National Research Council (CNR)
1923 Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (National Research Council), 2009 Commissione per l’Etica della Ricerca e la Bioetica (CNR Research Ethics and Bioethics Committee), from 2019 Commissione per l’Etica e l’Integrità nella Ricerca (CNR Research Ethics and Integrity Committee).
The National Research Council (CNR) is the largest public research institution in Italy. CNR’s mission is to perform research in its own Institutes, to promote the internationalization of the national research system, to provide technologies and solutions to emerging public and private needs, to promote innovation and competitiveness of the national industrial system, to advice Government and other public bodies, and to contribute to the qualification of its human resources. The CNR has 8.400 employees, of whom more than half are researchers and technologists, around 4.000 young researchers engaged in postgraduate studies and research training at CNR and a large number of research associates coming from universities and other research institutions. CNR’s research activities are spread all over Italy in more than 400 sites. As to its structure, CNR is divided into 7 Departments, namely: Earth system science and environmental technologies; Biology, agriculture and food sciences; Chemical sciences and materials technology; Physical sciences and technologies of matter; Biomedical sciences; Engineering, ICT and technologies for energy and transportation; Social sciences and humanities, cultural heritage.
The Research Ethics and Integrity Committee is chaired by the President of the CNR and led by a Coordinator. The Committee is an independent body with an advisory role on matters of research integrity, research ethics, bioethics and biolaw. It includes 30 members from Italian universities, health and research institutions, public institutions, industry, professions. The Members operate as volunteers on an honorary basis. For the evaluation of specific issues, the Committee may consult additional experts, selected among the staff of CNR or external to it, and may establish Thematic Workgroups. Two permanent Sub-committees are active in this mandate: (i) Ethical Clearance Sub-committee, which issues official clearances and opinions; (ii) Research Integrity Sub-committee, which carries out the preliminary examination of documents relating to alleged cases of research misconduct. The support structures of the Committee are coordinated by Cinzia Caporale. They include a Scientific Secretariat, a Research Integrity Unit dedicated to the prevention and verification of falsification/fabrication/plagiarism of images/data/texts, a Research Ethics and Integrity Training Unit dedicated to keeping researchers up to date, a Technical Secretariat and an administrative staff.
Chairperson: Prof. Massimo Inguscio (President of the CNR)
Coordinator: Dr. Cinzia Caporale (CNR Institute for Biomedical Technologies, Head of the Rome Section)
ENRIO member since
Legally based, not part of ministry
The main institutional objectives of the Committee are:
- to provide consultancy services to the CNR scientific network, consisting in the analysis of ethical and legal issues of research projects and the compilation of the ethical assessment documents required by funding calls for proposals at a national, European and international level;
- to release official Ethical Clearances for CNR research projects;
- to provide ethical and legal monitoring of research projects carried out within the CNR (Ethics Mentoring);
- to elaborate guidance documents, ethical codes, guidelines and opinions concerning ethical issues relating to the scientific disciplinary fields of interest to the CNR;
- to provide preventive technical advice to CNR researchers prior to the submission of scientific articles and research projects, so as to avoid unintentional forms of fabrication/falsification/plagiarism of images/data/texts;
- to develop and implement a research misconduct prevention and verification plan, and to provide ethics consulting for the management of cases of research misconduct;
- to keep researchers updated in the field of research integrity and ethics through training activities held in all CNR local sites;
- to develop educational and specialized material, organize conferences and seminars as well as outreach and dissemination activities, and provide consulting to public institutions.
As envisaged by the CNR Guidelines for Research Integrity and by the founding act of the Commission (Art. 1, Para. 2, lect. g), the Committee has amongst its tasks to provide ethics consulting for the management of cases of research misconduct involving CNR research staff.
Reports of alleged research misconduct, duly documented, can be submitted in several ways:
- by writing to the Committee at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- by post, at the address: Research Ethics and Integrity Committee of the CNR, Via dei Taurini, 19 – 00185, Rome
- by contacting the Institute Director, the Director of Department, The Director General or the President of the CNR.
Allegations may concern research activities carried out by CNR staff or carried out with CNR funds, or publications with authors affiliated to the CNR.
The Coordinator of the Committee, after pseudonymization, submits cases of alleged research misconduct to the Committee for evaluation, together with the documentation submitted in support of the allegation, when appropriate, as well as explanations and possible counter-arguments made in this respect by the CNR staff named in the allegations. If appropriate, in addition to this documentation, the Coordinator submits a technical report analysing the fabrication/falsification/plagiarism of images/data/texts prepared together with the Research Integrity Unit of the Committee using software developed for this purpose. All documentation sent to the Committee will be circulated only within the Committee.
The authors of the allegations and the personnel named in the allegations will be granted confidentiality, within the limits of the law, during the process of analysis and evaluation of the case as well as after the release of the ethical advisory report by the Committee.
The Deans of Universities, the Presidents of Research Institutions and, in general, the heads of scientific or technological institutions, public or private, may request from the Committee an ethical advice on cases of alleged research misconduct concerning personnel belonging to their structures. The process for verifying alleged research misconduct is carried out in accordance with the warranty procedures used for the personnel of the CNR. The Committee’s Coordinator shall involve the personnel concerned by the allegations in the investigation process and shall keep the abovementioned persons, who submitted the request to the Committee, informed of the progress of the examination.
Requests can be submitted by e-mail to the Committee at the following address: email@example.com. For more information please contact the Committee’s Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org – +390649937900).
For external cases, a contribution of 500,00 € (excluding VAT) is required to finance the Committee’s operating costs.
In November 2019, the Committee has started a Training Programme – on a bimonthly basis – addressed to CNR research staff, as envisaged by the CNR Guidelines for Research Integrity (Part 1, Para. 3, lect. E, ‘Research Integrity Training’) and by the founding act of the Committee (Art. 1, Para. 2, lect. h).
Promoting Research Integrity
1st Italian Congress on Research Integrity
The 1st Italian Congress on Research Integrity will be organized and hosted by CNR on 17-18 June 2020.