Make codes for research integrity practical

Health Research Board Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.

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I welcome the timely release of a Code of Ethics for Researchers by the World Economic Forum (WEF; see Nature 555, 5; 2018). I am concerned, however, that the simplicity of the seven principles could render this code unusable by researchers.

As chair of the drafting group for the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, published by ALLEA (All European Academies), I recommend that scientists read the WEF’s code of ethics in parallel with other codes, such as ours (see The European code is built on the views of a range of stakeholder organizations such as the European Network of Research Integrity Offices, ensuring comprehensive advice on how to implement good research practice.

For example, the WEF’s code encourages ‘engagement with decision-makers’. This might not be easy for researchers who are unfamiliar with policy windows or with the best way to present evidence to decision-makers who are trying to balance many other inputs. The European code offers practical guidance, and the 2017 Brussels Declaration (see sets out responsibilities for all actors, including researchers, to ensure reliable, evidence-based policymaking.

Nature 556, 436 (2018)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-04899-3

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