Ethics and Scientific Integrity
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. ULiège officially recognises the Conseil Supérieur d'Intégrité Scientifique (High Council for Scientific Integrity /CSIC) of which it is a founding member.
Supporting quality in researchThe 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.
Ethical appraisal by an ethics committee
The relevant ethics committees must be involved for the following research:
- Research involving biological material
Hospital Faculty Ethics committee
- Research involving animals
Animal Ethics committee - The University of Liège offers an animal science laboratory legal training, “FELASA”, available to any member of the institution whose activity involves animal experimentation.
- Research in social and human sciences
Committee on ethics in Social and Human Sciences
- Research in psychology
Committee on ethics in Psychology
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:
- Research involving developing countries
- Dual Use of research results, goods or data
- Ethical aspects of new ICT technologies in research
- Intellectual property regulations, conflict of interest, participatory funding
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.
- Rudi CLOOTS, Conseiller aux infrastructures, Président du C.E.I.S.
- Fabienne COLLETTE, Présidente du Comité d’Ethique de la Faculté de Psychologie, Logopédie et Sciences de l’Education
- Pierre DRION, Secrétaire du Comité d’Ethique animale
- Vincent SEUTIN, Président du Comité d’Ethique hospitalo-facultaire
- Florence CAEYMAEX, Conseillère à l’Ethique et aux politiques d’égalité
- Grégory CORMANN, Membre du Comité d’Ethique en Sciences Humaines et Sociales
- Vincent GEENEN, Professeur à la Faculté de Médecine
- Quentin MICHEL, Professeur ordinaire à la Faculté de Droit, Science politique et Criminologie
- Ezio TIRELLI, Professeur ordinaire à la Faculté de Psychologie, Logopédie et Sciences de l'Education
- Philippe VANDERBEMDEN, Professeur ordinaire à la Faculté des Sciences appliquées
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.
High Council for Scientific Integrity
The CSIS (Conseil Scientifique pour l'Intégrité Scientifique) was created in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation at the end of 2019 and officially inaugurated in October 2021 by Minister Valérie Glatigny (Wallonia-Brussels Federation).
The founding institutions are the Royal Academy of Belgium (RAB), the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium (ARMB) as well as the FNRS and the French-speaking Universities of Belgium.
The CSIS is competent to issue recommendations and opinions on general issues related to scientific integrity, either on its own initiative or at the request of scientific bodies. The SCIS does not have first opinion competence. The advisory body of the CSIS is competent to provide a second opinion when a scientific integrity committee of an institution that recognises the CSIS as an advisory body has given a first opinion on a case of alleged violation of scientific integrity or has decided not to give an opinion.
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 and RGPD management tools (access reserved) are available for researchers.
- 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.
- European code of conducts for research integrity
- EU H2020/Horizon Europe guidance
- Ethical code for research in Belgium
- European Research Charter
- World conferences on research integrity reports
Tools and resources
- Training sessions
- 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)
- 6 examples of data repositories to deposit and share your research
- Self-assessment of the FAIR principles
- MyResearch toolbox (in construction - access reserved)
- Data Curation Center UK, Guidance Chapter
- Tout sur l’Open Science (UMons, in French) (UMons)
- RDM @ Bicfb portal
- DCC UK RDM Training resources on Zenodo
- CESSDA Data Management guide
- Defining Research Data Management (Macalester College)
- Mantra : research data management training
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:
- Within the ethics committees (a list of members can be found on their specific pages)
- Within the Legal Affairs Department (Mrs Véronique Boveroux, Director), the Doctoral Affairs Department, or the HR social management service.