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  • 00:00


  • 00:17

    NIK CLAESEN: Hello, I'm Nik Claesen.I'm the Managing Director of EARMA.That's the European Association of Research Managersand Administrators.I'm based in Belgium.I'm also Belgian myself.I live in the Greater Brussels area.And I'm quite passionate about research support.I'm a Research Administrator at heart.I used to do that job at Brussels University, VUB,

  • 00:39

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: did some consulting for Imperial Collegeas well, before I joined the Association as its ManagingDirector.So what does a EARMA do?We're the people from the RPO, Research PerformingOrganizations' administration.So what we do is support researchersto make sure that they can do the best possible research.

  • 00:59

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: So with that in mind, we are partnersin the SOPs4RI projects.That's the Standard Operating Proceduresfor Research Integrity.And what we really try to bring to the table during the projectis to bring that perspective from the administration,from the people supporting research,from the people also from the research integrity office,

  • 01:21

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: or whatever office they might be part of, wetry to bring their knowledge to our organization to make surethat the university, the research institute,does well in research integrity and make sure that it getsbetter and is compliant with everything that it needs to be,that needs to be done.And that it is best in class.

  • 01:43

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: So within the project itself, we'relooking very much to engage with each part of the project,but very much also with the pilot testingto make sure that the input from our communityis taken into account.

  • 01:56

    BORANA TARAJ: And this is Borana.I am project manager at EARMA for Ethics and ResearchIntegrity.And I'm living in Brussels now for seven yearsand working for EARMA since 2019.My background is in policy and European projects.Different topics I've been following, energy, businessenvironment, and now focused specifically

  • 02:18

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: on ethics and research integrity.My involvement in the SOPs4RI projectis mainly about building and putting togetherthe connection with our community, within EARMA,working on ethics and research integrityand making this connection flow between the two, between EARMA,

  • 02:39

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: the practitioners in ethics and research integrity,and the project itself.

  • 02:45

    NIK CLAESEN: So within EARMA we alsohave a number of subcommunities.And one of the strongest subcommunities that we have,which we call Thematic Group, is ERION,which is the Ethics and Research Integrity Officers Network.That network brings together peoplewho have job titles such as Research Integrity Officer,but really the job titles they differper organization, per country.

  • 03:07

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: But they bring together those peoplewho are looking mainly at the organizational leveland with the administration, basedon the instruction and the policy from the leadership.What does research integrity looklike within our organization?How do we need to organize it?What structure do we have?

  • 03:27

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: What don't we have?Do we need certain committees, procedures?Are we best in class, benchmarking it with others?So those people we try to bring together.We have around 200 practitioners from over 120 organizationsspread across Europe.And the idea there, really, is that we bring themtogether for best practice exchange, for--

  • 03:48

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: to be able to also explore what the fast evolving context is.Meaning, that there's much more attention for researchand integrity all of the time.And how do we adapt to that as practitioners whoare supporting the research?So these people are not the people doing the research,but supporting the research and making sure

  • 04:09

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: that the organization is one compliant,but also can be best in class, and that alsothe quality of the research across the organizationcan be improved, or it can be improved in a specific place.So that's a network that we are very proud of.So a network within our network, so to speak.Because it's really also at the forefront with practitioners,

  • 04:31

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: really not the people involved in the research and researchintegrity, but the people who needto make it happen on the ground towards researchers,towards the organization.So that's our group, ERION, which is highly relevant,of course.Because it is engaging with the SOPs4RI project.And it's really also largely their voicethat we want to be heard within the project.

  • 05:01

    BORANA TARAJ: Yes.And as Nick mentioned, the implementation point of viewis key for our community and what we alsotry to make a contribution into the project.We are trying to look at sustainability in the long run,and trying to make sure that the guidelines, thatwill be an outcome of the project,are easy to implement from all the levels of actors involved.

  • 05:25

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: But also, they are embraced by these actors.And therefore, when we think about the guidelines,and we involve our community and work with the other partners,we try to think about top management having,the point of view of the top management,but also the point of view of the researcher,and the point of view of the administrators.

  • 05:47

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: This is key if we think that sometimes changing researchcultures takes time.And if we do not think about all of these people being involved,then the risk is that these guidelines,at some point, when there will be available,they won't to be adopted and used in the everyday practice.

  • 06:09

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: How we try to do this, it's about involving our communityof research integrity officers in the different activitiesof the project.They have been largely involved insome co-creational workshops, which happened last year.But also in the focus groups, we had more than 50 people

  • 06:30

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: from our community involved in this.And starting this year, we will focus specificallyon the pilot testing of the activities of the guidelines.And we have also, again, involved our community.And we are discussing this also in our regular meetings.These guidelines, we really care that these are practical,

  • 06:51

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: easy to use one day, and they are also supportedby all actors in the field.

