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Standards will ensure credible health research

New standards will help researchers to conduct responsible research that maintains scientific integrity from start to finish. The standards are intended as a supplement to the new joint guidelines for responsible conduct of research at AU.

2015.04.10 | Henriette Stevnhøj

CHealth is now starting to use a new set of standards for responsible conduct of research.

In the wake of the recently approved guidelines for the responsible conduct of research at Aarhus University, Health introduces a set of standards that are particularly applicable to research activities within the health sciences.

Vice-Dean Lise Wogensen has headed the work of developing the standards. She underlines that the health science research carried out at Aarhus University has a good reputation. But when a 2012 survey revealed that both younger and more-experienced researchers from Health were uncertain about how they should store their own data or react to suspicions of breaches of good scientific practice, it also started the work of making the principles more specific.

"The purpose of the standards is to apply the important intentions of the guidelines so that the researchers can translate the specific principles into their day-to-day research activities. The standards must support the researchers when it comes to conducting transparent and trustworthy research each and every day," says Lise Wogensen.

The standards specify when a researcher can be included as co-author of a scientific article, how to prepare a protocol, and what demands will be made for the collection, processing and storage of data.

"We found out that what was needed was some simple information about how to handle authorship issues and the like, so we have adapted the standards accordingly. The section on publishing and authorship precisely describes how to meet the criteria, which provides a common understanding and avoids leaving room for other interpretations which may otherwise give rise to discussion and differences of opinion in a research group," says Lise Wogensen.

Standards for responsible conduct of research at Health (PDF)


AU gets new guidelines on responsible conduct of research


The senior management team has approved university-wide guidelines and a new set of rules for responsible conduct of research at AU. This is the result of a process including consultations among the academic environments and the academic councils.

The guidelines and the rules have been developed on the basis of international recommendations for the area and the new Danish guidelines in the Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.

The new guidelines mean that Aarhus University gets:

  • A university-wide policy on research integrity.
  • Clear and precise discipline-specific standards for responsible conduct of research.
  • Mandatory training in responsible conduct of research at all levels.
  • Clear procedures for handling suspicion of breach of responsible conduct of research.
  • Special advisers on research integrity.


Special advisers will provide confidential and independent support

In relation to the new guidelines, a special advisor in responsible conduct of research must be appointed at each faculty. This person will be someone who staff and students can contact to obtain confidential, independent and professional advice on questions concerning responsible conduct of research or in the event of suspected breaches of the guidelines.

The special adviser's task is to be available to provide advice, to stay updated on current legislation, contribute to the teaching activities in research integrity and responsible conduct of research and to provide an anonymous annual report about the nature of inquiries received.

The requirements for the special advisor are that the person question must have an affiliation with Health, either as an active researcher or emeritus professor, and also have a deep understanding of responsible scientific practice. In addition, there will be an emphasis on experience with mediation, as a large part of the function is to act as a mediator in cases of conflict.

The process of appointing a special adviser (and deputy) will begin in April when the departments will be asked to recommend candidates.

Read the new guidelines and find out more about responsible conduct of research 

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