“Science is expected to enlarge mankind’s knowledge base, provide answers to global challenges, and guide decisions that shape our societies. Yet when science is compromised by fraudulent activities, not only the research enterprise stumbles, but also society’s trust in it. Thus, researchers and leaders throughout the world should ensure that science is trustworthy to our best knowledge.” (ESF/ALLEA, 2011).
Although scientific and technological progress generally improves our quality of life, it also raises ethical challenges. With increasing frequency, research projects not only have the potential to yield enormous benefits, but also entail substantial risks. Assessing whether such risks are justifiable is a pressing concern within the scientific community. The reliability and credibility of science not only depends on excellence and productivity, but also on adherence to high ethical standards.
Fostering ethical expertise is crucial to regain public confidence in science. ENERI seeks to strengthen integrity and ethics in science by building an integrated network of RE and RI experts. RE and RI are two sides of the same coin, namely the responsible and ethical conduct of research. While RE addresses the application of ethical principles to the different fields of study, RI refers to conducting studies in accordance with pertinent legal and professional frameworks. Hence, RE and RI jointly form the normative foundation excellent science is based on.
ENERI aims to help researchers, research ethics committees and research integrity offices, but also funders and policy makers through a series of actions:
- Bringing together experts and working closely with stakeholders.
- Strengthen activities of education and training in research ethics and research integrity.
- Promote a culture of integrity, and foster the development of and compliance with joint rules and norms.
- Improve the awareness of ethical standards in the research community taking into account the diversity of stakeholders.
- Establishing an operable platform of actors in the fields of research ethics and research integrity.
- Enhance the system for research ethics committees, review boards, ombudspersons’ offices and research integrity offices.
- Make responsible, justifiable and trustworthy research possible.