  • 07:06

    NIK CLAESEN: So what's the added valueof us bringing the expertise from what we consider researchmanagers into this project?The thing there is that, in a lot of cases,rules have been developed by various organizations,agencies, in various contexts.And in a lot of cases, they were obviously well thought of,

  • 07:28

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: but not including all of the stakeholders,and often not the university administration or researchinstitute administration, the research performingorganization administration.And in a number of cases, you would think, OK.This makes sense.This is really what we want to do.This is the route we want to travel.But then, when it would come downto bringing that to the level of the administration,

  • 07:50

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: it would be difficult to implement,or impossible to implement, or notcompatible with certain laws or practices thatwere active in a country.And then when we're working in a European context,you, of course, see that multiply times 27.And when you include associated countries, obviously,it's a lot more, when we're looking at European funding.And in that perspective, we want to, for what I

  • 08:13

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: think might be one of the first times within a projectsuch as these, bring in not only the viewpointof the leadership, and the various levels of leadership,meaning top leadership, middle management,meaning the administrations.And obviously, the most important thingon our side, the researchers that absolutely that haveto do the research, and we're trying to bring in that chain

  • 08:35

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: and think, at each point within what the project is doing,are we respecting that chain?Meaning that once we put this out,we don't want it to be a nice exercise.We want it to be a toolbox that people can use.So when it lands on the desk of those peoplewithin the organization that needs to start implementing it,that needs to start supporting it,

  • 08:55

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: that there will be a broad support for it.And that's what we're really trying to achieve,by putting in the first, for one of the first timesI think, the administration's point of view, from an umbrellaorganization such as our own, but keeping very much in mind

  • 09:16

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: this chain of will what we be easy to use,will it not have many barriers within the organization,and will it have that's that support, which Borana is alsomentioning, that support that youneed to have organizational change,to have a change of culture within your organization.And that's a difficult thing to do.And that's what we try to do within this project.

  • 09:44

    BORANA TARAJ: So how we are doing this in our community?Mainly it's by having our practitioners meetingregularly.Before, of course, the current situation of the COVID-19,we were meeting physically in different locationsacross Europe.Many of these meetings were happening in Brussels.And in the last year, we have meetings regularly online.

  • 10:08

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: We meet at least twice per year.But sometimes the meetings also can go to four.We have also, from time to time, training activities,where our community is engaged.And this is one of the core ways of howwe engage within the community.But not the only one.For example, if we think about scientific publications, which

  • 10:31

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: are a natural outcome of the project,and of the collaboration with our academic partners,usually EARMA does not engage in scientific publication.Because specifically, as also Nick explains,we are a community of practitioners.But we collaborate whenever is possibleand to bring this perspective of the community

  • 10:52

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: and to make sure that the scientific publications,there are also respecting the practicewhat is going on in reality.Also for example, last year, we hada report that was an outcome of our community bio-training.And in that case, we were lookingat as the guidance of what you needto do if you want to come out with a training

  • 11:14

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: program in your institution, as a research manager,and looking at what is also from a researcher point of view.The synergy between the activitiesof the area and community, that is the committee of the Ethicsand Research Integrity Officers within EARMA, with what

  • 11:34

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: is going on in the project is somehow happening naturally.If we think that the community, the practitioners,they are already working towards improving practicesand changing processes at their own organizations.And therefore, it's already a work that they have foreseen.

  • 11:55

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: And what we try to do, when we aremeeting with our European events,is that they are exchanging this knowledge with other colleaguesacross Europe.And sometimes what we also hear from our communityis that this is a unique opportunity.Because they do not have the chance to exchange knowledge

  • 12:17

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: within their own organization.So therefore, when they exchanges at European level,there is another perspective from other colleaguesacross Europe.And therefore, bringing this knowledge togetherat the project, is adding a further stepinto looking at these guidelines as a way of having them

  • 12:39

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: at a practical level, when thinking that we needto implement this at the level of organization,not only at the level of a single researcheror department.

  • 12:54

    NIK CLAESEN: What do we hope to find out in this project?What are the outcomes that we're expecting?We're looking at getting the outcomes at the end of 2022,or the final outcomes, at least.And some of the things that we want to get out of the phasethat we're currently in is the pilot testing.We want to make sure that, as I said,that we look at the research performing organizations,

  • 13:17

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: research funding organizations.And that we look at also making sure that, internally, thereis full support for implementing the toolbox.We were trying to make it, or it has been designed alsoto be flexible.That it can be used by every type of organization,within every type of country.And we want to make sure that they're able to work with it.

