Two Times: PRINTEGER Selected as Success Story

With it‘s wide reach-out and magnificent preliminary results, the PRINTEGER project is published as a success story not only one but two times!
The Network of National Contact Points for Science with and for Society publishes successful projects online. With the publications, the network wants to promote excellence in european research that is linked to responsible research and innovation. PRINTEGER is soon to be listed among other elaborated projects like RRI Tools – Forstering Responsible Research and Innovation and TRUST – Ensuring global research collaboration without ethics dumping.
Read the whole success story here:

Furthermore, Prof. Dr. Hub Zwart (Radboud University Nijmegen), coordinator of the PRINTEGER project, gave an interview to DG Research and Innovation, European Commission about addressed challenges in the project, social and economic benefits, key results and their use. The success story is going to be published here:

PRINTEGER European Conferencen on Research Integrity – Why Research Integrity Matters to You! February 5-7, 2018 in Bonn (Germany)

Almost 200 people from all over the world came together in Bonn (Germany) during the PRINTEGER European Conference on Research Integrity to discuss why research integrity matters to them. On day one and day two of the conference (February 5-6, 2018), around 60 presenters addressed a huge variety of topics in four parallel sessions. A committee had chosen presentations based on a call for papers process. Several sessions focussed on good science, where participants exchanged on methods of good science, research integrity as integral dimension of good science and scientists‘ views and understandings of the concept.

“Talking about #researchintegrity without clarifiying what makes ‘good science‘ (beyond ‘not cheating‘) can feel like a dialogue of the deaf“
– Arnaud Vaganay (@arnaudvag), February 6, 2018

Other sessions addressed the dark side of research and scientific work: misconduct, fraud and questionable research practices. Why do researchers cheat, what is the role of institutions and how can research integrity committees function as an authority? At the same time, presenters in further sessions considered solutions for research integrity issues and preventions from misconduct. PRINTEGER project participant Vincent Coumans from Radboud University Nijmegen presented how to teach scientific integrity, while Rachel Douglas-Jones (IT University Copenhagen) talked about integrity education in Denmark and the institutionalisation of research integrity in Danish higher education. Not only institutions but the whole research community can become engaged in writing a code of conduct for research integrity, as Margit Sutrop (University of Tartu) reported from an Estonian perspective.

Another spotlight of the conference was Maura Hiney‘s (Health Research Board Ireland) keynote speech on February 6, 2018, in which she concluded that actions need to happen across all dimensions. Varying perspectives from early-career scientits to senior researchers, politics and research leaders were discussed in the final panel discussion on that day. The official conference was closed with Ellen-Marie Forsberg (Metropolitant University Oslo) presenting the current status of the consensus statement to the participants.

UPRIGHT – Tool Try-Out with Students, February 7, 2018

Within the PRINTEGER project, Luca Consoli and Vincent Coumans (Radboud University Nijemegen) are developing an interactive educational tool on research integrity called UPRIGHT. The prototype was ready just in time to try it out with students, early-career scientists and other researchers on day three of the conference (February 7, 2018). The try-out was introduced by Gareth O’Neill (President of the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers) with an interactive poll: five words you associate with integrity, with “honesty” ranking the highest. When asked which words participants associate with misconduct, students named fraud, falsification and cheating the most. However, context frames your decision, as Gareth pointed out with another poll. Would you rather give back a 100€ bill you found on the ground to a rich banker or to an old lady?

Consensus Conference, February 7, 2018

While students supported the improvement of UPRIGHT in the try-out session, participants of the consensus conference worked hard on the consensus statement next door. The 20 members of the consensus team came from different fields and countries across Europe to finalize the consensus statement that had been development in the past months. PRINTEGER project partner Ellen-Marie Forsberg (Metropolitan University Oslo) led the process together with PRINTEGER policy advisory board member Matthias Kaiser (University of Bergen). Hard work paied off: At 3 o’ clock, Ellen-Marie handed over the statement to Isidoros Karatzas, Head of the “Ethics and Research Integrity” sector at the European Commission.


The Ghosts of HeLa: How Cell Line Misidentification Contaminates the Scientific Literature in the Global Media

By Willem Halffman
The misidentification of cell lines has been a problem in biomedical research for decades. First noted for HeLa cells, cell lines get mixed up or contaminated with other cells. As a result, researchers publish results based on other cells than they assume. Sometimes this does not affect research results, sometimes it fundamentally flaws the findings. Important efforts have been made to prevent these problems, such as journals requiring genetic verification of cell cultures prior to publication.
But what about the research of the past? We used the ICLAC database of cell lines known to be misidentified to estimate the number of articles in Web of Science using misidentified cells. We found 33.000 publications, currently about 1.200 per year, with no signs of improvement. The articles in this ‘primary contamination’ are in turn cited by 500.000 papers, constituting a ‘secondary contamination’ of the scientific literature.

