The VSNU Code obliges scientific practitioners not only to respect the general principles of sincerity and scrupulousness, reliability, verifiability, impartiality, independence, and responsibility but also to do everything within their power to promote and ensure compliance with these principles in their academic environment.
These principles of scientific integrity are generally agreed upon, witness the regulations that are published by, for example, The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, the APA, and the ICMJE. All researchers are responsible for proper conduct of research, not only of their own, but also of their fellow researchers. Differences in hierarchy may make it difficult to report improper behaviour. RICDE has therefore appointed two Research Integrity Officers, Machteld Hoeve and Jannet van Drie, who are available for questions and advice. In addition, researchers can contact the UvA confidential advisers for questions, and for filing an official complaint. More information on academic integrity at the UvA.
In the interest of verifiability, good data management is essential. For this reason, as from 1 September 2014, researchers from the Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE) are required to upload information after finishing their data collection and upon acceptance of a paper. PhD candidates are required to complete RDM before they are admitted to their thesis defence.
According to The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Practice as described by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the following principles and best practices for scientific practitioners can be distinguished: scrupulousness, reliability, verifiability, impartiality, and independence. The principle of verifiability implies that “Whenever research results are publicized, it is made clear what the data and the conclusions are based on, where they were derived from and how they can be verified.” (see The Netherlands Code of conduct for Scientific Practice. Principles of good scientific teaching and research, VSNU, 2004, revision 2012, 2014).
Purpose of research data management
The storing and archiving of these documents serves multiple goals. Firstly, it is an extra safeguard against the loss of data files. Secondly, it can help to solve possible concerns of careless data analyses or reporting, or fraud. Thirdly, the research institute is the official owner (or co-owner) of the data and thus obliged to have the disposal of the data.
In case of an official request, the research institute will decide whether the data are made available in accordance with official regulations. The uploaded data will not be made available to third parties without consulting the researcher.
When to upload data
After finishing the data collection of a study, RICDE researchers must submit the following documents to the Data Management Depository:
- a research protocol or research plan,
- data file containing the raw data of the study, and
- code book that describes what the data means.
When a paper is accepted for publication, the following documents should be submitted to the Data Management Depository:
- the final processed data file(s),
- the accompanying scripts, and
- PDF of the accepted paper.
Description what the data means
The script files should give a full description of how the results that are described in the paper can be obtained. That is, for example, all syntax files (e.g., SPSS syntax) that are needed to obtain the processed data file(s) from the raw data file, and all syntax files that are needed to run the statistical analyses that are reported in the paper. In case no computer program syntax is available (e.g., because data were processed by hand, or through the program menu), then please describe the necessary steps in an accompanying document. A manual is available on intranet.
The regulations described are minimum requirements. Researchers can of course upload additional information, such as the names of all persons involved in the study and their respective roles (e.g., data collection, statistical support, etc.), a description of deviations from the original study design or procedures as described in the original research protocol, informed consent forms, raw data (e.g., transcription of interviews), etc.
Storage of non-digital data
According to The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Practice, raw research data are stored for at least five years. Study materials that cannot be stored electronically in the Data Management Depository (e.g., paper, tapes), will be stored and managed centrally by the department “Documentaire Informatievoorziening”, DIV.
For more information on research data management at RICDE, please consult Research Data Manager Harry Garst.
Code of Conduct
In order to ensure honest scientific practice, researchers of the Department of Child Development and Education should pay attention to the following matters.
The Faculty Ethics Review Board safeguards the rights, safety, dignity and well-being of research participants. Prior to data collection, permission of the Faculty Ethics Review Board is required. Researchers must submit an application that includes a description of the design, participants, procedures, and methods. The Faculty Ethics Review Board also regulates procedures for passive and active informed consent.
In the interest of verifiability, good data management is essential. Therefore researchers are required to upload information to the Data Management Depository every time they finish data collection and every time an empirical paper gets accepted for publication. Guidelines for how to proceed are drawn up in a separate document, published on intranet. These regulations hold for all data (co-)owned by RICDE.
Ownership of data
RICDE is official owner (sometimes co-owner) of all data collected in its research projects. When ownership is ambiguous or when the responsible researcher leaves the institute, agreements about ownership and use of data should be established in a formal letter (e.g., if research is conducted in collaboration with an organization or individual outside the UvA). In case a third party demands access to the data, the research institute, in accordance with official regulations, will decide whether the data are made available. The uploaded data will not be made available to third parties without consulting the responsible researcher.
Data analysis and report
When analyzing data and reporting results, researchers should refrain from questionable research practices. Examples of research practices that can be considered questionable are selective omission of research results without mention (e.g., leaving out participants, groups, conditions or measurements should be reported and justified) and continuing or discontinuing data collection dependent on the significance of the results.
Authorship of scientific writings is reserved for persons who substantially contribute. To prevent problems, it is advised to agree on author sequence beforehand, although the sequence can be changed later when appropriate. Please notice that most journals follow their own specific norms for authorship. Some journals require an explicit credit that reflects the relative scientific or professional contributions of the individuals involved.
Reporting on data collection and data analysis should be transparent and verifiable in accordance with prevailing principles, such as the VSNU Code. Journals can also set standards to meet certain requirements concerning data availability, methods, or have reporting guidelines, to prevent questionable research practices. In addition, journals may have restrictions regarding prior publication.
In general, dissemination of "working papers" to a limited audience will not jeopardize publication, but the publication of thesis chapters can. To prevent problems, please indicate for which chapters an embargo is required when uploading your thesis in the Digital Academic Repository (DARE).
Accurate source references serve to ensure that credit is awarded where credit is deserved. Issues concerning correct citation practice were drawn up in an advisory memorandum by Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW).