Country Report Slovenia
National Research Integrity Landscape
Slovenia does not (yet) have a national (institutional) structure for research integrity. In general, there is no transparency on the local procedures followed and the arguments that underlie its decisions taken. Initiatives have been taken, though, among others from the side of the government and the (then) Commission for Women in Science (as from 2018: CEOS) to come to a national (institutional) structure for research integrity in Slovenia.
Initiatives for the establishment of a national (institutional) structure for research integrity
The first initiative was taken by the Slovenian government in 2011 when it adopted the Resolution on Research and Innovation Strategy of Slovenia 2011-2020 (RISS 2011). Herein it acknowledged the need (i) to adopt a national code of ethics and good science practices, serving as a framework for local research institutions and (ii) to establish a national research integrity office, a so-called “Honorable tribunal for ethics in science”. Consequently, the Slovenian government also prepared a new Law on Research and Innovation in light of the RISS 2011.
The second initiative was taken in 2014 by the (former) Commission for Women in Science (CWS), an autonomous independent expert body at the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (MIZS), changing its name into the Commission for Equal Opportunities in Science (CEOS) in 2018. The CWS became a member of ENRIO in 2014 to learn from other ENRIO members in preparing a national institutional structure for research integrity. The RISS 2011 inspired the CWS to organize an international conference on 19 September 2014 in which research misconduct and unacceptable practices in Slovenia for the first time were openly presented and discussed at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SASA). ENRIO’s Chair was one of the guest speakers. Also, the Minister of MIZS was present to underline research integrity as one of the most important topics in the RISS 2011. An important outcome of the conference was the translation of the “Singapore Statement” in the Slovenian language and its dissemination at the press conference organized by MIZS.
A third initiative was taken on 8 March 2015 by the MISZ and the SASA. A board was nominated by them to prepare an open forum (a) to discuss the theme of a Slovenian research integrity office, and (b) to answer the following questions: (i) what should be the form of the honorable tribunal in science, (ii) is there a need of a national code of conduct, and (iii) how to teach best about research integrity in science. On 15 November 2015, the open discussion on these questions took place, followed by the formation of a Committee on the Establishment of a National Office for Research Integrity. The Committee’s members (representatives of MIZS, SASA and CWS) were nominated by MIZS and SASA. A discussion within the Committee took place based on (draft) guidelines with key elements on the establishment of a Slovenian research integrity office, which were drafted by the representative of the CWS (Opara Krašovec).
A fourth initiative was taken on 14 and 15 April 2016 when Slovenia hosted the ENRIO Meeting to obtain input of ENRIO’s members on the establishment of a national research integrity office. Besides members of the ENRIO, representatives of the MIZS, the SASA and CWS were present. On the day of the public event, on 14 April 2016, a representative of the SASA (Slavko Splichal) held a presentation “Towards Codification of Research Integrity in Slovenia.”, underlining the need of a national code and body for research integrity and presenting in a summarized way the progress made in Slovenia so far.
A fifth initiative was taken on 17 May 2016 by the MISZ and SASA with the formation of a Council to prepare starting points for the establishment of a national research integrity office, consisting of representatives of the MIZS, SASA, CWS, Slovenian Research Agency (SRA), universities and public research organizations. As its starting points it named (i) the need of the establishment of a national research integrity office (ii) situated in the premises of the SASA (iii) financed by the government (iv) and independent of the SASA or government. On 21 June 2016, in a meeting of the Council’s working group, the (draft) guidelines with key elements on the establishment of a Slovenian research integrity office – drafted in 2015 by the representative of the CWS (Opara Krašovec) – were discussed, as well as other international documents and good practices of national institutional structures for research integrity of ENRIO’s members (Austria, Denmark, Finland). Following, on 3 April 2017, the Council presented a Recommendation (link) – that was meant as a chapter for the New Law on Research and Innovation – holding as recommendations (i) the establishment of a national research integrity office (ii) in the offices of SASA (iii) financed by the Slovenian government (iv), however, independent, and (v) authorized (a) to give general advice and specific advices on local codes of conduct for research integrity (b) to promote research integrity (through education and training), and (c) to give opinions on research misconduct (iv) stimulating (inter)national cooperation, and (vi) acting transparent by publishing an annual report on its activities.
In 2018, Slovenia got a new government including a new Minister of Science. The keynote players behind the Council’s Recommendation have been in contact with this new government since to discuss the need of a national institutional structure for research integrity. The more, as the new Law on Research and Innovation in light of the RISS 2011 still did not go into force of which the Council’s Recommendation forms a chapter. At present, the new law is still topic of discussion.
Last update: May 2019