Responsible conduct of research

The responsible conduct of research, which includes the respect for standards and rules for research integrity and research ethics, refers to the conduct expected of the various actors carrying out research activities or activities in support of research. This conduct is based on values recognized by the international community, such as honesty, reliability and rigour, objectivity, fairness and independence, justice (especially in recognizing the contributions of others), trust, accountability and benevolence, openness and transparency.

With their Policy for the responsible conduct of research, the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) contribute to sending out an international message of pledge to the responsible conduct of research.


Written to the attention of students, researchers and institutions benefiting from FRQ funding, the Policy for the responsible conduct of research describes the fundamental elements of the responsible conduct of research in respect to the highest principals in ethics and integrity and presents the potential breaches to this conduct. It also specifies the minimal requirements regarding the management of allegations of breach to the responsible conduct of research when provincial funds are involved. In this way, it echoes the policy enunciated by the Federal funding agencies which applies when federal funds are involved: The Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research. The FRQ Policy on the responsible conduct of research came into effect September 1st 2015.

At the same time, the FRQ adopted their own internal rules defining the procedures for applying the Policy for the responsible Conduct of Research in the context of the internal activities of the Fonds. Pursuant to the Policy, a Responsible Conduct of Research Committee (RCRC) has been set up by the FRQ.

 

June 9th 2017, the Fonds de recherche du Québec held their 2nd day for the benefit of the institutions' responsible conduct of research officers. This day followed the 5th World conference on research integrity (WCRI) that took place in Amsterdam, between May 28th and 31st 2017.

The main objective of this day was to reflect on the knowledge and learning acquired since the coming into effect of the FRQ policy on the responsible conduct of research, September 1st 2015. A brief reminder of the FRQ's vision on the responsible conduct of research was presented, as well as an overview of the proposed orientations for the revision of the Policy. Furthermore, Dr. Abraham Fuks presented his memoirs as the research integrity officer of McGill University.

The FRQ also wanted to present a summary of the highlights from the 5th WCRI. The presentations from the 5th WCRI are now available in Video and PowerPoint. You can also access our highlights summary presented on June 9th 2017 (PowerPoint), as well as a text summarizing this presentation.

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Policies and rules in responsible conduct of research are continuously evolving to meet the everyday practices in research. In the last year, two important regulatory documents on the responsible conduct of research have been revised.

These documents are the :

Just like these documents, the FRQ Policy on the responsible conduct of research will be revised. Stay tuned for its new version!

A Montreal research team offer you their Podcast on the 5th World conference on research integrity (WCRI) that took place in Amsterdam!

 

The global research community is placing increasing emphasis on the responsible conduct of research. Out of a desire to reassert the importance of ethics in research, the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) are confirming their commitment to promoting and supporting the responsible conduct of research within Québec institutions by developing an approach that will respect the realities of Québec research while encompassing the complexity of today's research contexts and environments. Initiatives in this direction include the development of a single policy and common procedures relating to the responsible conduct of research, made necessary by the restructuring of the three Fonds (Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies, Fonds de recherche du Québec –  Santé and Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture) under the banner of the Fonds de Recherche du Québec (FRQ) and the leadership of the Chief Scientist of Québec.

 

 

The FRQ are in a unique position to impose minimum rules for the promotion and governance of responsible conduct of research on a provincial level. The FRQ Policy will thus bring the efforts made to promote the responsible conduct of research together around a common vision and raise awareness among all research actors about the importance of adopting responsible conduct in all of their research activities, while providing them with tools to reach this goal.

The FRQ's policy provides clear directives that are consistent with national and international best practices for the responsible conduct of research. In developing  this policy, the FRQ were largely inspired by the benchmark documents for the responsible conduct of research: The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, The Singapore Statement on Research Integrity, Honesty, Accountability and Trust: Fostering Research Integrity in Canada and the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research.

 

The Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) want to underscore the trust they place in the researchers, students and institutions benefitting from their funding. This trust lies at the heart of the discussions that led to the drawing up of this policy and is an inherent part of the global approach to ethics in research adopted by the FRQ. The FRQ have developed and intend to see this Policy evolve in collaboration with the entire research community to:

  • Foster and support research excellence, of which responsible conduct is a component;
  • Assume the Fonds' responsibilities regarding the sound management and responsible use of public funds;
  • Clarify the Fonds' expectations towards the various actors in research regarding responsible conduct of research;
  • Strengthen public trust in the allocation of public funds and the conduct of research in Québec (in short, in the excellence of research undertaken by Québec researchers);
  • Facilitate the deployment of fair and equitable processes and decision-making in managing allegations of research misconduct ;
  • Aim for a proactive and dynamic approach (which adapts to the prevailing research context) to the responsible conduct of research.

The Policy sets out best practices, describes the responsibilities of each actor and clearly defines breaches of responsible conduct of research, which include breaches of research integrity. In addition, it dictates the parameters that must be respected by institutions in managing breaches of responsible conduct of research and when relaying information to the FRQ. It also provides parameters for the management of breaches of responsible conduct of research by the FRQ, including the establishment of a responsible conduct of research committee within the FRQ.

The Policy requirements also apply to the FRQS activities in support of research. The FRQS adopted internal rules which notably describe the process for managing internal allegations of breach of responsible conduct of research.

 

On February 4 and 12 2015, the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) held their 1st Information and Education Days on the responsible conduct of research. These days followed the launched of their Policy for the responsible conduct of research, which came into effect September 1st 2015.

Organized for the benefit of the intitutions' responsible conduct of research officers, these days aimed to present the FRQ approach for the responsible conduct of research, to inform the officers of the Policy's components and to explain the minimum requirements prescribed for the management of allegations of breach. The presentations given can be found above.

The presentations are meant to be used as an educational tool for the institutions. The FRQ is currently developing other educational and training tools for the benefit of other members of the research community (researchers, students, research personnel or fund administrators). These tools will be included on our website regularly.

For those interested, the plenary presentations from the 4th World Conference on Research integrity, held in Rio May 31 to June 3 2015, can be accessed following this link!

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