Framework for Good Research Practice

Ghent University recognises its responsibility to ensure the highest standards of integrity, ethics, and professionalism are observed while doing research. Since September 2020 we provide this framework for good research practice which sets out general principles and guidelines to promote good practice in research across all disciplines and fields of study.

Good research practices apply throughout all phases of a research project and career, be it while doing research, preparing publications, collaborating with partners, performing assessment, undertaking societal outreach, supervising other researchers or leading a research unit.

In the conduct of all research, the university expects the general principles and standards to be understood and observed by all university employees and other researchers conducting research on university premises or under the auspices of Ghent University (hereafter referred to as researchers). The framework is relevant for researchers at all career stages (early career, postdoc, professors) and needs to be taken up as a shared responsibility.

This framework for good practice is general in nature; specific faculty guidelines may exist. Researchers employed at or affiliated with more than one institution may be expected to additionally comply with codes or guidelines at this other institution.

 

A ¦ B ¦ C ¦ D ¦ E ¦ F ¦ G ¦ H ¦ I ¦ L ¦ M ¦ N ¦ O ¦ P ¦ R ¦ S ¦ T ¦ W

Academic bibliography (Biblio)

Biblio is both the academic bibliography (overview of research outputs in the form of publications and datasets) and the institutional repository (online database with the full texts of publications) of Ghent University.

The university requires its (co-)authors to register and deposit their scholarly publications in Biblio, as well as register any associated research datasets. To deposit publications in Biblio, the author’s accepted manuscript (also known as postprint version) should be uploaded. Alternatively, or in addition, depositors can upload the publisher version (also known as version of record) if they have permission to deposit this version and make it publicly available via their institutional repository.

Read more about Academic bibliography

Related topics: affiliation, copyright, open access, research communication

Access and Benefit Sharing

Researchers accessing genetic resources need to comply with national and international Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) legislations. Genetic resources include living or dead organisms (such as plants, animals, bacteria, etc.) or parts or derivatives thereof.

ABS legislation also applies to the access of traditional knowledge (i.e. knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity).

National ABS regulation from the country of origin may stipulate requirements and conditions related to the use of (elements of) their biodiversity. Many countries are party to the Nagoya Protocol, which provides a legal framework for ABS implementation. The EU Regulation related to the Nagoya Protocol stipulates that users of genetic resources must obtain prior informed consent from the country of origin for access and use of the material.

Contractual arrangements must be made with the country of origin to share the benefits derived from the use of the genetic resources before the research starts. These requirements may range from extensive and complex to minimal and administrative. Researchers must gather and keep proof of the exercised due diligence.

Read more about Access and Benefit Sharing

Related topics: ethics in research, material transfer agreement

Affiliation

When submitting a research output for publication, researchers must use one of the following affiliation tags:

  • Ghent University
  • UGent
  • Universiteit Gent
  • Ghent University Hospital
  • UZGent
  • Universiteit Gent, Campus Kortrijk
  • Ghent University, Campus Kortrijk
  • UGent, Campus Kortrijk
  • Universiteit Gent, Ostend Science Park
  • Ghent University, Ostend Science Park
  • UGent, Ostend Science Park
  • Ghent University Global Campus, Songdo

It is insufficient to only list the faculty, department, or research unit as the author's affiliation.

Read more about Affiliation

Related topics: academic bibliography, authorship, ORCID

ALLEA code

see Research integrity

Appropriate behaviour

At Ghent University everyone is expected to interact with one another in a caring and respectful manner.

  • One specific code of conduct lays down guidelines which the university considers important in the broad context of interpersonal behaviour
  • Another code of conduct lays down the guidelines which should contribute to the elimination of discrimination and to the individual development of the mutual contacts and mutual enrichment between university members in order to promote a community of diverse backgrounds.

Related topics: leadership and supervision, psychosocial well-being

Animals in research

Ghent University believes that research using (laboratory) animals has an added value for the development of knowledge which benefits humans and animals.

This belief goes hand in hand with the requested search for alternative research methods. As far as possible, researchers should aim for a research setting without laboratory animals. When using laboratory animals, researchers should try to find ways to reduce the number of laboratory animals and the suffering and/or distress these animals experience. The use of laboratory animals for research purposes has to comply with national and EU regulations and needs to be approved by an ethics commission before the start of the research.

Read more about Animals in research

Related topics: ethics in research

Artificial intelligence

In Europe, the EU ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI have been broadly recognised as the guiding ethical principles on AI. When developing and deploying AI, researchers must take into account ethical standards on human agency and oversight, privacy and data governance, diversity, non-discrimination and fairness, accountability, transparency, and societal and environmental well-being.

