Go back

ERC tackles misconduct

The European Research Council has adopted a Scientific Misconduct Strategy outlining how the ERC should respond when cases of suspected misconduct arise.

The document specifies that host institutions are responsible for the initial detection, investigation, and judgements regarding misconduct, but that they should provide the ERC with information on each case.

The ERC’s executive arm is then responsible for following up on reported cases by notifying the European Commission’s anti-fraud body, Olaf, and holding hearings with the parties involved. ERC researchers found guilty of misconduct risk having their proposals excluded from evaluation, and having existing funding suspended or terminated.

ERC vice-president Pavel Exner, who chairs the ERC committee that developed the strategy, said: “The adoption of this strategy is an important step forward toward promoting a culture of research integrity across Europe. This strategy paper gives a strong signal to the scientists who can pursue their dream ideas only if their research is 100 per cent honest”.

Examples of misconduct in the strategy include using and publishing falsified data, plagiarism of other ERC applicants’ proposals, and incorrect attribution of work.

The strategy was adopted during the ERC scientific council’s plenary session last week in Cyprus. It was prepared by the scientific council’s Standing Committee on Conflict of Interests, Scientific Misconduct and Ethical Issues.