What is the FNR doing to foster good research culture in Luxembourg?
Research culture encompasses the behaviours, values, expectations, attitudes and norms of our research communities. It influences researchers’ career paths and determines the way that research is conducted, communicated and evaluated.
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As the main funder of public research in Luxembourg, the FNR strives to foster good research culture for researchers, with approaches aligned with international best practice.
Existing, new and upcoming initiatives and approaches to foster a good environment for researchers include:
The FNR is a signatory and financial supporter of the DORA declaration, which consists of a set of recommendations to improve the assessment of scientific output. As a signatory of DORA, the FNR fully supports the declaration’s practices in research assessment, and has updated its own peer review guidelines accordingly. Our Secretary General Marc Schiltz is a member of the DORA steering committee, and we participate on the Funder’s exchange group.
The FNR and DORA have released a jointly crafted resource for research assessment: ‘Balanced, broad, responsible: A practical guide for research evaluators‘ is a short, educational video that provides a ‘checklist’ of six concrete suggestions for research funders seeking to improve responsible assessment of funding applications. These recommendations have been summarised in an accompanying briefing document.
HOW DOES THE FNR IMPLEMENT DORA PRINCIPLES?
We explicitly discourage applicants from using Journal Impact Factors in their publication list;
We accept preprints as valuable research outputs (in line with the recent policy update of the European Research Council);
We request that applicants indicate whether listed publications have been published Open Access or not;
We encourage applicants to list a range of research outputs (including datasets and software, training of researchers, intellectual property).
We give a briefing to panel members before each panel, including how to implement DORA principles in evaluation
The FNR’s Peer Review Guidelines instruct reviewers to:
Evaluate quality and impact independently of journal-based metrics;
Value the full range of research outputs (including datasets and software, training of researchers; intellectual property).
As of 2021, the Narrative CV is mandatory for main applicants, PIs, and Co-PIs applying for FNR funding programmes, and is required for all funding programmes where a CV is requested.
These results show that transitioning to a narrative-style CV template is accepted by a large percentage of Luxembourgish-based researchers as well as evaluators from around the world and should support the further development and expansion of narrative-style CVs by other funders and research institutions.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF A NARRATIVE CV?
The goal of the FNR’s new narrative CV is:
To align with the principles of DORA that research (and researchers) should be assessed on its own merits, and that the value and impact of all research outputs be considered for research assessment.
To allow an applicant to be more fairly evaluated on their scientific vision, appropriate experience, and contributions to science and society, instead of solely metrics, journal names, and other information that does not fully represent the potential of a researcher. This levels the playing field for applicants of different career levels and attempts to minimize reviewer and panel bias during evaluation to the largest possible extent.
To broaden the types of achievements that can be seen as relevant for the advancement of your research, including practices related responsible conduct of research (ethics and integrity), Open Science, mentoring, contribution to science and society and other critical aspects of the overall research system, providing context for evaluation criteria as well as supporting a broader and more nuanced evaluation.
The FNR has set up a structured feedback survey for all applicants and reviewers, to evaluate the usability and effectiveness of the narrative CV in the proposal writing and evaluation process.
The FNR attaches great importance to the impact of research outputs on science, industry, policy making and society in general. Open Access improves the pace, efficiency and efficacy of research, and heightens the authors’ visibility, and thus the potential impact of their work. It removes structural and geographical barriers that hinder the free circulation of knowledge and therefore contributes to increased collaboration, ultimately strengthening scientific excellence and capacity building. We consider that publications which report the outcomes of publicly funded research constitute a common good that should not be locked behind paywalls.
By promoting full and immediate Open Access, FNR is fulfilling the ambitions of the Luxembourg government and of the 2016 Conclusions of the Council of the European Union.
COALITION S & IMPLEMENTING PLAN S
Changes to the current Open Access Policy In September 2018, FNR has joined cOAlition S, a global initiative of more than 25 research funders that have agreed to jointly implement Plan S in a coordinated way, together with the European Commission. Plan S is a set of 10 high-level principles to promote full and immediate Open Access to scholar publications.
These principles will also be implemented by the European Commission in the forthcoming framework programme for research and innovation. Thus, the new FNR Open Access policy is fully aligned with Horizon Europe.
WHAT IS THE FNR POLICY ON OPEN ACCESS?
In the framework of the National Policy on Open Access adopted in 2015, the FNR has made it a requirement that publications resulting from FNR-funded research are made Open Access. The FNR set up the Open Access Fund to provide funding for Open Access publication fees. The Open Access Fund Call in 2021 will be the last and will be open for all peer-reviewed articles published in 2020. All FNR (co)–funded grants, for which an Open Access Policy applies, that publish a scientific article in 2021 and thereafter, must submit their manuscript through ChronosHub to have the eligible amount of APCs directly paid by the FNR.
To simplify the processes related to the 2017 and 2021 FNR Open Access Policies and the Open Access Fund, the FNR has partnered with ChronosHub, an Open Access management platform. This collaboration will facilitate the compliancy check with the FNR Open Access Policies and the direct payment of Article Processing Charges (APCs) for authors and institutions and will replace the FNR Open Access Fund Call, starting for peer-reviewed articles published in 2021 and thereafter.