Authorship

According to the ALLEA code, all authors are fully responsible for the content of a publication, unless otherwise specified.

  • All authors agree on the sequence of authorship, acknowledging that authorship itself is based on a significant contribution to the design of the research, relevant data collection, or the analysis or interpretation of the results. Authors acknowledge important work and intellectual contributions of others, including collaborators, assistants, and funders, who have influenced the reported research in appropriate form, and cite related work correctly.
  • Researchers adhere to the same criteria as those detailed above whether they publish in a subscription journal, an open access journal or in any other alternative publication form.
  • Who may be named as an author should be discussed at the outset (or at least as early as possible) of a collaboration.

To help researchers navigate this issue ten tips have been collected. Also, specific provisions have been developed by a.o. journals, funding agencies, academic organizations and the faculties at Ghent University.

Read more about Authorship

Related topics: affiliation, ethics in researchresearch integrity

AVG

see Personal data

Biobank and human body material

A biobank stores human biological material, together with data on the material and its donor(s). The collection and storage of human biological material for scientific research needs to comply with these regulatory requirements:

  • every collection and storage of human biological material for scientific research needs to obtain an ethics approval
  • all biobanks need to be registered with the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP). In collaboration with HIRUZ (UZ Gent) Ghent University has established a central biobank registry and facilitates the central registration with FAMHP. Ghent University and Ghent University Hospital researchers need to register their biobank.

When using human body material, researchers must take into account the consent and rights of the donor. The Committee for Medical Ethics of Ghent University Hospital deals with requests concerning human body material.

Read more about human body material and biobanks

Related topics: ethics in research, humans in research

BOZI

see Research funding

Clinical studies

see Human research

Codex

The Codex aggregates the many regulations and codes of conduct that apply within Ghent University: https://codex.ugent.be

Combining research with other activities

Professorial staff is expected to take up institutional and societal engagement. But beyond that, researchers might want to combine their job or fellowship at Ghent University with other paid or unpaid activities. 

  • Before taking up any kind of other professional activities or ‘secondary employment’ (as an independent professional, freelancer, employee, or otherwise), researchers should ensure that they are allowed to do so according to the regulations of Ghent University and/or their funder. In some cases, such activities need to be formally requested and approved, or registered. Researchers should in all circumstances guarantee that they are sufficiently available (time-wise) to carry out their tasks and assignments at Ghent University. They should also ensure that their secondary activities do not cause a conflict of interest.
  • Researchers – in particular PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers – who are considering doing a temporary assignment (eg. internship or secondment), should make sure that they are allowed to do so.
  • Researchers who want to combine their job or fellowship with studies, need to ensure that Ghent University and/or their funder allows them to do so.

Secondary employment regulations per (staff) category:

Related topics: conflict of interest, entrepreneurshippublic engagement

Commercialisation

Commercialisation refers to the process through which ideas or research are transformed into marketable products, capital gains, income from licences and/or revenue from the sale of new products.

Since the university in general does not have the facilities for manufacturing, selling and distributing products, commercialisation almost always involves a third party. This can be achieved either by the university licensing intellectual property to an existing company or setting up a new spin-out company dedicated to developing and exploiting the intellectual property.

All research results that can create value are to be reported to the Technology Transfer Office (Research Department) prior to publication or presentation in whichever shape or form.

Read more about Commercialisation

Related topics: copyright, dual-use, entrepreneurshipintellectual property 

Confidentiality

Confidentiality refers to the duty or explicit (contractual) obligation of a researcher or third party entrusted with information to keep that information private.

Data or information is confidential when the dissemination of the data is unlawful and/or may harm the owner, the persons concerned, the business processes or the image of the institution. Personal data and research results that can create value (in terms of commercialisation and/or social implementation) are classified as confidential information. The processing of all personal data is subject to the GDPR and the Ghent University’s Generic Code of Conduct for the processing of personal data and confidential information.

General rules on information security should always be applied, but depending on their risk level, confidential data often require extra measures to ensure their security both during and after the research project.

Researchers should obtain appropriate approval before disclosing confidential information. To formalize or enforce confidentiality, a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) can be signed. Confidentiality clauses are typically included, in for example, the peer review process.

Related topics: information security, intellectual property, non-disclosure agreement, peer review, personal data

Confidential advisors

see Psychosocial well-being

Confidential data

see Confidentiality

Conflict of interest

A conflict of interest is any kind of situation in which a researcher’s interests come together and could influence his or her professional behaviour or judgment. These interests can for instance be financial (e.g., secondary employment, research funding coming from private companies, stock ownership), non-financial (e.g., receiving product samples, media attention), or personal (e.g., family relationships, career ambitions).

