ALLEA statement on attack against President of Academy of Athens

ALLEA condemns the recent attack against the President of the Academy of Athens, Lucas Papademos, who has greatly contributed to science in Greece and Europe. ALLEA stands with the colleagues at the Academy of Athens and wishes Professor Papademos a speedy recovery from his injuries.

ALLEA Framework Programme 9 Working Group meets in Brussels

ALLEA’s Framework Programme 9 Working Group (FP9WG) met in Brussels on 8 May to discuss contributions from ALLEA to the development of the EU’s research and innovation Framework Programme 9 starting in 2021, succeeding the current Horizon 2020 programme.

The Group had a series of discussions about how aspects of Horizon 2020 could be constructively built upon in the next Framework Programme and where new areas could be explored. In addition, it considered how the Framework Programme could provide critical European added value and support research into the issues that face European society and culture currently and in the decades ahead.  

The Group aims to develop a position paper on Framework Programme 9 in the summer to present the academies’ position in the current debates on FP9’s development. The Group will also prepare to submit a document to a likely European Commission consultation in the autumn and undertake further outreach activities to present the Group’s viewpoint to relevant stakeholders in the months ahead.

The expert group was set up in 2016 as a successor to ALLEA’s Working Group on Social Sciences and Humanities (WGSSH). It seeks to ensure that any successor research programme to Horizon 2020 is developed with the interests of the Wissenschafts-community in mind and in particular to ensure that the Social Sciences and Humanities are fully represented.

“Creating a supportive climate for research integrity is the next big challenge for the academic system”

The lead author of the revised European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, Dr Maura Hiney, elaborates on the key aspects of the new edition. In addition to her involvement in ALLEA. Dr Maura Hiney was chair of the Science Europe Working Group on Research Integrity during its remit, and is Head of Post-Award and Evaluation at Health Research Board (HRB) in Ireland, which includes the development of policy for the organisation.

 

Why was the revision of the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity necessary? Could you give us a few examples of main new challenges covered in the revised version? 

MAURA HINEY: The previous European Code of Conduct was developed by ALLEA and the European Science Foundation back in 2010. It was a very important document at the time, but much has changed in the intervening years that rendered it somewhat outdated and indicated a revision. I see three main areas of change. Firstly, even in the space of seven years, there have been significant changes in the research environment in Europe. With a recognition of the importance of the ‘knowledge economy’ many countries have increased the level of public funding for research, but have married that with increased targeting and prioritisation of research areas. There has also been an increased demand for application-driven research and for partnering with the enterprise sector.

“Even in the space of seven years, there have been significant changes in the research environment in Europe.”

Secondly, there have been many technology-driven changes for research and for how researchers interact and communicate their findings, which are sometimes collectively termed ‘Open Science’. Examples include: new publishing models to allow open access to publications; open publication platforms such as F1000 that are far broader in the content they will accept for publication and use post-publication peer review; increased demand for dissemination of research data through repositories and other platforms; and the advent of new social media tools to disseminate research findings outside of the peer-review system.

Thirdly, there have been societally-driven changes, with a more science-literate and interested public who want greater access to, and understanding of, the evidence unpinning many facets of their lives such as health and environment; the emergence of crowd funding of research and citizen science projects; and a greater appetite among the public for transparency and accountability in research following high-profile misconduct cases in many pillar institutions (banks, the church, the police etc.).

Together all of these changes are both very exciting and very challenging for the research community in terms of ensuring continued Good Research Practice, and there was a need to update the European Code of Conduct to reflect this.

So what is new in the revised Code of Conduct?

M. H.: Much of the existing Code of Conduct was preserved in the revision process. However, there were some important changes made. Readers will instantly notice that the revised Code of Conduct is much shorter and more concise, which the drafting group felt was very important if it is to be widely read and used. The revised Code takes account of the changes in the research environment and those driven by technology and society that have emerged since 2010. The Principles have been refined to isolate the essential underpinning values of research, with more process-driven concepts moved to the appropriate section in the good research practices.

“The Code is written as a description of what IS done to ensure integrity in the research process, rather that what SHOULD be done, which can sometimes be interpreted as optional.”

The Code of Conduct includes a number of important innovations. The Code is written as a description of what IS done to ensure integrity in the research process, rather that what SHOULD be done, which can sometimes be interpreted as optional. Research Environment is placed first among the good research practices, to stress the vital role that research institutions and organisations play in establishing, nurturing and supporting a climate of research integrity. The section on Training, Supervision and Mentoring is greatly expanded to reflect a growing understanding of the pivotal role that these play in improving the skills of researchers at all levels of their career, not just in research integrity and ethics, but also in design, methodology and analysis. Likewise, a new section on Collaboration reflects the increasing cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral and cross-border nature of research activity.

