Research integrity: ALLEA code – European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity

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The ALLEA code

The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, is better known in the research community as the “ALLEA code”, simply because it was drafted by All European Academies (ALLEA), the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities.
The ALLEA code provides a European comprehensive framework for self-regulation across all scientific and scholarly disciplines and for all research settings. The code is set up as a guidance to help researchers realize their professional responsibility concerning the practical, ethical and intellectual challenges inherent to research. It shapes the theoretical framework of research integrity by defining the underlying values (beliefs, ideals) in research and guides the translation into action oriented norms for daily research practice. In this way it defines "Responsible Conduct of Research" (RCR).

The code was originally published in 2011 and got a first major revision in 2017. The code had another revision in 2023. 

The code is written in English and translated in many other (non-) European languages. All of them can be consulted here.


4 principles and many norms

The code starts from 4 main principles:
Reliability in ensuring the quality of research, reflected in the design, the methodology, the analysis and the use of resources.
Honesty in developing, undertaking, reviewing, reporting and communicating and communicating research in a transparent, fair, full and unbiased way.
Respect for colleagues, research participants, research subjects, society, ecosystems, cultural heritage and the environment.
Accountability for the research from idea to publication, for its management and organization, for training, supervision and mentoring, and for its wider societal impacts.

The ALLEA code also describes more action oriented norms, based on these 4 values, categorised as good research practices in the following contexts:
• Research environment
• Training, supervision and mentoring
• Research procedures
• Safeguards
• Data practices and management
• Collaborative working
• Publication, dissemination and authorship
• Reviewing and assessment 

Attention is given to the responsibilities of all stakeholders.

The code also offers examples of violations of research integrity; misconduct such as fabrication, falsification and plagiarism, violations of good research practice that distort the research record or damage the integrity of the research process or of researchers. The ALLEA-code also gives a non-exhaustive list of what are called "other unacceptable practices" and how to deal with these violations.


Beyond the ALLEA code

The European Commission recognises the ALLEA code as the reference document for research integrity for all EU-funded research projects and as a model for organisations and researchers across Europe. Therefore it is thé leading code of conduct for Europe but it is also commonly used outside of Europe.

In recent years, many institutions have expressed their views and policies on research integrity. In order to arrive at a uniform and shared vision of research integrity, a World Conference on Research Integrity is organised every two years, each time focusing on a different topic, e.g. research collaboration, research(er) rewards & assessment, … . For each conference, a 'Statement' was formulated and endorsed by the worldwide research community. Go to the different statements here.

An attempt to map the normative framework on research integrity (guidelines, codes, legislation, standards) can be found on the wiki platform The Embassy of Good Science.

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Last modified Sept. 27, 2023, 10:52 a.m.