Although a conflict of interest in itself is not necessarily a problem, researchers should be aware of all interests that could influence their professional behaviour or judgment. If possible, they should avoid potential problematic conflicts of interest and, if necessary, withdraw from taking up a given role.

It is the responsibility of the researchers to always be transparent about all conflicts of interest, whether of a legal, ethical, moral, financial, personal or other nature. For Life Sciences the framework of the International Committee of Medical Journal editors (ICMJE) must be followed, but potentially this framework offers guidance for all disciplines.

In all cases, the funding of the research must be mentioned.

It is necessary to be as detailed and specific as possible to describe any of the conflicts of interest.
Members of Ghent University’s staff (this does not apply to PhD scholarship recipients) are required to act according to the code of conduct regarding conflicts of interest and to declare conflicts of interest. They should also ask permission to take a (direct or indirect) capital investment or any other financial or ownership interest in a Ghent University Association spin-off or a Ghent University Hospital spin-off.

Read more about Conflict of interest

Related topics: research integrity

Copyright

Researchers are subject to copyright law, both when they make use of the work of others and when they publish their research results in an article or presentation. Researchers who want to use the work of others are required to get the explicit consent of the author(s) or the copyright holder(s) whenever applicable. In their capacity as authors, researchers may transfer their copyright to a publisher. In that case, they should be well aware of the consequences this may have (e.g. in terms of losing rights to freely disseminate and reuse the work without the publisher’s permission).

Read more about Copyright

Related topics: commercialisation, intellectual property, open access, research communication

Data management plan

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a document specifying how research data will be handled both during and after a research project, taking into account what is appropriate given the kind of data being generated or used. It is seen as a good practice in Research Data Management.

A DMP identifies key actions and strategies to ensure that research data are of a high-quality, secure, sustainable, and – to the extent possible – accessible and reusable.

Read more about Data Management Plan

Related topics: open science, research data, research data management

Dissemination

see Research communication

DORA

see Research assessment

Dual-use

Dual-use research is research involving goods, software or technology which are useful for both civil and military application. Dual-use research may be carried out at Ghent University, provided that:

  • The use of the research results for civil applications is not made impossible.
  • The research does not impact negatively on human rights.
  • Due care is taken to avoid misuse of the research at a later stage.

Ghent university does not engage in research which is useful only for military purposes. All research proposals involving involving military or defence partners, military or defence funding, or the export of dual use goods, software or technical knowledge outside the European Union must be reported to Ghent University’s Dual-use Contact Point and must comply with the university’s dual-use research policy. The Dual-use Contact Point will help researchers with the necessary ethics approval and administration (e.g. when applying for a mandatory export license when sharing dual-use technology) of the research.

Read more about Dual-use

Related topics: commercialisation, ethics in research

Ethics dumping

Ethics dumping is the intentional or unintentional export of research practices that can be deemed unethical, to low- and middle-income countries, where ethical regulations may be less stringent, or governance structures may be less well developed. It is the practice of conducting ethically sensitive research abroad in a manner that would not be tolerated from an ethical point of view in Belgium. It is appropriate to conduct research that does not necessarily needs to be conducted outside the EU for a specific reason, within the EU.

Ghent University researchers should avoid engaging in projects or co-operations that bear a risk of ethics dumping, or take measures to prevent this risk.

Read more about Ethics dumping

Related topics: ethics in research, fieldwork, humans in research, personal data

Ethics in research

Research ethics contribute to the quality of the research and its legitimation: it shows to everyone involved as well as the public that the research is conducted in a responsible manner and, as such, helps to build trust in research. Ghent University requires its researchers to comply with the highest ethical principles. Thus, the rights, dignity and welfare of anyone involved must be protected, and the research must be conducted in a transparent and independent manner.

Ghent University aims to support its researchers in identifying the ethical issues linked to specific research topics - as to ensure that the research complies with the ethical principles - and the ethics committee that can provide advice or formal ethics approval.

The following topics can be found as separate entries in this framework:

Read more about Ethics in research

Related topics: health and safety, research integrity

Entrepreneurship

Researchers might want to combine their job or fellowship with setting up their own business, and becoming an entrepreneur. Ghent University actively supports researchers who want to bring an idea or technology to the market.

