The world conference on research integrity: a conference like no other

The World Conferences on Research Integrity foster the exchange of information and discussion about responsible conduct of research”, at least that is what they say about themselves on their website. And that is indeed what I experienced. People with various backgrounds (researchers, whistleblowers, publishers, ombudsmen, and policymakers) talking about research integrity, using one of the broadest definitions that I might have seen.

This opened up my eyes and sparked my interest, but it also makes me wonder whether or not the discussion/audience was too broad for a single conference. Besides this, the conference was set up to look beyond the usual by programming, rightfully, a lot of time and attention to the role of the global south. Words like equity, fairness, capacity building etc were often used in various sessions of this conference with the tagline “‘Fostering Research Integrity in an Unequal World’. I understand the need, and I support the idea of making this the main theme, yet I have the feeling that the theme was spread too thin over the whole conference and thereby lost some of its power.

Anyway, I was not only there to consume. I chaired a couple of sessions (I especially liked oral session 15!) and I gave a talk on our newest project. That project aims to build an open, indexed, searchable, and complete overview of all cases of scientific misconduct allegations in the Netherlands. In my talk, I gave the arguments for such a platform and provided a first overview of the design requirements. We decided to strengthen our message by sharing the slides and our preprint that we shared on our OSF page – a decision I do not regret, as you might understand from the stats in the tweet below.

But the most important thing about the conference was meeting others. There is simply no good substitute (online or otherwise) for haphazard meetings with interesting people while waiting in the coffee line.

LUMC workshop on scientific integrity

Together with my colleague TdC from the department of geriatrics I am working on a workshop for starting PhD students on the topic of scientific integrity under the working title “On being a scientist: a workshop in scientific integrity”

The LUMC code of scientific integrity, the recent KNAW report of cie. Schuyt and the publication of the National Academy of Science “On being a scientist” will form the backbone of the this workshop (see also the video below of the NAS, with the great quote “scientist should be people too!”). We are still developing the actual content, but this workshop will primarily based on several cases that will be discussed, ranging from cases of clear scientific misconduct to cases of conflicting demands of supervisors. How can you spot these problems in advance, solve or preferably prevent them? What additional measure should be put in place to sustain a critical but workable environment?

I am excited that I can be part of the team that develops this workshop. As I said before, I do not believe that this workshop will prevent all possible scientific misconduct, but I do believe that educating PhD students helps to prevent hem from making honest mistaken. Also, I hope that this course will help to create a critical but positive atmosphere in which science will thrive.

This workshop will be part of the PhD training that the LUMC offers free of charge. The first edition of the this workshop will be held on September 18 2013. Please contact me via email for more information.


video “on being a scientist” from the NAS