data form the evidence that is needed to assess the strength of published scientific claims, and often have value beyond the original study for which they were collected. This session will introduce participants to the topic of research data management (RDM), which encompasses a range of activities to ensure that research data are reliable, secure, sustainable, accessible and reusable. It is a subject that is currently high on the agenda of research funders, publishers, universities, and the international scientific community more generally. In this workshop, participants will learn what RDM is, why they should care about it, and how the concept of the research data lifecycle can help them to start integrating data management into their research process. They will be pointed to some basic strategies and resources for successful RDM.

Slides

Bio: Myriam Mertens works as a research data officer at Ghent University Library. Before joining the Library in June 2015, she worked as an associate research fellow at the University of Exeter (UK), where she helped develop data management guidelines and support for a psychology research group. She holds a PhD from Ghent University.