As a minimum common frame of reference for good research practices (notwithstanding other frameworks), ”la Caixa” Foundation adopts the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (ALLEA), which all research and innovation activities conducted with funding from our organization must respect.
As set out in this code, good research practices are based on fundamental principles of integrity. They guide researchers in their work as well as in their engagement with the practical, ethical and intellectual challenges inherent in research.
These principles are:
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 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.
Research misconduct is traditionally defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism (known as the FFP categorization) in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results:
Fabrication is making up results and recording them as if they were real.
Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment or processes or changing, omitting or suppressing data or results without justification.
Plagiarism is using other people’s work and ideas without giving proper credit to the original source, thus violating the rights of the original author(s) to their intellectual outputs.
These are just three of the most usual forms of misconduct, but unfortunately there are many others that must also be avoided, in particular the violation of professional, legal and ethical responsibilities. Examples of such unacceptable practices include bias in the independence of studies, exaggerating findings, lack of scientific rigour, collaborating with abusive publications, breaching duties of confidentiality, misuse of personal data, violating the rights of people and/or animals in research and failure to respect the environment, etc.
The collaboration of all agents involved is essential in detecting and combatting cases of misconduct. Consequently, anyone having knowledge of improper conduct in research of any nature must report this, in the first instance, to the heads of their centre who in turn will notify ”la Caixa” Foundation, should the project have received or be receiving support from our institution. The ”la Caixa” Foundation contact person will be the corresponding project manager. If ”la Caixa” Foundation receives information about possible misconduct carried out within the framework of a project receiving support from the Foundation it will inform the research performing organization.