Mapping the Ethics and Research Integrity Normative Framework

Specific Challenge

The area of Research Ethics and Integrity is fast evolving. In the EU and internationally, new legislation, codes and good practices are constantly being developed. In this complex environment, researchers cannot easily identify and be aware of the rules to be followed. This also constitutes a challenge for the ethics/integrity experts.


The action aims at providing a dynamic mapping of the ethics/integrity normative framework which applies to scientific research conducted by European research teams, in the EU and beyond. The work undertaken shall primarily aim at supporting the work of researchers and ethics/integrity review committees.

The action shall design the most appropriate mapping methodology, the processes and institutions to be mapped and produce appropriate process maps, indicating the criteria/dimensions (geographic scope, thematic coverage, stakeholder involvement, etc.) and enable comparative analysis. The outcome of the mapping action shall stimulate knowledge transfer and ultimately promote the uptake of the highest ethical standards. In order to facilitate this role, English summary/abstract of the normative elements (e.g. legislation, code, etc.) focusing on the main practical requirements/recommendations should be made available.

Researchers shall also be helped to distinguish between the legislation that must be applied (highlighting the practical obligations) and the soft laws and best practices that must be taken into account (illustrating them with concrete examples) in the research design and implementation to guarantee the compatibility with the highest ethical standards.

The resulting mapping shall be made available online and include beyond the constitutive elements of the normative framework information on the available trainings and education activities as well as on where to find appropriate ethics/integrity expertise Practical information on how to comply with the legislation and standards should be provided (e.g. website relevant bodies, etc.) and regularly updated. In addition, the work must rely on a real case and scenario building approach based on existing literature, court cases etc. The mapping shall also include contact details of the ethics and research integrity committees/bodies and other relevant authorities (e.g. for personal data protection) which shall deliver the necessary approvals/authorisations. The construction and update of this online database must be done in close cooperation with the "European Ethics and Research Integrity Network" which is supported by Horizon 2020[1]. This cooperation shall notably ensure positive synergies and guarantee the long term continuity/sustainability of the resulting output.

In addition to the above cited network and in order to avoid duplication of work already undertaken, it is essential to ensure that the publicly available results from relevant EU funded research projects (from FP7 and Horizon 2020) are taken into account.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of the order of EUR 3.8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

This action allows for the provision of financial support to third parties in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes.

Expected Impact

The proposed action will facilitate the work of the researchers to comply with research integrity and ethics standards and legislation while improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the research ethics/ integrity committees and competent national bodies. Consequently, the excellence of public and private research in the European Research Area will be promoted.

[1]Science with and for Society Work Programme 2014-2015, Topic GARRI.10.2015 This network aims to identify and share good practices and raise the awareness of ethics and research integrity among the research community, taking into account the diversity of stakeholders. It should notably create an e-community/database (using the EU commission tool SINAPSE hosted on the EU data centre) of European and whenever relevant international experts in the different fields of research ethics and integrity.

Application date
Social sciences