The study to which we refer is the National Survey on Research Integrity of project leader Lex Bouter (professor of Methodology and Integrity) at VU Amsterdam. Science funder ZonMW has commissioned this study on standards and values in science, and how these are approached.
Many university employees have recently received an email message petitioning them to complete a questionnaire. However, not all universities participate actively in this study. Only Nijmegen, Tilburg, Maastricht, both universities in Amsterdam and the affiliated academic hospitals are actively taking part. They make address information available and inform their employees about the study.
The researchers may think it is spamGowri Gopalakrishna, NSRI researcher
Most universities disengage themselves from the questionnaire. ‘Their staff is free to take part, but are not informed about the importance’, says researcher Gowri Gopalakrishna. ‘Our emails are often not even opened, we have noted. Researchers may think it’s spam, or they may pull out when they see the ZonMW logo, with which they generally have no affiliation.’
Code of conduct
WUR spokesperson Annet Blanken confirms that WUR does not actively support the investigation and has not made addresses available. She refers to the upcoming evaluation of the new Code of Conduct for Scientific Integrity, that was adopted in 2018, that WUR will actively embrace. Other universities also refer to this code. She stresses that scientists are, of course, free to participate in the study.
The ZonMW researchers are disappointed. ‘There is, apparently, a lack of collective commitment to face this problem together’, Gopalakrishna says in a reaction. ‘But, we must join forces to comprehend the complexity of scientific integrity. We hope that researchers will participate despite their institute’s failure to support the survey.’