The chapter on Violations of Research Integrity includes some important unacceptable practices which were not captured in the original Code. These underscore: the importance of publishing all data and materials that can contribute to reproducibility and replicability (not withholding results); the importance of disseminating negative results, which is now possible with the advent of open publishing platforms; and the importance of allowing researchers the independence to do their work without interference from funders or sponsors who might wish to enhance (or suppress) particular findings.

The ALLEA drafting group involved a wide range of stakeholders in the revision process. Could you tell us a little more about the consultation and how it contributed to come to a final revised version of the Code?

M. H.: The stakeholder consultation was a vital component of the revision of the Code. We chose, for practical reasons, to consult with representative organisations and associations for researchers (both established and emerging), universities, funding agencies, publishers, the enterprise sector and policy-driven groups and in total 22 of these stakeholder organisations became involved in the consultation process.

“We could not have produced a relevant and comprehensive revision of the Code of Conduct without this generous and intensive input from the research community in all its forms.”

This provided us with a wide range of perspectives on what a Code of Conduct should cover, but also helped to ensure that the Code would be widely applicable across Europe and beyond. We invited written submissions on both the original Code and where the gaps lay, and on a draft of the revised Code – both of which were mapped carefully and incorporated where possible and appropriate. The Stakeholder Workshop held in November 2016 in Brussels, and made possible by the European Commission, was a fantastic opportunity for us to hear at first hand about the ideas and challenges faced by the different stakeholders with regards to the Code. It also provided and opportunity for diverse groups to exchange ideas and reach a better understanding of each others challenges. Overall, we could not have produced a relevant and comprehensive revision of the Code of Conduct without this generous and intensive input from the research community in all its forms.

The competitive nature of the academic career system is often considered to increasingly disincentivise research integrity. What would you suggest to overcome this challenge and how might the Code of Conduct help tackle this issue?

M. H.: Yes, there is certainly a significant body of evidence to support the impact of competition for career advancement and funding on the behaviour of researchers. Unfortunately, as in any resource constrained system competition will remain a feature of the academic world. That is why I think that improvements in the research environment are so important.

“Unfortunately, as in any resource constrained system competition will remain a feature of the academic world. That is why I think that improvements in the research environment are so important.”

There is a growing body of evidence to demonstrate that providing a supportive climate for research integrity, from strong organisational policies and practices, to encouraging open discourse among colleagues about the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis, coupled with adequate training and mentoring, can enhance research integrity and ethical behaviour. Creating such a climate is the next big challenge for the multitude of actors in the academic system from research organisations, to funders, publishers, governments and of course the research community itself.

The European Commission will implement the Code as the required standard of research integrity for projects funded by Horizon 2020. In your view, how could the Code be applied and implemented on the national level in order to best serve the research community across Europe?

M. H.: Most European countries either already have, or are in the process of developing, national policies, guidelines or codes of conduct. Many of these used the original ESF/ALLEA European Code of Conduct as their starting point. I do not believe that a truly harmonised policy and regulatory environment across Europe is a realistic goal.

“The revised European Code of Conduct can continue to provide a common framework from which national and local codes and policies can be developed or updated to reflect current challenges.”

However, the revised European Code of Conduct can continue to provide a common framework from which national and local codes and policies can be developed or updated to reflect current challenges. This will be important in ensuring consistency at a high level and promoting a common understanding of what constitutes good practice in research. That can only benefit the European research community and enhance public trust in their research outputs.

 

A shorter version of this interview was published in ALLEA Newsletter of May 2017

G7 Science Conference: The role of academies and academy networks in policy advice

The international conference, organised by Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei under the auspices of the G7 Academies initiative and Italy’s Presidency of the G7 2017 summit, brought together in Rome on 3 May prominent representatives of the national and international academies, as well as Italian high level officials to discuss the role of national academies and international academy network in providing policy advice to institutions.

Credit: G72017 Italia

ALLEA President Günter Stock participated in a panel discussion with representatives of international academy networks of Africa, Asia, America and Europe, and brought to the table a European perspective on the roles and responsibilities of academies to advise institutions. President Stock highlighted both the achievements of European academies in shaping the framework conditions for research in Europe and  more recent efforts in the field of science for policy field by providing science advice on societally-relevant matters on the European level.  In this regard, President Stock presented the work of the SAPEA project (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies), which connects academy networks across Europe to support the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) on the development of science-based policies.