  • A business idea can be based on research findings obtained at Ghent University. If this is the case, researchers can turn to Ghent University’s Technology Transfer Office to set up a spin-off company. The university’s business developers also support business development activities.
  • Researchers can also have a business idea that is not based on their research. In that case, DO! can offer support and general entrepreneurial guidance.

Read more about Entrepreneurship

Related topics: combining research with other activities, commercialisation, intellectual property

FAIR

see Research data

Feedback and evaluation

Ghent University has several formal and informal evaluation and feedback mechanisms in place. Feedback is seen as a powerful lever for appreciation, motivation and growth, and is an important mechanism in preventing misunderstandings and conflicts. It can be provided ad hoc between employees and managers or between colleagues.

Feedback can also be integrated in formal evaluation procedures. Specific career evaluation policies – with dedicated requirements, aims, procedures and timelines – apply to professorial staff, assistant academic staff and research staff. PhD students are required to submit an annual self-reflection report. Externally funded researchers are also evaluated by their funding agency. These formal evaluations can be crucial for career progression and/or for the continuation of the research project.

Read more about Feedback and Career aspects

Related topics: leadershippsychosocial well-being, research assessment, training and researcher development

Fieldwork

When conducting fieldwork or other research activities off-campus and abroad, researchers should act according to local law but should also regard Belgian and EU legislation as minimum standard. To adhere to the highest professional standards during fieldwork, researchers should also follow some ethical guidelines.

It is strongly recommended to conduct a prior risk assessment, especially when travelling to non-EU countries or to remote or potentially hazardous settings. A risk assessment aims at protecting the researchers and others involved in the fieldwork (staff, students, hired personnel, participants, …), but also the environment they will be working in.

Researchers should at all times respect local cultures, attitudes and expectations. Working with research participants in other countries, especially non-EU or developing countries, can raise specific ethical issues that require an ethics approval.

Considering the impact of the taking of physical samples is an important ethical reflection. Also, transnational cooperation is preferred to one-way extraction of samples or information.

Several of the guidelines on fieldwork also apply to other off-campus activities, such as research visits, conferences, or other (also private) activities linked to Ghent University activities abroad or in the field.

Related topics: Access and Benefit Sharing, ethics dumpingethics in researchhealth and safety, personal data

Financial management

All researchers should adhere to the terms and conditions of any grant or contract related to a project. They should also comply with the university’s guidelines regarding the purchasing or procurement of materials, equipment or other resources, and the hiring of staff. Finally, they should co-operate with any legitimate external or internal monitoring or audit of finances relating to the project.

Ghent University uses SAP as financial project management system for all types of projects and financial transactions and has introduced a front office model which will lead to better support of researchers by pooling knowledge and skills.

Read more about Financial management

Related topics: research funding, GISMO

Funding Academy

see Research funding

GDPR

see Personal data

Genetic resources

see Access and Benefit Sharing

GISMO

The Ghent University Research Information System or GISMO is available for researchers to facilitate elements of the administrative lifecycle of research (application for BOF and IOF funding, management of one’s personal profile, curation of one’s academic cv, registration of research units, registration of contracts). GISMO also acts as the database of research projects.

  • All active Ghent University researchers are obligated to indicate at least one research discipline (level 4) in their personal profile.
  • Researchers can complete and update the mandatory information on their research projects via the project forms.
  • Certain information is also made available externally via the research explorer.

Read more about GISMO

Related topics: ORCID

Hazardous substances

see Health and safety

Health and safety

Research may involve potentially hazardous situations, e.g. the use of potentially harmful equipment, substances or organisms. The safety of participants and of researchers and other personnel must be given priority at all times, and health and safety regulations must be strictly observed. Relevant to their research, researchers should be familiar with, and comply with, health and safety policy and standards and codes set forth both by the university and by their research unit.

Appropriate and thorough risk assessments must in particular be undertaken when research involves potentially harmful material or might cause harm to the environment. Appropriate steps as well as procedures adopted to remove, reduce or manage the risks effectively should be put in place.

Support and resources for risk assessments are available via the Internal Health and Safety Office and Environmental Office.

Read more about Laboratory rules and Work-related accidents

Related topics: psychosocial well-being, workplace

Humans in research

All research involving human participants, material and/or data must comply with the relevant legal and ethical requirements. Particular care must be taken with research involving vulnerable groups (such as the very elderly, children and those suffering from mental illness), and with covert studies or other projects which do not involve full disclosure to participants.

Research using humans in a medical context requires a prior approval of the Committee for Medical Ethics of Ghent University Hospital. Research using humans in a non-medical context might need a prior approval from an ethics committee as well.

