1. Upholding scientific standards
Researchers have a responsibility to take account of all relevant evidence and present it without omission, misrepresentation or deception.
This means making sure that the selection and formulation of research questions, and the conceptualisation or design of research undertakings, does not predetermine an outcome, and does not exclude unwanted findings from the outset. Data and information must not knowingly be fabricated, or manipulated in a way that might lead to distortion. Integrity requires researchers to strive to ensure that research findings are reported by themselves, the contractor or the funding agency truthfully, accurately and comprehensively. This includes the distribution and publication of information about their research through the popular media. In order to avoid misinterpretation of findings and misunderstandings, researchers have a duty to communicate their results in as clear a manner as possible. However strongly the goal of objectivity is pursued, no researcher can approach a subject entirely without preconceptions and any research will undoubtedly be coloured by the individual approach of the researcher. It is therefore also the responsibility of researchers to balance the need for rigour and validity with a reflexive awareness of the impact of their own personal values on the research. Finally, integrity means that researchers primarily serve scholarly and public interests. Economic gain or material advantage should not override scholarly, public or ethical considerations.
Socio-economic researchers should endeavour to:
- ensure factual accuracy and avoid misrepresentation, fabrication, suppression or misinterpretation of data 1.1; Apx1 3.4
- take account of the work of colleagues, including research that challenges their own results, and acknowledge fully any debts to previous research as a source of knowledge, data, concepts and methodology 1.3; Apx3 3.8
- critically question authorities and assumptions to make sure that the selection and formulation of research questions, and the conceptualisation or design of research undertakings, do not predetermine an outcome, and do not exclude unwanted findings from the outset 1.1; Apx1 3.4
- ensure the use of appropriate methodologies and the availability of the appropriate skills and qualifications in the research team 1.2; Apx2 3.1; 3.2
- demonstrate an awareness of the limitations of the research, including the ways in which the characteristics or values of the researchers may have influenced the research process and outcomes, and report fully on any methodologies used and results obtained (for instance when reporting survey results, mentioning the date, the sample size, the number of non-responses and the probability of error) 1.1; Apx1 3.4
- declare any conflict of interest that may arise in the research funding or design, or in the scientific evaluation of proposals or peer review of colleagues work 1.7; Apx7 3.7
- report their qualifications and competences accurately and truthfully to contractors and other interested parties, declare the limitations of their own knowledge and experience when invited to review, referee or evaluate the work of colleagues, and avoid taking on work they are not qualified to carry out 1.2; Apx2 3.7
- ensure methodology and findings are open for discussion and full peer review 1.9; Apx9 3.7
- ensure that research findings are reported by themselves, the contractor or the funding agency truthfully, accurately, comprehensively and without distortion. In order to avoid misinterpretation of findings and misunderstandings, researchers have a duty to seek the greatest possible clarity of language when imparting research results 1.3; Apx3; 1.8; Apx8 3.6
- ensure that research results are disseminated responsibly and in language that is appropriate and accessible to the target groups for whom the research results are relevant 1.8; Apx8 3.6
- avoid professional behaviour likely to bring the socio-economic research community into disrepute
- ensure fair and open recruitment and promotion, equality of opportunity and appropriate working conditions for research assistants whom they manage, including interns/stagiaires and research students 1.5; Apx5; 1.6; Apx6 2.2; 2.3; 3.2
- honour their contractual obligations to funders and employers
- declare the source of funding in any communications about the research.