Research integrity: ALLEA code – European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity

You can use slides and information from this research tip, taking into account the conditions as set out in following Creative Commons license:

The ALLEA code

The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, is better known in the research community as the “ALLEA code”, simply because it was drafted by All European Academies (ALLEA), the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities.
The ALLEA code provides a European comprehensive framework for self-regulation across all scientific and scholarly disciplines and for all research settings. The code is set up as a guidance to help researchers realize their professional responsibility concerning the practical, ethical and intellectual challenges inherent to research. It shapes the theoretical framework of research integrity by defining the underlying values (beliefs, ideals) in research and guides the translation into action oriented norms for daily research practice. In this way it defines Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).
The code was originally published in 2011 and got a first major revision in 2017. For the future more regular (but probably less radical) updates will be provided, starting one in 2023.
Besides in English, the code is translated in 21 other languages. All of them can be consulted here.

4 principles and many norms

The code starts from 4 main principles:
Reliability in ensuring the quality of research, reflected in the design, the methodology, the analysis and the use of resources.
Honesty in developing, undertaking, reviewing, reporting and communicating and communicating research in a transparent, fair, full and unbiased way.
Respect for colleagues, research participants, society, ecosystems, cultural heritage and the environment.
Accountability for the research from idea to publication, for its management and organization, for training, supervision and mentoring, and for its wider impacts.

The ALLEA code also describes more action oriented norms, based on these 4 values, categorised as good research practices in the following contexts:
• Research environment
• Training, supervision and mentoring
• Research procedures
• Safeguards
• Data practices and management
• Collaborative working
• Publication and dissemination
• Reviewing, evaluating and editing

Attention is given to the responsibilities of all stakeholders. The code also offers examples of bad research practices (fraud: fabrication, falsification and plagiarism) as well as an non-exhaustive list of what are called "other unacceptable practices" and how to deal with these violations.

Beyond the ALLEA code

The European Commission recognises the ALLEA code as the reference document for research integrity for all EU-funded research projects and as a model for organisations and researchers across Europe. Therefore it is thé leading code of conduct for Europe but it is also commonly used outside of Europe.

In recent years, many institutions have expressed their views and policies on research integrity. In order to arrive at a uniform and shared vision of research integrity, a World Conference on Research Integrity is organised every two years, each time focusing on a different topic, e.g. research collaboration, research(er) rewards & assessment, … . For each conference, a 'Statement' was formulated and endorsed by the worldwide research community. Go to the different statements here.

Also other actors in the field, such as disciplinary organizations, journals, faculties, etc. have made additional guidelines, translating the ALLEA norms to their specific context e.g. in relation to the example on coauthorship, ICMJE. Obviously, these additional guidelines need to be in line with the ALLEA code at all times. If this is not the case, alignment with the ALLEA code is primordial.

An attempt to map the normative framework on research integrity (guidelines, codes, legislation, standards) can be found on the wiki platform The Embassy of Good Science.

More tips

Translated tip

Last modified Sept. 20, 2022, 10:43 a.m.