On October 12, 2020, the respected scientific journal Nature (impact factor 42.778) published a Commentary “Research Integrity: nine ways to move from talk to walk” (available at https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02847-8). Among the authors of the article, there are two researchers from the University of Split School of Medicine – Prof. Ana Marušić, MD, PhD and Rea Ščepanović, mag. iur.
The article emphasises the importance of research integrity for research organisations, especially their role in establishing research integrity policies and practices. Moreover, the European Union has announced that in the next funding period from the Horizon programme – Horizon Europe – a strong commitment to research integrity will be required from research organisations in order to be eligible for funding. Authors of the Nature article suggested several initiatives to help research organisations in creating research integrity policies and adhere to strong research integrity culture.
These initiatives are gathered and developed in the project Standard Operating Procedures for Research Integrity (SOPs4RI) (https://sops4ri.eu/).
The members of the research team from the University of Split are Prof. Ana Marušić, MD, PhD (team leader), Rea Ščepanović, mag. iur., and Ivan Buljan, PhD. Other participants on this project are the University of Aarhus, Denmark (project coordinators), Vrije University Amsterdam and Amsterdam University Medical Centers, the Netherlands, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom, Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University, the Netherlands, National Technical University of Athens, Greece, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom, University of Trento, Italy, University of Warsaw, Poland, KU Leuven, Belgium, Austrian Agency for Research Integrity (OeAWI), Health Research Board, Ireland and European Association of Research Managers and Administrators (EARMA), Brussels, Belgium (https://sops4ri.eu/meet-our-team/).
The first version of the “toolbox”, consisting of different guidance documents, has been published recently on the SOPs4RI web pages. The “toolbox” will be updated regularly with new guidance documents related to different disciplinary fields, different organisations and various research integrity issues. Some of the issues to be addressed in the toolbox are supervision and mentorship, research integrity education (including authorship issues and good publication practices, research methodology and conflict of interest in research), data management practices and research ethics structures. The full list of topics to be addressed in the toolbox is available also in the Nature article. The international reputation of the Nature in which this piece was published shows that research integrity issues are extremely important for the quality of scientific research.