Researchers engaging in clinical studies are required to register their projects with a designated contact point before applying for funding.

Related topics: biobanks and human body materialethics in research, personal data

Human rights in research

In order to prevent contributing to, or benefiting from, human rights violations, all research collaborations must be subject to a human rights impact assessment. The assessment checks whether the activities might contribute to human rights violations or whether the partner is involved in human rights violations.

Moreover, to allow Ghent University to respond to future human rights violations, cooperation agreements contain a human rights clause. This enables Ghent University to terminate a collaboration when the partner is involved in a serious or systematic violation of human rights.

A Human Rights Policy Committee advises researchers on planned collaborations.

Read more about Human rights in research

Related topics: ethics in research

Impact

Impact is defined as the (demonstrable) contribution of research. This can limit itself to academic or scientific impact (i.e. shifting understanding and advancing scientific method, theory and application across and within disciplines) but in most cases impact means the effects research has on the economy and the rest of society. The process that underlies impact is referred to as (societal) value creation, although many other concepts are widely uses such as knowledge exchange or mobilization. The activities undertaken within this process (or ‘pathways to impact’) are also varied, e.g. public engagement, science communication, action research, technology transfer etc.

Read more about Impact

Related topics: media engagement, public engagement, research assessment, research communication

Information security

Information is an asset that is extremely valuable in all business processes of Ghent University. When processing, storing, sharing and sending information, researchers should appropriately secure their data and apply the information security policy of Ghent University. Special attention should go to securing confidential, personal or sensitive information. Depending on their risk level, these data often require extra measures to ensure their security (confidentiality, integrity and availability) both during and after the research project.

Read more about Information security

Related topics: personal data

Informed consent

When research involves human participants, researchers need their informed consent for participation in the research. In an informed consent process, participants are provided with full and comprehensible information about the main aspects of the research and if applicable, the processing of personal data. They are also given clear assurance that participation is voluntary and can be terminated at all times. Afterwards, their agreement to participate is indicated by a specific form of consent, e.g. a signature on a consent form, an oral consent.

In the declaration of consent participants should be asked for their permission to: participate in the study, be re-contacted in the future (if applicable), archive their data and if necessary, publish the data and/or make the data available for future research.

If the processing of personal data within a research project is based on consent as the legal ground, researchers additionally need to ask explicit consent to collect and process the personal data from their research participants. In this case researchers need to make sure that this consent and the information provided to the participants, meet several conditions to be legal.

Read more about Informed consent

Related topics: ethics in research, humans in research, personal data

Intellectual property

Ghent University wants to protect the intellectual property (IP) rights which are the result of research performed at the university, as well as safeguard the IP rights of third parties.

Researchers are required to take all appropriate steps to protect the IP rights arising from their own work, in accordance with the General Research and Co-operation Regulations of Ghent University Association. They should consult the Technology Transfer Office when developing an appropriate IP protection and exploitation strategy, before their research results are made public through any kind of publication or presentation.

Read more about IP support

Researchers should also seek the assistance of the Technology Transfer Office if they want to provide or receive research materials to and from other institutions or corporate entities, including (but not limited to) information that needs to be kept confidential. The Technology Transfer Office will provide legal assistance with regard to the drafting and negotiating of the appropriate contracts (e.g., Non-Disclosure Agreement, Material Transfer Agreement).

Read more about Legal support

Notwithstanding the requirements regarding the protection of IP, researchers are expected to communicate and disseminate their research findings.

Related topics: commercialisation, confidentiality, copyrightmaterial transfer agreement, non-disclosure agreement, open access, open science, research communication

Internship

see Combining research with other activities

Laboratory rules

see Health and safety

Leadership and supervision

Leadership at Ghent University comprises a wide range of responsibilities, roles and commitments.

  • Senior researchers (in particular department chairs, group leaders and principal investigators) are expected to create a sound research environment in which good research practices are promoted and in which all researchers can develop their research project as well as themselves. Support is given according to five different leadership roles (leader, coach, manager, expert, and entrepreneur).

For PhD candidates, the Faculty officially appoints one or more PhD supervisors and/or a doctoral guidance committee. The mutual expectations and responsibilities of all parties involved in a PhD trajectory are made explicit in the Charter for doctoral students and supervisors.

Related topics: appropriate behaviour, feedback and evaluation, psychosocial well-being

Mailing lists

Researchers who make use of mailing lists (consisting of postal addresses or e-mail addresses) for their research (e.g. sending invitations to participate in a survey/interview) or for research activities (e.g. sending invitation to an event/conference) need to be aware that they are gathering personal data that fall within the scope of the General Data Protection Regulation (AVG/GDPR).

