Flemish Commission for Research Integrity (VCWI)
The five Flemish universities, the Academies for Sciences and for Medecine and the two main funding agencies took the joint initiative in 2013 to establish a national commission for research integrity. This Flemish Commission on Research Integrity can give a second advice about complaint files on research integrity, already handled by the research institution. Its secretariat is situated within the national Academy for Sciences. Almost all research instituties, among which all universities, recognize the commission.
ENRIO member since
Voluntary based, not part of ministry
The Flemish Commission on Research Integrity (Vlaamse Commissie voor Wetenschappelijke Integriteit = VCWI)
1. gives a second advice on allegations of breaches of research integrity
2. can issue general advice on research integrity
3. yearly gathers all research integrity professionals to network
The VCWI can give a second advice on cases (complaint files), that have already been investigated by the research institutions itself. The commission on research integrity of a research institution communicates its findings in an advice to the board of the institution, answering the questions whether there is a breach in research integrity or not. When the accused person, the person who reported the alleged breach or the institution itself would like a “second opinion” on this question, this “request for a second advice” can be directed to the national commission VCWI. It communicates its second advice to these three involved parties (accused, reporter, institution).
The VCWI invites these three parties to be heard. It can ask the advice of experts and witnesses. It has strict rules on confidentiality and conflicts of interest.
The commission consists of 9 members (professors of Flemish universities) and has a secretary and legal advisor. It is governed by a special supervisory committee, representing all universities, the funding agency and the academies.
Promoting Research Integrity
The VCWI can publish general advice about research integrity matters, both when asked and on its own initiative. Institutions can for example ask an evaluation of their own research integrity policies. In this way, it plays a role in harmonizing the Flemish research integrity landscape.
Other tasks: "RI meeting day"
Once every year, the VCWI organises an “RI meeting day”, for all RI professionals in Flanders. The universities and other research instutions explain their policy and procedures and learn from each other. It is a networking and disussing day for all people professionally involved into research integrity, such as the chairs and secretaries of commissions on research integrity of all research institutions (among which the universities) and scientific directors and policy makers. This meeting is on invitation only, but all slideshows of presentation texts are available online.
Prof. em. André Van Steirteghem
Chair of Flemish Commission for Research Integrity
Vlaamse Commissie voor Wetenschappelijke Integriteit
Paleis der Academiën
1000 Brussels - Belgium