The University of Poitiers is one of the institutions which have signed the national charter of deontology for the research professions adopted in January 2015 by the Conference of University Presidents and all the national institutions in charge of research. By signing this charter the University of Poitiers commits itself to set up a university policy on scientific integrity and to appoint a scientific integrity consultant.
The University President has appointed Professor Boniface Kokoh scientific integrity consultant.
Deontology is the system of rules adopted by a professional group and research ethics is the answer provided by the rules chosen; scientific integrity is a constant search for knowledge and values which may be translated as “What shall I do to do the right thing?” as Professor emeritus Roger Gil put it.
Scientific credibility and context
The domain of scientific integrity covers all the conditions which make it possible to guarantee the reliability and credibility of the results obtained as to their honesty and their scientific accuracy as expected by society at large. Such conditions have to do mainly with the rights and duties of all those taking part in research: the respect for the intellectual property of authors and the correct attribution of an author’s position to those who have contributed to the publication of the results, on the one hand; and the methodological and ethical attitude in the choice and use of data and in the production and presentation of results on the other hand, including the statement of a possible personal interest.
The University of Poitiers policy on this topic is based on the principle of continuous improvement in the definition of quality objectives, the identification of problems, awareness and training sessions as of the first years of university study, the solution of problems and remediation work.
The research activity contributes to the development of knowledge, and in this respect it can be seen as the product or service rendered to society. The objectives are those of scientific quality, and more precisely a scientific quality which can guarantee and reinforce the confidence in the results of research, the confidence in other researchers and in society as a whole. This confidence based on precise and explicit rules and practices is particularly necessary for the public discourse of researchers to be understood as true and verifiable evidence as to the scientific knowledge available.
The setting up of this university policy begins with the precise identification of failures to comply with scientific integrity.
– plagiarism in whatever form, either direct or indirect;
– the undue refusal or undue attribution of authorship in a publication;
– forging or falsifying data;
– the non-preservation or retention of primary data and of research protocols;
– the omission to declare or wish to dissimulate interest links or conflicts;
– the failure to comply with international standards and protocols concerning the impact on living beings and on the environment;
The University of Poitiers commits itself
Since 2017, and in pursuance of the minister’s order dated May 25th, 2016 on doctoral policies, a program of training towards better awareness of scientific integrity has been part of first year doctoral studies. It must be further extended to the continuing education of all the institution’s personnel who have to do with research. It will deal with alerts and allegations, leading to the practical solutions applicable, and if need be to the appropriate penalties. This sensitization policy will include the assimilation of correct methods and good practices, especially to make explicit and save the research protocols used, to quote the references of previous research either published or unpublished, and to deal with conflicts of interest.
The scientific integrity consultant’s duties
The scientific integrity consultant advises the University President in all matters concerning scientific integrity and in the management of situations of conflicts of interests in the field of research and development. His duties are the following:
– he monitors the setting up of a scientific integrity policy by the University;
– he is the first respondent for all requests for information and advice in terms of compliance with deontological principles;
– he sets up a mediation for all conflicting situations linked with research which are referred to him;
– he records all the allegations of presumed failures to comply with scientific integrtiy;
– he takes part in the National network of scientific integrity consultants (RESINT) allowing the University to exchange with other institutions of higher education and research in France;
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