Here we provide information on the ways through which the Institute of Psychology aims to foster responsible scholarship practices: conducting research with integrity, and meeting the needs for better quality and efficiency in psychological science.
Responsible scholarship involves many aspects, such as everyday decisions (e.g., who will be a co-author), norms and values (e.g., under which conditions do I share my data), as well as policies and practices (e.g., how do we stimulate sound research methods within our institute) that shape the quality and integrity of our research culture and output. Going beyond basic standards for ethical research involving human subjects, we aim to raise awareness for questionable research practices and to provide help with the many ‘grey area’ dilemmas researchers face. Because best practices in the area of research(er) integrity are constantly developing, our institute relies on continuous learning from each other, discussion, and recalibration of our integrity compass–an open culture that we can only accomplish together.
In the last decade, best practices in psychological research have shifted. These changes go hand in hand with reforms in methodology, academic integrity, and open science/scholarship. They combat questionable research practices (e.g., selective reporting), and are meant to provide a stronger foundation on which we can build a cumulative psychological science. However, with many changes come many difficult questions, and psychological researchers often must make difficult decisions that are not black (wrong) or white (right). Examples of this are: should we publish now or continue the project to ensure more robust conclusions? Should we replicate before trying to publish? Should we leave out a pilot study with null results? Did I contribute enough to be a co-author? How do I give credit to my master-student? How do we help each other to openly discuss what can be improved? What is good practice when it comes to handling possible bias?
To cultivate and promote research integrity and facilitate decision making on such ‘grey area’ issues, the following initiatives are currently being set up. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with ideas, initiatives, comments, experiences, dilemmas, best practices, etc.
To increase transparency about how we work and ‘where to go with which question’, we are creating the following resources:
- a flowchart to help both students and staff find information regarding where to go with dilemmas and questions about responsible scholarship practices
- Materials with examples and best practices of responsible scholarship, to inspire by example
- inventory and filling of gaps of responsible scholarship topics covered in our bachelor and master education programmes, such that integrity related topics (together with the topics of open science and ethics for research with human participants) run throughout the program (organized in close collaboration with the teaching committees).
We have developed a workshop for staff to a) discuss responsible scholarship practices, and b) help research groups to implement these practices into their daily research routines. This workshop has toured the departments, and we are currently in the follow-up phase. It is currently tailored to our institute because it builds on both national and international material developed over the last few years, as well as on ‘local ingredients’ such as personal stories, content of our faculty’s scientific conduct course, and the wealth of experiences and knowledge within our local network (including the integrity workgroup, research committees within our own institute, experienced staff members and teachers, Open Science and Recognition and Rewards initiatives, and so on). The workshop slides and accompanying materials will soon be available as an Open Eductional resouce for trainers and scholars, and can be adapted for other disciplines.
The abovementioned initiatives center around developing, teaching and providing timely and relevant information on responsible scholarship for students and staff and creating an open, reflective culture. These efforts will lay the foundations for two resources. Resource 1 is a network of experts knowledgeable about responsible scholarship practices. This network will be in close contact with similar initiatives in our university and the LUMC, the open science community and other stakeholders, and be a resource on best practices, integrity dilemmas, etc. Resource 2 will be created from this knowledge base: a group of responsible scholarship experts who serve as a first point of contact (i.e., a consultant) for questions on responsible practices and grey zones of scientific integrity.
For questions and suggestions related to the responsible research initiatives mentioned above please contact:
Dr. Anna van ‘t Veer, assistant professor Methodology and Statistics
Dr. Eiko Fried, associate professor Clinical Psychology