Women are underrepresented in senior research positions, as well as in expert functions, such as reviewers, conference speakers, and panel members. The FNR has and continues to update its application requirements with the goal of improving gender balance.
Additionally, the FNR (Linda Wampach) is the coordinator of the National Gender Working Group: In order to fight the gender imbalance in research in Luxembourg, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR) has mandated the National Research Fund (FNR) to establish a concrete action plan. In 2020, the Luxembourg Gender Working Group (GWG) was set up, bringing together so far a total of 14 representatives of the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER), the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology ( LIST), the University of Luxembourg (UL), the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg (MPI) and the FNR.
WHAT IS THE REMIT OF THE GENDER WORKING GROUP?
The Gender Working Group action plan for the institutions within the Luxembourg public research sector includes the following topics of interest:
Gender data monitoring and publishing to ensure that gender data is collected and made public regularly by each research performing and funding organisation in Luxembourg.
A gender diversity survey to ensure that the perception and experiences of employees in the context of gender inequalities are measured, monitored, and made public regularly by each research performing and funding organisation.
A gender fair recruitment process to guarantee inclusiveness across all research performing and funding organizations in Luxembourg, be it for administrative or academic positions.
A gender fair internal promotion process to guarantee inclusiveness across all institutes, as well as general inclusive working conditions.
In 2021, the documentation for these initiatives will be finalised and within the participating institutions, existing workflows will be assessed and complemented by the gender fair recommendations during the year under the advice from the GWG.
The FNR subscribes to the principles laid out in the revised edition of The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (ALLEA), that serves the European research community as a framework for self-regulation across all scientific and scholarly disciplines and for all research settings: “Good research practices are based on fundamental principles of research integrity. They guide researchers in their work as well as in their engagement with the practical, ethical and intellectual challenges inherent in research.”
These principles are:
Reliability in ensuring the quality of research, reflected in the design, the methodology, the analysis and the use of resources;
Honesty in developing, undertaking, reviewing, reporting and communicating research in a transparent, fair, full and unbiased way;
Respect for colleagues, research participants, society, ecosystems, cultural heritage and the environment;
Accountability for the research from idea to publication, for its management and organisation, for training, supervision and mentoring, and for its wider impacts.
The FNR also adheres to the principles which are laid out in the Singapore Statement on Research Integrity.
WHAT IS GOOD SCIENTIFIC PRACTICE WITHIN THE FNR FUNDING PROCESS?
FNR applicants need to ensure they respect any ethical and legal obligations when submitting proposals to the FNR. Applicants have to describe ethical issues and appropriate research conduct procedures, and show that these issues will be handled appropriately once the project starts.
Host Institutions are expected to have in place clear ethical guidelines and good practice procedures designed to manage FNR-funded research under their responsibility. These guidelines and procedures shall deal with the following issues, among others:
“Good data practices”: availability and access;
“Proper research procedures”;
“Responsibility”: all research subjects should be handed with respect;
“Reviewing and editorial issues”
LUXEMBOURG AGENCY FOR RESEARCH INTEGRITY (LARI)
Established in 2016, the Luxembourg Agency for Research Integrity (LARI) is the national agency promoting and investigating research integrity in Luxembourg. LARI, a non-profit organisation, is a joint venture between the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), the University of Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), the Luxembourg Institute for Socio-Economic Research (LISER) and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST). As such, LARI intersects with a variety of research disciplines including medicine, behavioural and social sciences, physical sciences and mathematics, engineering and materials sciences, law, and computing.
The way science is conducted can be improved on various levels, from how it’s impact is measured to the way it is organized, how it is funded, or how it can have the highest possible societal and economic impact.
The FNR wants to help this endeavor and supports related research. Jointly with the Chair of Science of science and innovation policy from the KU Leuven, the FNR undertakes several projects, such as research on the impact of narrative CVs on the funding distribution; the impact of the refereeing process on funding decisions; or the impact of doctoral training on early-career-scientists motivations and aspirations during and post-graduation.
As part of the research project on the impact of doctoral training, a set of specific surveys are designed to collect information before, during and after the PhD.
Leadership and mentoring is vital to good research culture. FNR approaches aim to respectively highlight outstanding mentors, as well as contribute to the continuous leadership development in research. This includes:
An evaluation of the applicant by a former mentee is part of the process in our PEARL programme
We offer coaching and leadership development for ATTRACT Fellows and endeavour to expand this to other FNR funding programmes.
Research culture working group
We are setting up a Research Culture Working Group of which the specific actions will consist of:
Understanding the current research culture in Luxembourg and identifying aspects that require modification or optimisation;
Sharing of best practices within the institutions and aligning with international initiatives;
Devising a goal-oriented strategy and action plan on improving the value, reward and incentive system in the Luxembourg research system, with the aim of recognising the full range of outcomes from scientific activities.