Frequently asked questions about the NSRI:

What is the National Survey on Research Integrity about?

The NSRI is the fisrt ever nation-wide online survey targeting researchers of all universities and university medical centres in The Netherlands. NSRI aims to report on factors that promote or hinder Responsible Research Practices (RRPs). These factors cover for instance perceptions of organizational justice, scientific norms, work pressure, mentoring and social support. It is possible that these factors play different roles in different disciplinary fields: biomedical, natural and engineering sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Similarly the importance of the factors may vary over the career stages of a researcher. The NSRI is designed to be large enough to look separately at subgroups.

The survey will also report on the frequency of Responsible Research Practices (RRPs) and Questionable Research Practices (QRPs) in each of the four disciplinary fields. Because of its unique methodology and its nationwide target across all disciplinary fields, NSRI can provide solid data to identify driving factors that promote or hinder Responsible Research Practices (RRP).

What additional privacy protection do we offer for the most sensitive questions?

NSRI will employ the Randomized Response Technique. This is a valid method to measure undesirable behaviour that has been used already extensively in the study of financial fraud and doping in sports. Find out more by watching this short video explaining how the method works. Read more here: Meta-Analysis of Randomized Response Research- Thirty-Five Years of Validation. Sociological Methods & Research 2005; 33 (3): 319-348).

Who is funding the NSRI?

ZonMw finances the project within the context of the broader NWO and ZonMw programme Promoting Responsible Research Practices (Fostering responsible research practices).

Who is conducting the NSRI?

The principle investigator of the NSRI is Prof Lex Bouter, heading a core team of researchers comprising Prof. Jelte Wicherts, Associate Prof Gerben ter Riet, Dr. Maarten Cruyff and Dr. Gowri Gopalakrishna. Supporting this core team is a seven member steering committee consisting of national and international experts covering a broad range of expertise in research integrity, survey methodology, social science research and statistics. Find out more here.

What type of questions are asked in the NSRI?

The survey comprises three blocks of questions which ask about self-reported behaviour and on perceived behaviour of others:

  1. A few basic background questions on one’s major field of research and academic rank.
  2. Five groups of explanatory factors that may promote or hinder responsible conduct of research focusing on perceptions concerning organizational justice, individual and group norms, work pressure, mentoring and social support, and likelihood of detection.
  3. Twenty two questions on Responsible Research Practices (RRPs) and Questionable Research Practices (QRPs). Read more about the NSRI methodology here.

How will the privacy of participants joining the NSRI be guaranteed?

We pay close attention to fully protection of the identity of the participants and their research institutions. Our privacy protection measures include:

  1. No personal identifying data except disciplinary field and academic rank is asked in the survey.

  2. All data will be collected by a trusted third party, Kantar Public so the research team never receives directly any personal data. The research team only receives anonymized data by disciplinary field and academic rank.

  3. E-mail addresses are only used for sending the invitation and reminders and deleted after the response or refusal to participate is received. IP addresses are never stored by Kantar Public.

Because of these measures, no data can be analysed or published that can be traced to individual participants or specific research institutions. See also our Privacy Policy.

When and where can I find the survey results?

We expect the first results of the NSRI to be ready Q2 2021. These results will first be shared with the participating Universities and University Medical Centers through an invitational conference. We also will publish our findings as preprints and in Open Access publications as well as present them at (inter)national conferences.

In 2021, we will translate the results of NSRI into action plans. We hope to co-create these action plans together with the research institutions. Links to all preprints and publications will be made available on the NSRI website.

Who is eligible to participate?

All researchers who spend on average at least 8 hours per week on research tasks in a Dutch University or University Medical Center are eligible to join. This includes PhDs to full professors in all disciplinary fields.

Why should I participate?

The main goal of NSRI is to learn more about explanatory factores associated with responsible and questionable research practices. To achieve this, we need every researcher to tell us what helps them to do or hinders them from doing responsible research. Without an adequate response rate, we cannot comprehensively understand the factors that influence our ability to conduct research responsibly. Whithout a complete understanding, we may not be able to successfully help start the dialouge to change things the right way. So every researcher's participation matters!

Watch this short 2 minute video on research integrity affects us all.

What makes this survey different from other surveys?

The National Survey of Research Integrity (NSRI) is unique in a number of ways:

  1. It targets the entire population of academic researchers in The Netherlands, the largest sample ever studied in research integrity to-date.

  2. The survey will employ a technique known as the Randomized Response (RR) which has shown to elicit more honest answers around sensitive topics.

  3. It will examine an extensive range of factors that may impact on scholars engagement in Responsible Research Practices and Questionable Research Practices.

What do we mean by Responsible Research Practices (RRPs) and Questionable Research Practices (QRP)?

In the NSRI we have intentionally chosen to use the term RRP's and QRP's for research misbehaviors. We have chosen QRPs as a "misbehavior" in one disciplinary field may not be a misbehavior in another field or may be irrelevant. For example: not publishing a valid negative study is not relevant in the field of qualitative research where there are no such explicit distinctions between “positive” and “negative” results. For this reason, the term QRP is more applicable to all disciplinary fields the NSRI targets than using the term detrimental as what is 'detrimental' differs by disciplinary field.

Chapter 3 of Dutch code of conduct for Research Integrity offers a perspectives and definitions the NSRI uses in our survey.

When can I fill out the NSRI?

The NSRI will be launched nationwide starting from 15th October 2020. You will be invited to join via e-mail with the survey link sent by out trusted third party, Kantar Public.

What do we mean when we talk about research integrity?

For this we refer to clear explanation on the website of the World Conferences on Research Integrity Foundation.

Which research institutes support the NSRI?

Five universities (University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Radboud University Nijmegen, Tilburg University and Maastricht University) and three university medical centers (Amsterdam UMC, Radboud UMC and Maastricht UMC) actively support the NSRI by providing the e-mail addresses of their researchers, recommending them to respond, putting the server and the e-mail address used for the survey on the safe list of their spam filter, collaborating with the NSRI team on communication about the findings, and co-creating effective institutional support to foster research integrity based on the NSRI results. The five participating universities also kindly contribute financially to the NSRI.

Why is the NSRI in English?

The survey is intended for all academic researchers in The Netherlands, many of whom are PhDs. Given that the number of international academics in the Netherlands has grown steadily over the years (more than 40% of PhD graduates and nearly 20% of professors are non-Dutch according to a report by the Young Academy that was published in 2018), we felt English would be the most appropriate, inclusive language of choice for this study.

Why use a survey design for a complex topic like research integrity?

To optimally address all 40,000 academic researchers in The Netherlands, a survey instrument was the most fitting choice for this project. While it has its drawbacks especially when studying a complex topic such as research integrity, the primary goal of this survey was to get concrete estimates of RRP, QRPs and their associated factors for these practices across disciplines. Balancing time to answer such a survey, while protecting privacy and that the target sample size of about 40,000 researchers, a survey tool was most appropriate.

This does not exclude us from exploring themes that will arise from the survey results through more detailed focus groups discussions at the next stage of this project.