“It is Very Difficult for us to Separate Ourselves from this System”: Views of European Researchers, Research Managers, Administrators and Governance Advisors on Structural and Institutional Influences on Research Integrity
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonJournal of Academic Ethics. 2023, 21 471-495. 10.1007/s10805-022-09469-x
Research integrity is fundamental to the validity and reliability of scientific findings, and for ethical conduct of research. As part of PRINTEGER (Promoting Integrity as an Integral Dimension of Excellence in Research), this study explores the views of researchers, research managers, administrators, and governance advisors in Estonia, Italy, Norway and UK, focusing specifically on their understanding of institutional and organisational influences on research integrity. A total of 16 focus groups were conducted. Thematic analysis of the data revealed that competition is pervasive and appeared in most themes relating to integrity. The structural frameworks for research such as funding, evaluation and publication were thought to both protect and, more commonly, undermine integrity. In addition, institutional systems, including workload and research governance, shaped participants’ day-to-day work environment, also affecting research integrity. Participants also provided ideas for promoting research integrity, including training, and creating conditions that would be supportive of research integrity. These findings support a shift away from individual blame and towards the need for structural and institutional changes, including organisations in the wider research environment, for example funding bodies and publishing companies.