11 May 2021

swissuniversities, the Swiss National Science Foundation and Innosuisse have jointly drawn up a Code of Conduct for Scientific Integrity under the auspices of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences. It takes into account new developments in science, facilitates cooperation across institutional borders and strengthens quality assurance in research.

Possible misconduct can occur across the whole range of acquisition and dissemination of scientific knowledge: be it inadequate recognition of significant contributions to scientific publications, bias in evaluating research projects or impairment of research freedom when making private grants. The new Code of Conduct for Scientific Integrity is intended to counteract such misconduct, but also and above all to demonstrate what constitutes good practice in scientific work. Good practice is guided by the basic principles of reliability, honesty, respect and accountability. The Expert Group on Scientific Integrity has updated the principles and rules of procedure applicable to scientific integrity, and the relevant regulations dating from 2008, taking into account the European ALLEA Code of Conduct (2017).

The Code also recommends that procedural steps such as mediation, investigation, sanction and appeal be clearly defined and delimited from one another with appropriate procedural principles. Higher education institutions and funding organizations are responsible for the way in which these standards are anchored in their own regulations and implemented in practice.

After more than two years of work by the Joint Expert Group on Scientific Integrity, the Code of Conduct has now been adopted by the competent bodies of the Swiss Academies, the Swiss National Foundation, swissuniversities and Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency. The institutions of the ETH Domain – ETH Zurich and EPFL, as well as the four research institutions PSI, WSL, Empa and Eawag – place great value on the fundamental principles enshrined in the Code and welcome the joint initiative led by the various parties involved in the Swiss academic landscape.