Expanding Research Integrity: A Cultural-Practice Perspective

Science and Engineering Ethics 27 (1):1-23 (2021)
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Research integrity is usually discussed in terms of responsibilities that individual researchers bear towards the scientific work they conduct, as well as responsibilities that institutions have to enable those individual researchers to do so. In addition to these two bearers of responsibility, a third category often surfaces, which is variably referred to as culture and practice. These notions merit further development beyond a residual category that is to contain everything that is not covered by attributions to individuals and institutions. This paper discusses how thinking in RI can take benefit from more specific ideas on practice and culture. We start by articulating elements of practice and culture, and explore how values central to RI are related to these elements. These insights help identify additional points of intervention for fostering responsible conduct. This helps to build “cultures and practices of research integrity”, as it makes clear that specific times and places are connected to specific practices and cultures and should have a place in the debate on Research Integrity. With this conceptual framework, practitioners as well as theorists can avoid using the notions as residual categories that de facto amount to vague, additional burdens of responsibility for the individual.



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