  • 13:41

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: Next to that, obviously, when theywill be confronted with what the toolbox is right now.They'll hopefully have some good advice for us, some thingsthat we might be to change up, that we might need to take out.So that's also what we're expectingto be able to adjust still our toolbox.And then really, in the end, we want

  • 14:02

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: to make sure that we have created a toolbox whichfits within the ecosystem.Meaning, that if we're going towards a better researchintegrity culture within research, within science,we want to make sure that it's not just done in one place,isolated from all the other actors that are involved.And as I mentioned, it's research funding organizations

  • 14:24

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: play a critical role, research performing organizations.But it's really, also, even broader than that.So how does our toolbox fit within the ecosystem?And how will bring about cultural change?Or will it make sure that everybody, that is able to,raises their standards, in RI?Next to that, also, we want to try

  • 14:44

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: to create a platform for joint discussion.And we want to make clear that you don't do this type of thingin isolation.Because it is really connecting to all thestakeholders that you have as a researcher,that you have as a research performing organization.So that's what we're trying to set up;a toolbox that is practical, thatis as low maintenance and accessible as possible,

  • 15:07

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: and that makes sense for all of the stakeholders involved.

  • 15:18

    BORANA TARAJ: By keeping the community together, and tryingthese activities in the project, and within our own network,we need, of course, to invest time and energy.And this has not been easy, especially in the last yearduring the pandemic, as all of the physical meetings of course

  • 15:39

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: were canceled.So we needed to develop an online offer.But this was a real challenge, as our communitybuilds its strength also from meeting in the meetings,or meeting in the events.This is because they are not only exchanging knowledge

  • 16:00

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: in the events, but also exchanging contacts,in building informal bonds during the coffee breaks,and during the networking activitiesthat we try to have numerous during the meetings.But of course next to this, we have alsolearned a lot in the last year.And we have seen that you need to keep the community together

  • 16:24

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: by having an online offer.So offering online events with different formats,not only webinars but also smaller group discussions,and as much as possible recreate the networking spiritthat you have in the meetings in the online events.This can be a through icebreakers

  • 16:45

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: that you can use during the events, or some more informaland laughter activities, quizzes, games, and so on.It's really important so that these people,they feel that we are still togetherduring this difficult situation.How we could think about the future,and how to do things differently?

  • 17:08

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: Of course, we need to go back to physical meetings.This is a community so its strengthis from the physical meetings.But of course, next to that, it has been a great opportunitythat we have developed an online offer.And we can meet more than usual and also reach out.

  • 17:29

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: This is an important element to reach out to more colleagues.Because in our meetings, we usuallyhad 30 to 40 practitioners who managedto participate, with flights and so, while right now we usuallyreach out to 100 people online.So this is a great opportunity to have more people on board.

  • 17:51

    BORANA TARAJ [continued]: And well. think that keeping the memberstogether is not only by putting them togetherin a meeting room, but also creatingthe informal bonds, as I mentioned,through the informal exchanges.

  • 18:15

    NIK CLAESEN: So what we're doing in the project,we're making a toolbox which should be easy to use,as I said, which should be a thing that can reallyhelp research become better, thatto bring research integrity to the forefrontof each organization.Because in the end, it will benefitthem to make sure that they include this in the best way

  • 18:35

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: possible.We are supplying a toolbox.We are trying to make sure that it is easy to access,that it will be easy to use.But in the end, it will take all of usto make sure that we implement this and make things a bettersituation.

  • 19:04

    NIK CLAESEN [continued]: [MUSIC PLAYING]

Video Info

Series Name: SOPs4RI

Publisher: SAGE Publications, Ltd.

Publication Year: 2022

Video Type:Tutorial

Methods: Research ethics, Integrity, Collaborative research, Administrative data, Pilot studies, Researcher skills

Keywords: added value; collaboration; collaborative research; community building; focus groups; integrity; networking; pilot studies; research administration; research design; research ethics; research funding; research support as topic; Sustainability ... Show More

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Nik Claesen, Managing Director, and Borana Taraj, Project Manager, at EARMA, share their perspectives on research integrity, including the value EARMA brings to SOPs4RI and EARMA's engagement and support of the research community.

Video Info

Publication Info

SAGE Publications, Ltd.
Publication Year:
SAGE Research Methods Video: Research Ethics and Integrity
Publication Place:
United Kingdom
SAGE Original Production Type:
SAGE Tutorials
Copyright Statement:
©SAGE Publications Ltd., 2022


Nik Claesen
Borana Taraj

Segment Info


Segment Num: 1


Segment Start Time:

Segment End Time:


Things Discussed

Organizations Discussed:

Events Discussed:

Places Discussed:

Persons Discussed:


Methods Map

Research ethics

The field of moral philosophy dealing with the standards by which behaviour should be regulated within research.
Research ethics
Research Integrity: The Perspective of a Research Administrator

Nik Claesen, Managing Director, and Borana Taraj, Project Manager, at EARMA, share their perspectives on research integrity, including the value EARMA brings to SOPs4RI and EARMA's engagement and support of the research community.

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