Training and Education

In terms of training and supervision, ERIM organises an annual course on scientific integrity, which is mandatory for all its doctoral students. The aim of the course is on the one hand to familiarise doctoral students with the Code and good research practices such as they apply to the field of management research in general, and to our university and research institute in particular, and on the other hand to expose them to dilemmas that they might be faced with as researchers. The course also serves as a foundation for other courses, in particular the various research methodology courses. At the end of the course, doctoral students need to sign the Research Integrity Declaration, committing themselves to uphold the ethos of good scientific research and to adhere to the Code.

ERIM also holds workshops on Research Integrity and Professionalism (twice a year), which are mandatory for all its new members (new faculty). Like in the doctoral course, the aim of such workshops is two-fold: to make sure that researchers are very familiar with the stipulations of the Code and to expose them to dilemmas that they (might) face throughout their research career. This workshop goes beyond addressing strict misconduct (fabrication, falsification and plagiarism) since a lot of attention is given to addressing the grey area of ’questionable research practices’ (such as P-hacking and HARKing). This is done with the help of the EUR Dilemma Game app. The app is the successor to the offline version of the Dilemma Game 'Professionalism and Integrity in Research' that was introduced by the university some years ago. The app has been developed in cooperation with PhD students, (senior) researchers and integrity experts. The app contains a large number of dilemmas, arranged according to themes and target groups. Every month a new dilemma will be added. When a player has chosen a dilemma, he can indicate what he would do, given four options. After voting the player can see the choices of other players as well as what an expert in the field of scientific integrity has to say about it. Players can also submit their own dilemmas.

Central in the whole debate on fostering professionalism and integrity in research are dilemmas; in many situations, there is no clear ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. The most important improvements in terms of researchers’ ultimate goal of ‘truth-finding’ are to be found in addressing questionable research practices. Therefore, one of the guiding principles underlying the work of the taskforce has been to help stimulate an open debate on what is questionable and what not.

There are various dilemmas that may arise in such a debate: Can I exclude particular observations from my research? Can I use exactly the same data set for multiple papers? Should I agree on a colleague being a co-author on a paper to which she has not made a significant contribution? The EUR taskforce on Scientific Integrity has developed a dilemma game that aims to support researchers in further developing and honing their own “moral compass”, by exposing individual researchers to such dilemmas in a group discussion. 

More information is available here.

ERIM offers a 1 ECTS course on Scientific Integrity (BERMSKL009) as part of the mandatory curriculum for all research master students and PhD candidates. The course is concluded by the signing of the integrity declaration.

ERIM furthermore strongly recommends each of the five ERIM research programmes to organise a half-day session focusing on professionalism and integrity issues, every second year. ERIM also encourages senior faculty to show commitment to openly discussing professionalism and integrity issues in such settings by participating in these dilemma game sessions. Also, directors of research should actively encourage the use of the dilemma-game; the exact way the game is used is up to department, group leader or programme leader.