swissuniversities, the Swiss National Science Foundation and Innosuisse - the Swiss Innovation Agency - have jointly drawn up a Code of Conduct for Scientific Integrity under the auspices of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences. It takes into account new developments in science, facilitates cooperation across institutional borders and strengthens quality assurance in research.
Inadequate recognition of significant contributions to scientific publications, bias in evaluating research projects or impairment of research freedom when making private grants – possible misconduct can occur across the whole range of acquisition and dissemination of scientific knowledge. The new is intended to counteract such misconduct, but also and above all to demonstrate what constitutes good practice in scientific work. Good practice is guided by the basic principles of reliability, honesty, respect and accountability. The Expert Group on Scientific Integrity has updated the principles and rules of procedure applicable to scientific integrity, and the relevant regulations dating from 2008, taking into account the European ALLEA Code of Conduct (2017). “Scientific integrity is the backbone of a healthy scientific culture – only if the entire scientific community shares these basic principles will we be perceived and accepted as credible by society and politics”, said Marcel Tanner, President of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.
Implementing standards and procedural principles
The Code also recommends that procedural steps such as mediation, investigation, sanction and appeal be clearly defined and delimited from one another with appropriate procedural principles. Higher education institutions and funding organizations are responsible for the way in which these standards are anchored in their own regulations and implemented in practice.
After more than two years of work by the Joint Expert Group on Scientific Integrity, the Code of Conduct has now been adopted by the competent bodies of the Swiss Academies, the Swiss National Foundation, swissuniversities and Innosuisse. “Academic integrity concerns everybody, from university management to first-year students, from researchers to the funding entities,” stressed Edwin Constable, president of the Expert Group.