Read more about Mailing lists

Related topics: personal data, surveys

Material transfer agreement

A material transfer agreement (MTA) is a contract that defines proprietary protection when either providing or receiving research materials to and from other institutions or corporate entities. Research materials include, but are not limited to, cell lines, cultures, bacteria, nucleotides, proteins, transgenic animals, pharmaceuticals, or chemicals. Apart from stipulating the ownership of material, it also often includes use limitation, intellectual property protection and confidentiality clauses (cf. non-disclosure agreement). Each exchange of proprietary research material requires an MTA. Other exchanges also often benefit from a material transfer agreement.

Read more about Material transfer agreement

Related topics: Access and Benefit Sharingethics in researchintellectual property, non-disclosure agreement

Media engagement

Working with the media can help to inform and educate different groups, inspire people about new discoveries or explain poorly understood issues. To be effective it requires careful planning and consideration. Researchers looking for advise when drafting a press release or planning a media strategy can turn to the Press Office.

Read more about Media engagement (in Dutch)

Related topics: affiliation, public engagement, research communication

Military application of research

see Dual-use

Nagoya Protocol

see Access and Benefit Sharing

Non-disclosure agreement

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a contract that protects confidential data, proprietary information and/or intellectual property. It is typically signed when receiving, providing or exchanging information that needs to be kept confidential, or can be part of a project or consortium contract. It can be signed between two (or more) institutions or corporate businesses (most often a mutually agreed non-disclosure agreement). Another type of non-disclosure agreement can exist between an employer and its employee.

Read more about Non-disclosure agreement

Related topics: confidentiality, intellectual property, material transfer agreement

Off-campus activities

see Fieldwork

Ombudspersons

see Psychosocial well-being

ON/OFF campus working

see Workplace

Open Access

Open Access refers to the practice of making research results freely available online to readers inside and outside the research community in order to maximise the impact of the research. Researchers can publish directly in an Open Access journal with an Open Access publisher or via an Open Access platform, or they can deposit a full text version of a publication in a repository such as Biblio and make it publicly accessible (so-called self-archiving).

Ghent University requires researchers to deposit a full text version of their scholarly publications in Biblio, and makes these full texts publicly accessible, sometimes after an embargo period and provided there is permission from the copyright holder(s).

Read more about Open Access

Related topics: academic bibliography, impact, open science

Open Science

Ghent University is committed to fostering and supporting Open Science. Open Science encompasses a wide variety of practices, including ensuring that research outputs (such as publications and research datasets) and educational resources are accessible and reusable, but also engaging non-professional scholars in research (for example through citizen science).

Many research funding agencies strongly encourage or even require beneficiaries to implement open science practices, notably in terms of open access to publications and FAIRness of data resulting from the research funded by these agencies.

Researchers who engage in Open Science activities should take into consideration and balance their practices with requirements regarding e.g. Intellectual Property and the protection of personal data.

Read more about Open Science

Related topics: open accesspublic engagement, research data

ORCID

ORCID refers to Open Researcher and Contributor iD, a unique and persistent identifier that unambiguously identifies individual researchers and distinguishes them from other researchers. An ORCID iD allows attribution of research outputs (such as publications and datasets) to the correct person.

All active researchers at Ghent University must register for an ORCID and include it in their grant proposals (Special Research Fund, Industrial Research Fund, and Research Foundation Flanders) and in their research outputs wherever possible.

Due to the wide range of potential uses of the ORCID, it is advisable to create an ORCID before the start of research. The possibility to create and connect an ORCID is available via GISMO. The ORCID profile must be set to ‘public’ in order for it to be consulted during assessment procedures.

Read more about ORCID

Related topics: GISMO, open science, research communication

Peer review

Peer review (also known as refereeing) is the process of subjecting an author's scholarly work (e.g. publications, manuscripts, grant applications) to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field.

Ghent University encourages researchers not only to publish in high-quality peer reviewed journals, but also to act as peer reviewers for grant applications, journals, other forms of publications and ethical reviews. Peer review must be carried out to the highest professional standards and in accordance with the guidelines of the organization for which the work is being carried out. The confidentiality of materials being reviewed should be maintained at all times.

Related topics: confidentiality, conflict of interest, research assessment, research communication, research integrity

Personal data

In research projects where personal data are collected and/or processed researchers must meet the requirements of the European privacy legislation, i.e. the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, known as AVG in Dutch), and the Generic Code of Conduct for the processing of personal data and confidential information of Ghent University.

