Ethics and Scientific IntegrityTraining researchers to ethics in research


The University of Liège promotes quality in research and is devoted to ensuring good practice in terms of ethics, scientific integrity, and responsible research data management.

ethique

 

 

Supporting quality in research

The University of Liège has laid out twelve principles to efficiently support quality in research, taking into account national, European and international standards.
 
These principles cover :
  • Skills development: each member of the research community must be aware of, adhere, promote and encourage ethical principles and practices relating to their subject and activity, in addition to the applicable ethical standards established by applicable national, international, general or discipline-specific codes of conduct.
  • The development of a respectful and ethical work environment, appropriate for harmonious and confident personal development, especially for doctoral candidates.
  • A clear and transparent workflow for whistleblowing and analysis of ethical breaches or misconducts.
  • A provision of tools and support staff for awareness, counselling and information (at various institution levels).
  • Public discussions and exchanges of good practice on topics relating to ethics and responsible research conduct, for example through seminars, webinars and debates.

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Ethical appraisal

Ethical appraisal by an ethics committee

The relevant ethics committees must be involved for the following research:

Additionally, the University of Liège seeks to draw to the attention of its research community other ethical issues which may arise that require spection attention.  These issues stem from the nature of certain research data, or their context of acquisition, collection and use. These particular cases may include:

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Board of Ethics and Scientific Integrity

The Board of Ethics and Scientific Integrity is an institutional body for consultation on matters regarding research ethics in the broad sense, both for specific subjects as listed above or for any other requests by members of the ULiège community.

Its role is to provide expertise, feedback, and assessment, on general ethics questions or on specific cases, either to University authorities or to researchers and scientific staff. It can also give advice or direct individuals to resource persons or organisations as required.
 
The Board is a reference for anyone at ULiège for any ethics or integrity issue. It is the reference body in the event of a suspected breach or misconduct of ethics and scientific integrity .
 
The members of the Board are :
  • Rudi CLOOTS, Vice-recteur en charge de la vie étudiante et des infrastructures immobilières, Président du C.E.I.S.
  • Serge BREDART, Professeur ordinaire
  • Florence CAEYMAEX, Maître de recherches FNRS
    en sa qualité de Présidente du Comité d'éthique en Sciences humaines et sociales
  • Fabienne COLLETTE, Directeur de recherches FNRS
    en sa qualité de Présidente du Comité d'éthique de la Faculté de Psychologie, Logopédie et Sciences de l'Education
  • Pierre DRION, Professeur ordinaire
    en sa qualité de Secrétaire de la Commission d'éthique de l'utilisation des animaux auprès de l'Université et de titulaire du cours d’éthique en recherche en faculté de médecine (Sc. Biomédicales)
  • Vincent GEENEN, Directeur de recherches FNRS
  • Quentin MICHEL, Professeur ordinaire
  • Vincent SEUTIN, Professeur ordinaire
    en sa qualité de Président du Comité d'éthique Hospitalo-Facultaire Université de Liège
  • Ezio TIRELLI, Professeur ordinaire
  • Philippe VANDERBEMDEN, Professeur ordinaire

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Misconduct

The ULiège Board of Directors has adopted a process to be followed in the event of a misconduct suspicion. While it is illusory to establish strict boundaries between what is permitted and what is prohibited in scientific ethics and integrity, given the multitude of disciplines and possible situations, some form of conduct can be universally considered as unacceptable. Instead of trying to decide on a scale of seriousness for all integrity breaches, the Board has agreed to evaluate each case individually by assessing the seriousness of the harm committed to society, science, the institution to which the individual belongs and any other victim of the case in question.

In the event of suspected misconduct, the University recognises the right of each of its members to initiate the process defined for this purpose, whether they are directly concerned (personally harmed) or not.  When an issue is brought forward, a committee is set up consisting of a member the Board of Ethics and Scientific Integrity or the whole Board, and/or an ad hoc group of experts for preliminary investigation, and/or the Rector.  This committee can enlist the assistance of any other relevant expert.  This whistle-blowing process is in place to put the applicable regulations into operation, as well as to follow through with the settlement of misconduct and to protect the missions and interests of the University or of any of its members.  It is strictly confidential in order to protect both parties.

Responsible research data management

The University requires researchers to consider ethical questions and best applicable practices while carrying out their work, from design to publication, as well as in relation to innovation, communication, and the societal impact of their work. These questions include research data management, which is often at the core of a research project, sometimes even being the decisive factor in choosing a methodology or an experimental protocol.

These aspects are taken into account in the appraisal of projects submitted for internal grants, using a list of applicable questions.

  • Data Management Plans (DMPs) are systematically encouraged, and sometimes even requested. Dedicated resources are made available to support building DMPs.
  • Best practice is promoted at each step of the data lifecycle, through training, advice, or self-training material.
  • Personal data management is strictly regulated by dedicated resources.
  • PhD students and other early-stage researchers are made aware of responsible research data management issues and best practices as soon as their project is submitted.
  • Ethical appraisal by the appropriate ethics committee is absolutely mandatory for research projects relating to subjects and questions that are either of a sensitive nature or a legally required issue, as explained in the above section.

The University of Liège informs its research community of the recommendations issued by the European commission in the context of its research programs. Support staff is available for these questions or any other question about responsible research data management.
In particular, ULiege promotes and facilitates the application of the FAIR principles among its researchers, with the same application used for any general question relating to the responsible management of research data. 

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Reference material

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Tools and resources

At ULiege

Online

  • Tools
    • EU H2020 guidance - How to complete your ethics self-assessment
    • RRI toolkit (ressources, checklists et recommandations pour des questions d’intégrité scientifique applicables aux décideurs, chercheurs, enseignants, entreprises privées et à la société civile)
    • Checklist de vérification de l’intégrité d’une publication (Grey et al., Nature 577, 167-169 (2020) doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-03959-6)
    • Checklist for responsible research data management
    • EQUATOR Network (tools and guidelines to improve quality of publications in health sciences)
    • examples of data repositories to deposit and share your research
    • Self-assessment of the FAIR principles
    • MyResearch toolbox (in construction - access reserved)

Self-training

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Getting help

For any concern, question or problem, do not hesitate to contact someone reliable as soon as possible: your supervisor, your research unit president, your thesis advisor, your dean… If needed, other staff members are available:

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Contact
Ethics and Scientific Integrity Board (C.E.I.S.)

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