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rethinking success, integrity, and culture in science

Re-SInC is a research project from Hasselt University which aims to identify issues and characteristics of the current Belgian research system in order to adapt research cultures and success indicators in a way that fosters research integrity.


Research integrity, research quality, and research success have a complex relationship with one another. In Re-SInC, we aim to understand how different perceptions of research success and research excellence may influence the current research scene. Re-SInC is an attempt to rethink scientific career evaluation by allying the views of a broad range of research actors in order to help the research system nurture quality and integrity. The project spreads over four years and is separated in four different steps. Pre-registration available here.


The first step of our project consisted of reviewing scientific literature on research integrity to better understand what is known and what is missing in the field. We found that although most empirical papers looking at solutions to prevent misconduct target the awareness and compliance of researchers (e.g., through integrity courses and guidelines), most empirical papers looking at causes for misconduct blame issues in the system, such as competition and pressures, rather than a lack of awareness from researchers. We also found that research on research integrity generally targets the views of researchers and research students, but rarely asks other important actors for their perspective (see published results here). These two findings guided our empirical project so that we would target an issue embedded in the research system (i.e., attribution of success) through the voices of an array of different actors.


The first step is to conduct focus groups with researchers, post-doctoral students, and PhD students to understand how they perceive current problems and approaches with the research system, and to understand how they interpret success, research excellence, and responsibilities in research. 

This step is now completed. We thank everyone who participated!


The second step is to conduct interviews with different research actors to grasp how their perceptions differ and align with those of researchers. Interviewees include funders, research institution leaders, policy makers and influencers, scientific editors and publishers, research integrity office members, laboratory technicians, research integrity network members, and researchers who left academia.

This step is now completed. We thank everyone who participated!


In light of the results obtained in the focus groups and in the interviews, we will build a survey to assess the representativity of our findings. This survey will be distributed with researchers in Flanders.


Finally, we will translate our findings into a set of recommendations for administrators and policy makers in the Belgian research system in order to promote the cultivation of integrity and excellence in research.



If you wish to be informed when we publish our results, you are welcome to subscribe to our mailing list!


(Don't worry, we will not bombard your mail box, and you will be able unsubscribe at any time!)



Wim Pinxten

Project Supervisor

The project is funded by UHasselt BOF Nieuw initiatief 15NI05


Hasselt University


Postal address:

Martelarenlaan 42

3500 Hasselt


Visit address:

Agoralaan Gebouw D

3590 Diepenbeek


email: noemie.aubertbonn@uhasselt.be

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