We suggest publications that base results on misidentified cells should get a warning label, allowing the expert reader to assess the consequences for validity.
Horbach, S., & Halffman, W. (2017). The Ghosts of HeLa: How cell line misidentification contaminates the scientific literature. PLOS ONE. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0186281. (12 October 2017, open access)

Editors note: Not only are we thrilled by this very interesting publication but also by the media impact that was created out of it:

Problematic text recycling in Dutch science

In a recently published paper from the Printeger project Serge Horbach and Willem Halffman found that there is substantial problematic text recycling (‘self-plagiarism’) among Dutch researchers. Especially in economics, levels are high: up to one in seven published papers contain more than 10% recycled text without mention to original publications. Productive authors recycle text more often, it occurs more in articles with fewer co-authors, and in journals with no clear policies on the issue. Levels are half as high among psychologists, and very low in biochemistry and history.

Horbach, S., & Halffman, W. (2017). The extent and causes of academic text recycling or ‘self-plagiarism’. Research Policy. doi:10.1016/j.respol.2017.09.004 (open access).

(To appear in a theme issue on new forms of questionable practices and ways to ‘game’ the reward system of science.)

A Criminological Understanding of Deviance in Science: PRINTEGER at 16th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology 2016

vub_conference-on-criminology-muensterPRINTEGER project partners from Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Department of Criminology, presented the project during the  16th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology in Muenster, Germany on 22 September 2016. In their presentation they argued that an “understanding of the expanding ethical mindset in science as a response to the problematization of incorrect behaviors can offer interesting insights from a criminological perspective”. With this regard, the partners draw parallels with the rise of the integrity concept in other professional contexts such as for example police departments and the private security sector, resulting in a wide range of institutional measures, codes of conduct and prevention strategies. The presentation was based on the literature analysis within the PRINTEGER project. The findings within the literature study point to the added value that a criminological perspective, hitherto lacking, can offer on scientific misconduct.

Further information:

Interview with PRINTEGER Policy Advisory Board Member Dr Maura Hiney

Portrait-Jan-2013-017-MauraDr Maura Hiney is a qualified nurse (1982) and holds a BSc (Hons) in Microbiology and Biochemistry (1988) and a PhD (1994) in Molecular Diagnostics and Epizootology of fish diseases. She worked as a researcher and as director of research support services in the university sector. Currently she is Head of Post-Award and Evaluation at the Health Research Board, Ireland. Maura chairs the Science Europe Working Group on Research Integrity and is member of the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Science and Ethics, where she leads the recently formed subgroup dedicated to updating the “European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity”. In 2015, she acted as expert advisor on research integrity to the Luxembourg Ministry for Research and Education during the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU. She is supporting the PRINTEGER project as a member of the policy advisory board.

Read the whole interview here….

PRINTEGER Second General Assembly in Oslo, 25-26 August 2016

Discussing Normative Categories2_webThe PRINTEGER consortium and further experts met for the Second General Assembly (GA) in Oslo (Norway) from 25 – 26 August 2016. The GA acts as the ultimate decision-making body of the consortium. During the meeting, sessions devoted to specificwork packages (II, III, IV and VI) were held. On  day one, partners from the University of Tartu (Estonia) presented results of conceptual exploration within WP II “What is Integrity? Multidisciplinary Reconnaissance”. The consortium continued then with work package III “What Happens in Practice? Discussing normative categories of misconduct with expert Prof. Dr Lex M. Bouter. Institutional Responses to Misconduct”, lead by the Research Group on Law, Science, Technology & Society (LSTS) and Research Group Crime and Society (CRiS) of Vrije Universiteit Brussels. Day two was opened with the University of Bonn (UBO) presenting finalised dissemination activities, next steps and upcoming events (WP VI). To clarify motivations and drivers as well as complexities of integrity from the perspective of the scientific work-floor, the Oslo and Akershus University College (HiOA) is to conduct a survey with researchers and key informants in the research system (WP IV). The consortium and experts discussed further proceedings for the survey. The meeting was closed with the General Assembly including feedback and advice from the present experts. Teambuilding and exchange of experiences were further important parts of the GA.

For pictures visit :

Task leader: Radboud University Nijmegen (RU)

News from WP II – Reconnaisance

WPII – Finalised: Multidisciplinary Reconnaissance on Integrity
Within the first year of the PRINTEGER project, our partners from the University of Tartu (CEUT, Estonia) concluded their analytic reconnaissance of integrity and research misconduct. The work package aimed to explore important developments and policy regime guidelines, ethical codes and policy instruments. In consultation with stakeholders, it provides improved scoping and articulation of the project objectives, contributing to innovative and more effective approaches.