Read more about Personal data

Related topics: confidentiality, ethics in research, humans in research, mailing lists, research data, surveys

Privacy

see Personal data

Psychosocial well-being

Ghent University highly values the good mental health and psychosocial well-being of all its researchers. Trustpunt is the university’s dedicated point of contact for all work-related mental well-being issues. Trustpunt offers online information as well as training sessions on how to deal with issues such as fear of failure, conflict, unwanted behavior, stress and burnout. Specific guidance is available for supervisors on how to address well-being issues within their team.

Researchers can turn to the university’s confidential advisors and to the faculty’s confidential contacts for individual support. They can also discuss psychosocial problems with an external prevention officer psychosocial aspects. PhD researchers who are having difficulties which they feel unable to discuss with their supervisor can contact their faculty ombudsperson for doctoral students or the institutional ombuds office.

Read more about Psychosocial well-being

Publications

see Research communication

Public engagement

Ghent University is strongly committed to achieving impact through excellent research and considers it good practice to target communication and public engagement at a range of relevant audiences, as well as allow for co-creation of knowledge. Researchers should make all reasonable attempts to maximize the impact of their work, whether this involves the academic community, potential users or the public.

Read more about Public engagement

Related topics: impact, media engagementopen science, research communication

Publishers

see Copyright

Purchases

Purchasing and expenditure of funds must take place in accordance with the terms and conditions of any grant or contract held for the research and the university’s financial regulations.

Read more about Purchases (in Dutch)

Related topics: financial management

Research assessment

Research assessment refers to the evaluation of the quality and impact of research. Research assessment is at the core of the academic rewards and incentives system. It plays a key role in the recruitment and promotion of researchers, in the evaluation of research groups and institutions, in the distribution of research funding etc. A wide variety of research outputs and outcomes (scholarly publications, data and software, influence on policy and practice, public engagement etc.) can be evaluated, using qualitative and/or quantitative methodologies (including the application of bibliometric indicators and peer review).

In order to promote appropriate evaluation methodologies for a wide range of evaluation purposes Ghent University has signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) and developed guiding principles for the evaluation of research (including guidance on the responsible use of indicators, and a portfolio of research dimensions).

Read more about Research assessment

Related topics: feedback and evaluation, impact, peer review, public engagement, research communication

Research communication

Researchers are expected to communicate about their research. Ghent University respects the researchers’ right to select the most appropriate route and method for the dissemination of their research. Researchers are invited to use a variety of channels and tools to maximise the impact of their research. They should not limit themselves to scholarly communication (e.g., peer-reviewed scholarly publications or presentations at academic conferences) or to research results. Researchers can, for instance, also undertake public engagement or other activities as pathways to impact. 

Researchers are expected to respect the Open Access policy of Ghent University and (if applicable) of their funding agency. Before their research results are made public, they should take all appropriate steps to protect the intellectual property rights arising from the research.

Related topics: authorship, impact, intellectual property, open access, peer review, public engagement, research assessment

Research data

In the context of Research Data Management (RDM), data sharing refers to the practice of publicly sharing data from completed (parts of) research, i.e. outside a project or research team. Sharing research data is not an all-or-nothing choice, but a spectrum. It ranges from making data fully open on one end, to keeping them fully closed on the other, with various possible forms of restricted/controlled access in-between. 

Read more about Data sharing

When considering data sharing, it is important to adhere as much as possible to the FAIR principles. These principles describe attributes that enable and enhance the reuse of data (and other digital objects) by both humans and machines. The guiding principles are caught in the acronym FAIR, which stands for: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable. FAIR does not mean that data have to be fully open. Rather, the 'A' in FAIR means that it is clear how data can be accessed, and - if applicable- under which conditions. In other words, data that are only shared under certain restrictions can still be FAIR.

Read more about FAIR data

Open research data is defined as data that can be 'freely used, modified and shared by anyone for any purpose’ (opendefinition.org). There is a growing consensus among research funders, institutions and other stakeholders that access to research data should be ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’.

Related topics: open science, personal data, research data management

Research data management

Research Data Management (RDM) entails all actions needed to ensure that data are secure, easy to find, understand, and (re)use, not only during a research project, but also in the longer term.

According to the RDM policy of Ghent University researchers are encouraged (and sometimes obliged) to write a Data Management Plan (DMP) at the start of their research, to carefully manage and store their research data during their research, and to preserve (and to the extent possible) share relevant data for verification and reuse purposes after their research. If applicable, researchers also need to take into account the RDM requirements of external funding agencies and publishers, as well as relevant legislation (such as the GDPR).

