- 1 Introduction
- 2 How to establish good scientific practice
- 3 General values and considerations
- 4 Key topics
- 5 Special requirements for certain research projects
- 6 See also
The term ‘good scientific practice’ represents the standards that apply to scientific activities. These standards are continuously being developed within the individual sciences. Good scientific practice are discussed internationally under the headings ”research integrity”, ”scientific integrity”, ”good scientific practice”, ”responsible conduct of research (RCR)” and ”ethics of science.” A serious breach of good scientific practice is traditionally referred to as scientific dishonesty (research misconduct).
In Denmark, the individual research institutions are expected to carry out preventive and ongoing work to ensure compliance with good scientific practice. Since the 1990’ies, a public committee has had competence to hear many cases concerning scientific dishonesty (research misconduct) – previously the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD), now the Danish Committee on Research Misconduct. Some cases concerning scientific dishonesty have also been brought before the Danish courts.
How to establish good scientific practice
The standards of good scientific practice are continuously developed within the individual sciences and in various forums nationally and internationally. There is currently not one sole authoritative description of all standards of good scientific practice, but a series of guidelines and recommendations can be found in the following documents:
- The Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, which was drawn up by a working group under the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and Danish Universities:
- The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (revised edition 2017), which is published by ALL European Academics (ALLEA). It replaces a previous edition from 2011.
- The Singapore Statement on Research Integrity (2010)
- The Montreal Statement on Research Integrity in Cross-Boundary Research Collaborations (2013)
- DCSD’s Guidelines for Good Scientific Practice with special focus on health science, natural science and technical science (in Danish) (2009). After the Danish code (mentioned above) has been drawn up, DCSC denote these guidelines as an “historic document”.
- Guidelines for Research Ethics in Social Sciences (in Danish) (The Danish Social Science Research Council 2002)
The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty
Another important source for the definition and establishment of standards of good scientific practice are the decisions made by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD) in cases of alleged scientific dishonesty. DCSD’s decisions are available at DCSD’s website.
In addition, in 2009 DCSD published a set of Guidelines for Good Scientific Practice with special focus on health science, natural science and technical science containing
- Guidelines on research protocols and reports, data documentation and data storage in basic
- Guidelines on research protocols, data documentation and data storage in clinical and
- Guidelines on agreements at the initiation of research projects
- Guidelines relating to rights and duties concerning storage and use of research data
- Guidelines on publication matters
- Guidelines on research in the field of mathematics – including statistics
- The Danish Act on Processing of Personal Data and research projects
As indicated above, these guidelines are now referred to as “historical documents” on the DCSD’s website.
Research institutions’ principles of good scientific practice
- University of Copenhagen
- Aarhus University
- DTU – Technical University of Denmark
The Danish Council of Ethics
The Council advises and creates debate on biotechnology which affects human life, our nature, the environment, and food. The Council also works with ethical issues related to the health care sector. This is achieved in collaboration with the Central Research Ethics Committee (see health research projects).
In some areas ethical aspects are subject to codification. See among others
- Research that involves personal data
- Plagiarism, credits and good citation practice
- Health research projects
- Experiments involving animals
General values and considerations
The general internationally agreed practices are based on a number of core values for good scientific practice.
The Singapore Statement on Research Integrity emphasises the following values:
- Honesty in all aspects of research
- Accountability in the conduct of research
- Professional courtesy and fairness in working with others
- Good stewardship of research on behalf of others
The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity emphasises the following values:
- Honesty in communication
- Reliability in performing research
- Impartiality and independence
- Openness and accessibility
- Duty of care
- Fairness in providing references and giving credit
- Responsibility for the scientists and researchers of the future
The Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity emphasises honesty, transparency and accountability as the three guiding principles of good scientific practice.
The standards of good scientific practice are also affected by other values and considerations. These include considerations for freedom of research and freedom of expression and consideration for the persons or the object to which the research relates or may impact.
Good scientific practice includes among others the following topics:
Planning and execution of research
Researchers are responsible for the planning and conduct of their research, including that research is planned and performed in accordance with the standards that apply to the particular area of research. For example obtaining necessary permits, preparation of experimental protocols, logs and records. Please refer to the Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, p.8 f for more information about this.
You can read more about the requirements for planning and execution of research in the following articles on Forskerportalen:
- Research that involves personal data
- The research ethics committee system
- Register-based research
- Experiments involving animals
Provision and processing of research data (data administration)
Proper handling of research data contributes significantly to ensure the credibility and transparency of the research, which is further discussed in the Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, p. 9 f.
Read more about the requirements for this in the article on administration of research data.
Publication and dissemination of research results
The Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity lists the following standards for publication of research:
i. Research results should be published in an honest, transparent, and accurate manner
ii. Publishing the same results in more than one publication should only occur under particular, clearly explained and fully disclosed circumstances.
iii. Recycling or re-use of primary materials, data, interpretations or results should be clearly disclosed.
iv. If access to and analysis of all data are subject to limitations, this should be declared
in a clear manner to the readers of the publication. Detailed information about any role of the study sponsor concerning research design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, and publication decisions should be provided in the manuscript.
v. When using one’s own work and the work of other researchers in a publication, appropriate
and accurate references to such work should be provided.
vi. The right of researchers to unrestricted publication of their research should be respected.
These obligations are the responsibility of the involved researchers, but research institutions also have a duty to support the researchers’ compliance with this obligation, see more in the Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, page 11.
Please refer to the articles on:
- General information about publication
- Good citation practice
- Overlapping publications and self-plagiarism
- Dissemination and freedom of expression of researchers
Research collaborations can give rise to a number of legal research and research ethics issues. You can read more about this in General information on research collaborations.
Conflicts of interests
You can read more at conflicts of interest .
Special requirements for certain research projects
Health research projects
To ensure that health research projects are conducted in an ethically responsible manner, a scientific ethical committee system has been established in Denmark. You can read more about this here.
Experiments involving animals
Specific legal rules apply to animal experiments. Read more about these legal bounds of research here
Socially responsible research