Task leader: University of Tartu (CEUT)

News from WP III – What Happens in Practice? Institutional Responses to Misconduct Inventory: in-depth misconduct case studies

Leiden Univeristy’s Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) contribution for PRINTEGER focuses on the extent and incidence of misconduct. The research concentrates partly onin-depth case studies that reflect both daily dilemmas and broader issues which the scientific community faces. CWTS has identified two cases. The first case relates to the phenomenon of retractions. Building upon previous work at CWTS, which has been reported at various conferences (STI-Conference in Leiden in 2014 and 4S-Conference in Denver 2015), the team now wants to expand the data collection in a more structural and sustainable way by focussing on retrieving the notifications from the retracted journal publications in the Web of Science. The information to be collected relates to the reason for retraction, as well as to the party responsible for the retraction. Previous work has shown that the reasons are rather diffuse (ranging from honest error to plain fraud), while the parties responsible for the retraction notifications stand in a complicated relation to these reasons for retraction. The second case relates to the appearance of so-called predatory journals. These journals started to appear on the academic landscape with the increasing importance of publishing in open access mode. Open access is that way of publishing whereby not the subscription paid by the readers gives access to scientific knowledge, but the producers pay for making their findings public. Through this method of publishing, scientific knowledge could be made more publicly available than at present. The journals that are labelled as  predatory journals’ do seem to have rather high Article Publishing Costs (APCs), without offering the facilities which established journals offer to publishing authors, such as peer review. From the outside this is difficult to assess by an author, particularly when the authors are not yet experienced in publishing research findings. Work on this case is currently in the start-up phase.

Task leader: Radboud University Nijmegen (RU)

WPIV – Started: Survey on Researchers Experience

How do Researchers Experience Integrity? Understanding Integrity from a Work-Floor Perspective

The work in WP IV shifts attention from a systematic review (WP II) to the work-floor to map out how scientists perceive, experience and address integrity issues. Information is gathered through a web-based e-survey and in-depth focus groups. The work-floor perspective will analyse which integrity issues researchers experience most intensely, which integrity promoting measures they find most helpful, and how they deal with the demands of changing and competitive research environments. Hence this work package, centred in the second year of the project, aims to understand integrity through social science methods.

Task leader: Oslo and Akershus University College (HiOA)

Second Local Stakeholder Panels to be held in October/November 2016

As a part of the dissemination and communication work package, small advisory stakeholder panels are set up by the partners three times during the project period. The first scoping meetings were held between September 2015 and February 2016. The second round is taking place between October and November 2016 where first project results and upcoming tasks will be discussed in local panels. The local panels held by every partner aim to assure that the project’s strong work-floor focus is maintained throughout the project and will provide a voice in priorities and demarcations of the project for the work-floor.

Task leader: University of Bonn (UBO)

Fostering Responsible Research in Practice: PRINTEGER at Research Integrity Network Conference 2016

NRINJune 2016 || The PRINTEGER project was part of several presentations at the Netherlands Research Integrity Network Conference 2016 in Amsterdam on 25 May 2016. The conference aimed at fostering responsible research practices.

Prof. Dr Hub Zwart (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen) discussed integrity challenges in Ian McEwan’s Solar – on the use of novels in research and education concerning research integrity in the era of big science. In a session on the RI concept, PRINTEGER partner Marijke van Buggenhout and Prof. Dr Jenneke Christiaens (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) developed a criminological understanding of deviance in science. They argued in their presentation that a criminological understanding of deviance in science is necessary in order to explore the ecology of today’s scientific practice as a knowledge economy, and the elements that are catalyst for misconduct.

Serge Horbach and Willem Halffman from the PRINTEGER management team focussed in their presentation on the understanding of the various meanings of ‘scientific integrity’. They concluded from their analysis that there are clear differences between the discourse of ‘integrity’ in policy documents and scientific publications as well as between distinct temporal periods.

Further information and presentations can be found here.

Fascinating ‘Europe round the corner’ open day

20160525_1 May 2016 || On 13 May 2016, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen was one of the locations of the ‘Europe round the corner’ open day. As a main goal, the event aimed at showing people the tangible results of EU policy through projects in their local areas. During the open days, Dutch public bodies, businesses and knowledge institutions showcased their involvement and collaboration in and with the EU.  Within this frame, PRINTEGER project coordinator Prof. Dr Hub Zwart (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen) and project partner Serge Horbach (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen) presented the project to local residents, friends and partners, business associates, colleagues and students.