“We can no longer afford to sit in our ivory tower or we are running in real danger of drifting into obscurity, in modern terms we would call it alternative facts”

Recalling the most recent political developments in Hungary and Turkey, President Stock emphasised the challenges ahead for science and academies to defend the principles of academic freedom in times of political attacks and disdain to science and facts. “We can no longer afford to sit in our ivory tower or we are running in real danger of drifting into obscurity, in modern terms we would call it alternative facts”, said President Stock.

Furthermore, the conference presented the work of the G7 Academies initiative, chaired by Accademia dei Linzei President Alberto Quadrio-Curzio.  The coordinators of the working groups presented joint statements on three main topics: the relevance of culture heritage, the challenge of neurodegenerative diseases and the role of science, technology, innovation and infrastructure in the new economic growth.

The event was attended by high level Italian officials and personalities, including Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic, Romano Prodi, former Prime Minister and President of the European Commission,  Dario Franceschini, Minister of Cultural Heritage, and Pier Carlo Padoan, Minister of Economy and Finance.

Koen Lenaerts awarded the 2017 ALLEA Madame de Staël Prize

Professor Koen Lenaerts, President of the Court of Justice of the European Union, honoured with ALLEA Prize for his outstanding scholarly contribution on European law

Koen Lenaerts, 2017 ALLEA Madame de Staël Prize Laurate

Professor Koen Lenaerts will be awarded the 2017 All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values to honour his extensive scholarly work on European law and his reflections on European jurisdiction. Professor Lenaerts, President of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), will be the fourth scholar to be awarded the ALLEA Prize, at the initiative of ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, with the friendly co-sponsorship of Compagnia di San Paolo.

The 20,000 EUR Prize will be awarded on the occasion of the ALLEA General Assembly in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest on 4 September 2017. As a Professor of European Union law, his scholarly work represents a thorough and impeccable analysis for understanding the EU’s judicial system and the democratic values for which it stands.

The Prize serves to remind us that despite variations in definition and geographical boundaries over the centuries, there has always been a deep-rooted understanding of European culture as rooted in an inherent openness supported by a dynamic and vigorous intellectualism.

Professor Günter Stock, ALLEA President and chairman of the Prize jury said: “This Prize feels especially pertinent this year – in a time when the cultural diversity of Europe seems to be increasingly threatened by scepticism, extremism and instability. Law is at the origin of the European idea and the basis for free societies, and this year the Prize Jury decided to honour a scholar with a truly European track record in law. President Lenaerts is an outstanding scholar and at the same time an exceptional promoter of European jurisdiction.”

“Law is at the origin of the European idea and the basis for free societies, and this year the Prize Jury decided to honour a scholar with a truly European track record in law. President Lenaerts is an outstanding scholar and at the same time an exceptional promoter of European jurisdiction.”

Koen Lenaerts, born in 1954 in Mortsel (Belgium), is professor of European Law at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and, since 2015, President of the Court of Justice of the European Union. His work represents not only an invaluable contribution to the understanding of the judicial system of the European Union, but also a wealth of analysis on the case law of the Court of Justice. His publications include: “Constitutionalism and the many faces of federalism” (1990), “Interlocking legal orders in the European Union and comparative law” (2003), “In the union we trust: Trust-enhancing principles of community law” (2004), “The rule of law and the coherence of the judicial system of the European Union” (2007), “Exploring the Limits of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights” (2012), “How the ECJ Thinks: A Study on Judicial Legitimacy” (2013), “The Principle of Democracy in the Case Law of the European Court of Justice” (2013),  “La vie après l’avis: Exploring the principle of mutual (yet not blind) trust” (2017), among others.

About the ALLEA Madame de Staël Prize

ALLEA established the All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values to pay tribute to the boundless intellectual and cultural diversity and richness of Europe, and to highlight how outstanding scholarly work, particularly in the fields of the humanities and social sciences, contributes to the understanding of Europe as a cultural and intellectual entity. The Prize is awarded to eminent scholars whose work represents a significant contribution in these objectives. The first laureate, Professor Luisa Passerini, received the Prize from former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in 2014 to honour her work on European cultural identity. In 2015, Professor Dame Helen Wallace was awarded the Prize by EU Commissioner Carlos Moedas for her outstanding work on political studies and policy in Europe. Last year, Professor Rémi Brague was the third scholar to be honoured for his comprehensive understanding of the relationship between Judaism, Christianity and Islam today.

Click here for more information about the All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values.

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