Research integrity training for PhD students

What is this about?

Research integrity training is an essential step at the beginning of every researcher’s career (1). As more and more emphasis is put on research integrity and research ethics, the logical step is to start cultivating knowledge about good research practices at the earliest stage of a researcher’s career. Training on how to adhere to practices for fostering research integrity, is vital for creating a better science and research culture.

Why is this important?

Today, research integrity training is implemented in the curriculum of many doctoral schools as an obligatory part of postgraduate education. Alternatively, it is provided by independent research integrity bodies. Either way, the courses have the same important goal, and that is to teach young researchers how to adhere to research integrity practices and avoid involvement in research misconduct. Training on research integrity provides PhD students with knowledge of the principles of good research practice and how to foster them in their research work. Much emphasis is put on research misconduct, both on serious violations (fabrication, falsification and plagiarism), and detrimental research practices (1). Besides the theoretical part, trainings also educate on practices of a more administrative nature, e.g., how to apply to obtain ethics committee approval or how to report a case of research misconduct.

For whom is this important?

PhD Students, Research integrity trainers

What are the best practices?

The regulation of research integrity training for PhD students varies among countries. Some countries oblige RI training at postgraduate level in their national codes, like Denmark in the Danish code of conduct for research integrity (2). This code states that research integrity training must be provided by higher education institutions. Similarly, in France the Ministry of Education declared that all PhD students must be trained in research integrity and research ethics before defending their thesis. In some countries, training is provided by both universities and independent research integrity institutions. An example of the latter is Luxembourg where training for PhD students on research ethics and principles of good research practice, is conducted by the University of Luxembourg while the LARI (Luxembourg Agency for Research Integrity), an independent body, offers training for researchers from all career stages. How the training is conducted also differs. LARI offers highly interactive, face to face training, combining traditional and creative methods while the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity (TENK), for example, provides online courses for researchers.


1. Anderson MS, Horn AS, Risbey KR, Ronning EA, De Vries R, Martinson BC. What Do Mentoring and Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research Have To Do with Scientists’ Misbehavior? Findings from a National Survey of NIH-Funded Scientists. Academic Medicine. 2007;82(9):853-60.

2. Ministry of Higer Education and Science. Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. 2014. Accessed May 24 2019. Available at:

3. Overview and propositions of implementation of the French National Charter for Research Integrity. 2016. Accessed May 24 2019. Available in French:

Rea Ščepanović contributed to this theme.

Latest contribution was May 29, 2019