20160525_2Approximately 150 people came to the Huygens building to see projects normally not accessible to the general public. Further popular spots at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen were the Observatory, the High Field Magnet Laboratory, the Felix laser lab, the greenhouse complex with its experimental ditches and a mobile planetarium.

The event was organised by managing authorities of the four regional programmes of the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund): the municipality of Rotterdam, the province of Gelderland, the Northern Netherlands Provinces alliance (SNN) and Stimulus, together with the Ministry of Economic Affairs.  The campaign won a European Public Communication Award last year. Other EU member states have now adopted the open days concept.

For further information visit:

1st PRINTEGER Policy Advisory Board Meeting on 9 March 2016 in Brussels

panel-1024x682The PRINTEGER consortium met with a panel of eleven European research policy makers on 9 March 2016 in Brussels. Objectives involved safeguarding the realism, relevance and impact of the PRINTEGER project. The Panel members supported the project partners to keep a close eye on priorities, salient policy questions, and advice for crucial decisions where policy opportunities or possibilities for coordination with other initiatives could occur. Find impressions of the meeting here.

Interview with PRINTEGER Coordinator Prof. Dr Hub Zwart

Hub Zwart, coordinator of the PRINTEGER project, is Professor of Philosophy at the Faculty of Science (Radboud University Nijmegen), director of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society and scientific director of the Centre for Society and the Life Sciences (CSG).

Read more…

Research Integrity as an Organisational Responsibility

Work  on  task 2.6 has  started,  where  we  will  take  stock  of  current  literature  on organisational conditions for misconduct and integrity and discuss the application on research conducting organisations.
Taks Leader: Oslo and Akershus University College (HIAO)

Deviance in Science: A Criminological Analysis

Prof. Dr Jenneke Christiaens and Marijke Van Buggenhout (VUB) have started working on the Deviance in Science chapter in task 2.5. In this task, we will take stock of relevant criminological debates to analyse the criminological dimensions of scientific deviance: (1) characterising scientific misconduct as a deviance; (2) understanding scientific deviance as a process where individual, situational and macro dimensions interact.
Task Leader: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

Legal Analysis: Can Scientific Misconduct be Legally Qualified According to Currently Applicable law?

At Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), the team of legal researchers comprising Prof. Dr Serge Gutwirth and Prof. Dr Gloria González Fuster has started working on Task II.4 Legal analysis, devoted to a mapping of the legal framing of scientific misconduct – as part of the multidisciplinary mapping of research integrity and misconduct of WP2. In this context, VUB researchers are taking stock of existing research projects and literature, and investigating the legal instruments and notions relevant for the field both at a European level and in the national legal frameworks of the partner’s Member States.
Task Leader: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

Inventory of key Documents on Research Integrity Available

The team of the University of Tartu (CEUT) compiled a general list of policy documents addressing integrity and misconduct from all over the world. The number of documents included is impressive, consisting of more than hundred documents. The inventory is a list including the following information: organisation that produced the document, name of the document, date, region, target group, type of the document (e.g. guidelines, statement, report), whether following the policy stated in the document is mandatory, and whether the document describes procedures for dealing with alleged misconduct.
In the second stage of the work the focus was more concretely on countries represented in the project. With the help of project partners, more detailed information was added about the documents of research institutions and national policies of participating countries: purpose of the document; whether the document describes rules, principles and/or values; definition of misconduct (if available); possible sanctions, and process of formulating the document (if available). The inventory is a living document and can grow during the project.
Task leader: University of Tartu (CEUT)

PRINTEGER kicked-off in Nijmegen in September 2015

The kick-off meeting of the PRINTEGER project was held at the campus of Radboud University Nijmegen (RU) on 28-29 September 2015. We had guest appearances of the Head of the University Board, Prof. Dr. Gerard Meijer, as well as the Dean of the Science Faculty, Prof. Dr Stan Gielen. Also, Dr Isidoros Karatzas, Head Ethics and Research Integrity of the European Commission, joined us for a substantial part of the meeting, as well as Hannelis Linders, Head of the RU Academic Integrity Board. The sessions of the kick-off meeting were very useful, and all members are looking forward to make this project a success and meaningful for the European Community.
For impressions of the meeting please visit Photos of the kick-off meeting.

First Local Stakeholder Panel Meetings

As a part of the Dissemination and Communication work package, small advisory stakeholder panels have been set up by the partners. These local panels will guarantee that the project remains connected to real concerns in research organisations and provide a fresh look at the project. The panels have to assure that the project’s strong work-floor focus is maintained throughout the project and will provide a voice in priorities and demarcations of the project for the work floor.
First scoping meetings took place between September 2015 and February 2016. The partners introduced PRINTEGER and the stakeholders demonstrated their interest in the project and expressed their ideas as well as recommendations on the topic. After the meetings, short reports were drafted.