Country Report France

National Research Integrity Landscape

France operates with a national research integrity office, the French Office for Research Integrity (Ofis), which is responsible by law for implementing the national research integrity policy (application of regulatory frameworks and harmonization of practices). Ofis is a department within the national agency on evaluation of research, the High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (Hcéres), an independant public authority. It also acts as an observatory, provides resources and recommendations for research performing organisations, maintains a directory of all research integrity officers and communicates with them.

The responsibility for the prevention and resolution of research misconduct cases lies with the individual research performing organisations, such as as universities, CNRS (, INSERM (, CIRAD (, and other research bodies, which possess the investigatory and decision-making authority.

Guidelines are outlined in the National Charter for Research Integrity established in 2015, and organisations promote the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. Following the core principles defined in these recommendations and legal obligations (legislative and regulatory requirements, the reliability of research work, the responsibility, impartiality and independence in evaluation and expertise, the collaborative and diverse nature of research activities, and the implementation of RI trainings) every RPO has to adopt a comprehensive policy on research integrity. These policies typically include training researchers and students, promoting the dissemination of open-access publications, the availability of methods protocols and data and associated with research results, and addressing any reports of research misconduct, ensuring that appropriate measures are promptly taken.

It is mandatory for each research organization to nominate a Research Integrity Officer, responsible for supporting the organisation’s RI policy, and for investigating reports of alleged misconducts ( In addition to the coordinating role of Ofis, a significant part of RI officers joins the RESINT (Research Integrity Network) association, particularly known for its collective work on a a collective Guide to Recording and Processing Reports relating to Research Integrity (2018, new edition in 2023).



In March 2017, the then Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research announced the launch of a national structure for research integrity, the French Office for Research Integrity (Ofis), to be located as a department within the independent public authority of the High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (Hcéres). The creation of Ofis was among the first measures implemented by the French government, following the conclusions of a report of 2016 named Assessment and proposals for the implementation of the national charter for research integrity by Pierre Corvol, then vice-president of the French Academy of Sciences. The latter was assigned by the then Minister of Education and Research to write a report on research integrity. The launch of Ofis was taken in the context of active promotion of research integrity by the French government, marked by the first annual Conference of Signatories to the National Charter for Research Integrity on 22 March 2017. Ofis’ budget is included in the overall funding of Hcéres i.e. is funded by state budget, but operates independently from the French government. Since 2020, Ofis’ scientific integrity missions have been enshrined in law.

Assessment framework

Ofis promotes the principles of the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, and of the National Charter for Research Integrity published in 2015. This Charter was written and initially signed by the President of the CPU and four major research institutions in France. Structured around 7 core principles, it aims to establish the necessary criteria for rigorous and trustworthy research work, particularly relevant to all national and international partnerships. The core principles are (1) compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements (2) reliability of research work (3) communication (4) responsibility in collective work (5) impartiality and independence in evaluation and expertise (6) collaborative and plurality of activities, and (7) training. In signing the Charter, the signatory reasserts the importance of research integrity, the code of conduct essential to all research, and the ethical standards expected of all its member institutions in France. The signatory must adhere to the values and principles of research integrity and fully commits to defending these values and principles and working to ensure their adoption and application by its institution(s), according to the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.

The Research Programming Act (LPR) of 2020 marked the transition from ‘soft law’ measures to the existence of a legally-binding reference framework that applies to all RPOs, defined in the Research Code. It sets out the obligations of institutions and specifies the tasks of RI Officers. The LPR has entrusted Hcéres with new missions in the area of research integrity, which Ofis is responsible for implementing.

Missions(s) and tasks

OFIS has a threefold mission, to act as (1) an observatory (i) monitoring the implementation of research integrity policies, in particular in line with the commitments of the 2015 charter of ethics for research professions and the 2020 research programming law, and complying with the international standards, (ii) maintaining the national directory of research integrity officers and producing a summary of the progress of policies developed by institutions every two years and (iii) conducting surveys to better characterize changes in the research integrity landscape (notably on new forms of research: participatory science, big data, re-use of data and open science), (2) a support for the organisations and a coordinator (i) promoting the sharing of good practices and providing all actors with training tools, resources to raise awareness and promote research integrity (FAQ, vade-mecum, Moocs, videos, etc.), (ii) coordinating and disseminating the work of RI officers and (iii) ensuring a documentary, regulatory and scientific watch, including disseminating research reports on specific themes and on new RI practices related to changes in research practices and (3) a stakeholder in RI policies (i) publicizing the results of research projects in the area and identifying research topics to be developed, (ii) coordinating reflection on defining standards, opinions and recommendations, in coordination with other stakeholders in the field, (iii) organising conferences and leading working groups in charge of producing analyses, views and proposals that can inform the decision-making of public authorities, and (iv) representing France at European and international levels.


Ofis has no investigatory and decision-making authority nor can it mediate in research misconduct cases.

In 2020, the law introduced a deferral procedure in which Ofis plays a role: when the RI officer considers that he or she is not in a position to investigate a question or a report in an independent, impartial or objective manner, or where the matter or report is likely to involve the governing bodies of the institution, or if the governing body of a RPO considers that there is a conflict of interest, the governing body of the organisation can ask Ofis to suggest one or more names of officers or experts to establish an ad hoc committee, which will conduct the
investigation in accordance with the provisions applicable in the institution where the alert was initially made.

