Scientific Integrity

Good ethical practice and data management are of crucial importance at all stages of a research project and several things need to be considered. The ‘Scientific Integrity @SHE’ group ensures up to date information and resources for SHE researchers on issues related to research ethics, data management, open access and FAIR science. In addition to that, workshops in relation to Scientific Integrity topics are organized each academic year.

Research Ethics & Scientific Integrity

Research ethics is concerned with the protection of human participants in scientific research projects. Informed consent by these participants is a cornerstone of ethical acceptability of research.

SHE Researchers must comply with The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Practice and The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. Some of the highlights in this code of conduct are:

  1. Scientific activities are performed scrupulously, unaffected by mounting pressure to achieve.
  2. Science’s reputation of reliability is confirmed and enhanced through the conduct of every scientific practitioner. A scientific practitioner is reliable in the performance of his research and in the reporting, and equally in the transfer of knowledge through teaching and publication.
  3. Presented information is verifiable. Whenever research results are publicized, it is made clear what the data and the conclusions are based on, where they were derived from and how they can be verified.
  4. In his scientific activities, the scientific practitioner heeds no other interest than the scientific interest. In this respect, he is always prepared to account for his actions.
  5. Scientific practitioners operate in a context of academic liberty and independence. Insofar as restrictions of that liberty are inevitable, these are clearly stated.

For more information and the complete code of conduct, see here.


Gaining awareness about scientific integrity

Within FHML and Maastricht UMC+ the Platform Scientific Integrity is installed to create a culture of awareness regarding scientific integrity. The goal is to create an approachable and safe environment in which the topic scientific integrity is discussible.


Obtaining Ethical Approval

Ethical approval is needed for all research projects carried out within SHE and should be sought and obtained before the start of each project (i.e., before any participants are contacted). An ethical review board will assess whether you have identified ethical issues and addressed them satisfactorily; that the research process you are planning is conducted in an ethical manner; and that you are able to adequately inform participants and society about your research project and potential risks.

Each ethical review board has its own sets of procedures, questions and forms that you will need to follow, address and complete during the process of ethics approval. Typically, researchers will need to seek ethical approval from their own university or hospital.

For SHE researchers located in the Netherlands, ethical approval can be sought from the ethical review board of their own University/Faculty such as Maastricht University’s Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences – Ethical Review Committee (FHML-REC).

Alternatively, ethical approval can be sought from the Netherlands Association for Medical Education (NVMO; website in Dutch).

In certain cases, SHE researchers that do not have access to a local ethical review board, may be eligible to seek ethical approval for their project through the FHML-REC. Please discuss this together with your supervisor.

SI@SHE Roadmap

Download here the Scientific Integrity @SHE Roadmap.

SI@SHE: AI & Scientific Writing

Watch here the session 'Using AI in Scientific Writing' presented by Lorelei Lingard.

More information about our AI guidelines can be found here.