Read more about Research data management

Related topics: data management plan, open science, research data

Research funding

For an overview of the most current research funding opportunities, consult the specific web section and/or register for the electronic newsletter (‘BOZI’)

The Ghent University Funding Academy offers support to all researchers who are developing a grant proposal.

Before submitting a research funding proposal to an external funding agency, researchers must seek approval of the application by the advisors in the funding units of the Research Department. They will help to draw up a budget according to the funding agency’s rules and regulations, check whether the funding call criteria are met, request a financial check and advise on all relevant matters regarding the application procedure. Read more about financial management of research projects.

It is important that the interests of all stakeholders as well as the interests and reputation of the individual applicant and the university as a whole are safeguarded when seeking and accepting external funding.

Research information system

see GISMO

Research integrity

Research integrity (RI) is a conceptual framework that describes the attitude of researchers and those involved in research whereby they conduct their research according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards. It is about doing the right things, doing them right, and at the right time. RI is considered to be part of the basic professional responsibilities of researchers and is inherently connected to the quality assurance of daily research practice.

Because RI describes an approach for organising and conducting good scientific work, it is more about interpretation and appreciation, about making the right choices within a certain framework. Although there is no international consensus on the definition of RI, the European Code for Research Integrity or ALLEA code provides full guidance for researchers. The code describes the core values of research (integrity) and gives guidance by formulating good research practices, clear descriptions of unacceptable behaviour and fraud, including a determination of the responsibility of all stakeholders within science. Ghent University endorses the ALLEA code and expects every researcher to comply with its principles and to ensure the compliance of those around them.

Researchers who want to get more hands-on with research integrity are welcome to register for the online training course Mind the GAP: training on Good Academic research Practices.

Any suspicions of fraud or research misconduct can be reported to the Commission for Research Integrity (CWI).

Read more about Research integrity

Related topics: conflict of interest, ethics in research

Risk assessment

see Health and safety

Scholarly communication

see Research communication

Secondary employment

see Combining research with other activities

Secondment

see Combining research with other activities

Signatures

If a research proposal, letter of intent or offer needs to be formally signed in the name of Ghent University, the rector is the only person entitled to do so. One needs to get in touch with the relevant funding unit of the Research Department in order to take care of the signature procedure.

Read more about (financial) Project management

Spin-off

see Entrepreneurship

Surveys

When conducting a survey, chances are that personal data will be collected and/or processed. Personal data are legally protected by the GDPR and researchers must comply to this European privacy legislation. Using a survey to collect ((special categories of) personal) data from research participants might raise specific ethical issues that require an ethical approval.

Survey questions should be developed taking into account the methodological standards within one’s field.

Related topics: ethics in research, mailing listspersonal data

SDGs

see Sustainability in research

Sustainability in research

At Ghent University researchers are encouraged to minimise the environmental impact of their research activities. The sustainable implementation of a research project starts at the planning stage and continues throughout the lifetime of the project. Some measures individuals and institutions are invited to consider are to reduce, reuse and recycle, promote green purchasing for project-related materials, ensure the sustainability of events, use low-emission forms of transportation, use sustainable and renewable forms of energy, …

Also, the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are increasingly being used as an overarching framework to anchor sustainability thinking in the workings of governments, organisations and also in research. Researchers are encouraged to make themselves familiar with the SDG framework and to apply it in an integrated and constructive way in their research when relevant. 

Related topics: impact, work-related travel

Training and development

Ghent University offers training and development opportunities to all researchers. These initiatives include formal training, mentoring and other activities to help researchers grow in their different roles (e.g., as professional, lecturer and supervisor). All researchers are strongly encouraged to take a proactive role in their personal and professional development. They must complete the relevant mandatory training (e.g., obligatory courses for researchers who work with lab animals). Supervisors are expected to stimulate the career and professional development of their researchers.

Read more about training for researchers

Related topics: feedback and evaluation, leadership and supervision

Trustpunt

see Psychosocial well-being

Workplace

Ghent University opts for a structural combination of working at the office (on campus) and teleworking (off campus/online) as a sustainable form of work organisation.

Read more about ON/OFF campus working

Related topics: fieldwork, health and safety

Work-related travel

For all work-related travel with at least one overnight stay researchers must submit a travel request via SAP before the trip. Without a travel request a researcher may not be covered by relevant insurance or will not be able to reclaim expenses (if applicable).

Researchers are advised to check if the destination is secure before organising the trip. 

Researchers also need to adhere to Ghent University’s sustainable travel policy.