Ofis can be consulted on specific questions about research integrity (as long as it is not related to a particular case).


The French Office for Research Integrity consists in an operational team of 7 members, including a director, 4 senior project managers and 2 scientific advisors ( The members are appointed by the President of Hcéres.

Ofis has its own advisory board (CoFis), made up of 12 (inter)national members appointed intuitu personae for a term of two or four years, depending on the needs for renewal by half of the council ( The advisory board is responsible for advising Ofis on its strategy.

Scope and remit

The scope of Ofis is nationwide: it provides advice and guidance on issues of good research practice and misconduct in research relating to any projects that involve French research organisations or research carried out in France. Ofis provides recommendations to strengthen and harmonize training within universities and research bodies (students and PhD candidates, senior researchers), in order to emphasize best practices and to avoid misconduct. Ofis is also planning regular workshops with and for research integrity officers, in order to share their experience through illustrative cases studies, and to provide practical advice. The remit of Ofis includes requiring organisations to produce a two-yearly report on their RI activities, and requiring those that do not comply with the law to appoint a RI officer. Once a year, Ofis brings together all RI officers for a meeting to discuss current issues in the field and necessary recommendations.


All RPOs must adopt a general policy on research integrity which is monitored by a Research Integrity Officer reporting to the head of the institution in question. Each organisations remains responsible for handling any research misconduct brought to the attention of its organisation and ensures that appropriate action is taken. When a suspected breach of RI practices is reported (plagiarism, falsification or fabrication of data, conflicts of interest, questionable research practices), the institution acts promptly to implement a procedure similar to an administrative investigation, under the operational responsibility of its Research Integrity Officer. The investigation collects, examines and appraises the facts pertaining to the report, hearing witnesses and calling in experts where applicable. This investigation is conducted objectively, with due process and in a manner that respects the presumption of innocence and protects all those involved. If the investigation confirms the allegation, all necessary measures are taken promptly from the academic (correction or withdrawal of the articles, for example), disciplinary and civil points of view, where applicable.

Definition of research misconduct

In France, research integrity was characterized since 2015 in several non-legally binding documents (French Charter of Professional Ethics for Research Professionals, the report “Review and proposals for implementing the research integrity charter” (Pierre Corvol, 2016)). In December 2020, research integrity was introduced into the French legal framework by the Research Programming Act, which dictated its inclusion in the Research Code and in the Education Code: “Research work, in particular all public research activities contributing to the objectives set out in Article L. 112-1, must comply with the requirements of research integrity in order to ensure that it is honest and scientifically rigorous and to consolidate the bond of trust with society. (…) Research integrity helps to guarantee the impartiality of research and the objectivity of its results.” (Art. L. 211-2). This is a “consequentialist” approach, which does not prescribe universal good practices, as these are laid down by peers and may vary depending on the scientific community and the methodologies specific to the research being carried out. Within the law, research integrity focuses on its consequences, i.e. honest, rigorous, objective and impartial research that strengthens the bond of trust with other actors in society.

There is no legal definition of research misconduct in France. Ofis provides the following information : “two main types of deviations from good research practices are usually distinguished: (i) Generic scientific fraud, qualified as serious and intentional. This is what is commonly referred to by the acronym FFP for fabrication of data, falsification of data, and plagiarism and (ii) Questionable Research Practices (QRP), inappropriate practices that harm the reliability of scientific results and/or the proper functioning of research communities. It may concern data (e.g., deficient archiving or mismanagement, problematic statistical processing, image embellishment), publications (e.g., abusive authorship, segmentation of publications or “salami-slicing”, self-plagiarism), interactions with other researchers (e.g., biased peer-reviewing, lack of supervision) etc.”

Ofis promotes the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity and its definition of good research practices and of unacceptable practices.

Opinions and appeal

Opinions or recommendations of Ofis are not meant as substitute for legal advice from suitable qualified persons, hence, these are not appealable. On the local level, appeal with the administrative court is possible on measures taken by research institutions in case of alleged research misconduct, resulting in suspension or dismissal.

Follow-up and monitoring

Based on the report of 2016 named Assessment and proposals for the implementation of the national charter for research integrity by Pierre Corvol – and confirmed by Ofis on its webpage – research institutions, in liaison with Ofis must investigate the lessons which can be learned from analysed cases on alleged research misconduct in order to improve the prevention of violations of good scientific practice in the future.


Based on the report of 2016 named Assessment and proposals for the implementation of the national charter for research integrity by Pierre Corvol – and confirmed by Ofis on its webpage – results of investigations on alleged research misconduct by research institutions must be made public, ensuring the right balance between transparency and the protection of the persons involved (sources, witnesses and other people concerned, including the accused). Ofis itself publishes its activities on its website.

For further information, see:
For questions, send an e-mail to: Stéphanie Ruphy, Director of the Ofis or Carole Chapin, responsible for international cooperation (


Last update: May 2024