Responsible Conduct of Research – Research Integrity and Ethics in Georgian Universities (ETHICS)

The aim of the national structural reform project ‘Responsible Conduct of Research – Research Integrity and Ethics in Georgian Universities (ETHICS)’ is to launch a systemic improvement intervention to improve the quality of University and Research-Performing Organizations (RPOs) research through launching measures to adhere to the foundations of high-quality research and excellence.

The ETHICS Project Objectives:

  • Policy and Standard Change in Accreditation of Doctoral Programs/Capacity Building of Accreditation Experts/Development of a MOOC: to assist the review and the reflection of the mechanisms of research ethics, academic good faith, and plagiarism regulation in the accreditation standards of doctoral programs to be implemented by Georgian authorities – the GoG/Ministry and National Education Quality Enhancement Center (NCEQE); to assist NCEQE in implementing the change in accreditation and authorization standards and assessment process, capacity building of experts and NCEQE staff, and development of training materials (e.g. a MOOC).
  • Research Integrity Module: to design and elaborate a training module and MOOC on RESEARCH INTEGRITY & ETHICS intended for all individuals for academic career: PhD candidates, young researchers (starting researchers), and student supervisors, etc. The module is intended to become a reference training to be embedded across the curricula to train future academics and researchers.

  • Training of Researchers and Research Support [INTEGRITY] Officers: to develop and deliver a ToT on skills and resources to conduct research to the highest ethics and integrity standards. Training on Responsible Conduct of Research – Research Integrity and Ethics is given to trainers, preferably to research support [INTEGRITY] officers, to conduct multiplier in-house trainings for researchers and academics, supervisors of doctoral fellows and program coordinators that intends conducting research in such a way that allows others to have confidence and trust in the methods and the findings of studies/research. Equally important are enhancement of research visibility and development communication tools. Universities are urged to provide a mandatory research integrity training for all staff and students involved in research (for massive use purposes MOOC can be a tool for embedding in a view on the training – a blended offer).

  • University Research Integrity Policies, Ethics, and Resources: to elaborate a framework of policies and regulations that are conducive to conducting Research and Innovation based on the principles of research integrity, i.e. a new and functional Research Ethics Code at each institution (embracing and modelling guidelines from other resources and networks such as ALLEA, synergy projects SOPs4RI, H2020INTEGRITY, and Erasmus+ CBHE INTEGRITY).

  • Research Integrity, Ethics & Governance Committee/Board: to form a research governance board/Research Ethics Committee (REC) that has the overarching institutional responsibility for research integrity providing policy direction to ensure that appropriate structures, groups, and processes are in place for conducting ethical reviews of research and measures to investigate allegations of misconduct.

  • Academic Support and Research Integrity Services for Supportive Environment for Researchers/Doctoral Students: to design and co-develop services for academics and research practitioners through introducing a research support officer/research integrity officer function, training and guidance to adherence to principles, professional standards, and methods of conducting research that are trustworthy and high quality including honesty in reporting and full acknowledgement. Duties of integrity officers may include working closely with researchers to clarify doubts in best practices, assess allegations of misconduct practices, design and develop policy documents, etc.
  • Responsible Science Communication Strategy: to assist the participating universities in designing a public communication of science and innovation strategy that is central to ideas on Research Data Management and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and open data/open science and accompanied measures for at least an annual event for science communication activities. The communication needs to address the raising the awareness of doctoral students about research ethics and integrity.