ZonMw has launched a new program, Fostering Responsible Research Practices (FRRP), to encourage quality, integrity, efficiency and positive social impact in scientific and academic research. FRRP aims to build bridges between science, professional practice and policy by promoting research which is relevant, robust and transparent. It will develop and disseminate useful know-how to improve research-related practices – not just for front-line scientists and institutions, but also for policymakers, financiers and evaluators.
The project “Optimizing the responsible researcher: towards fair and constructive academic advancement” aims to describe the optimal profile of researchers in terms of their propensity to foster responsible conduct in research, and will compare this profile with existing academic incentive and reward systems. Recent years have seen high-profile initiatives to improve current criteria for assessing academic achievements (e.g. the Leiden Manifesto, the Metric Tide, Science in Transition, DORA, METRICS, Reward Alliance). Some institutions are implementing improved and innovative incentive and reward systems. It is yet unknown whether these systems will counter unintended effects of evaluation systems and unwarranted uses of performance metrics, and help to foster responsible conduct of research by selecting the scientists with a multidimensional profile (i.e. more than a good publication and citation record) and a skill-set that enables them to undertake and supervise both innovative and societally relevant research. The project will result in an evidence-based framework and a set of concrete policy recommendations for designing (or adapting) academic reward systems aimed at fostering excellent, socially responsible research.
Sarah de Rijcke is PI of the project. The team further consists of co-applicants Paul Wouters (CWTS), James Wilsdon (Sheffield), Frank Miedema (UMC Utrecht, Science in Transition) and Joeri Tijdink (VUmc); and project advisor Lex Bouter (VUmc).
The 8 projects that received funding in the ZonMw FRRP open competition are listed here: https://www.zonmw.nl/en/news-and-funding/news/detail/item/adding-value-to-research/