Code of Responsible Scientific Behaviour

Psychology Research Institute, UvA, November 2013

To improve the quality and transparency of scientific research, researchers within the Psychology Research Institute of the University of Amsterdam are obliged to follow the regulations outlined by the VSNU (Association of Dutch Universities) and the UvA. These regulations define our scientific integrity. In addition, we have an agreement in regard to the following points:

1. Ethical Committee

Before a study is implemented, permission of the Ethical Committee is required

(https://www.lab.uva.nl/ce/; this website is in English). The application includes a description of the design, participants, procedures, and methods.

 2. Participants

Participants are asked to complete a so-called informed consent form and have the right to stop their participation in the experiment at any point. Meanwhile, there exists a behavioural code in the LAB that explicitly outlines the obligations of the participant. At the end of the experiment participants are informed about the research goals (debriefing). Informed consent forms need to be stored at least 5 years after data collection is completed. Permission of the participant is required for researchers to provide access to data or confidential information to third parties. Personal information that could be linked to the participant should not at any point be related to the identity of the participant.

 3. LAB Regulations Researchers who conduct research in Building D (LAB) are required to follow the regulations of the LAB with regard to getting participants, registration, and payment (see document LAB and pp-regulations).
 4. Statistical data analyses

When determining the analysis and reporting strategy, transparency, accountability, and truth finding have the highest priority. Examples of research strategies that can be considered doubtful are: not mentioning experimental conditions, adapting p-values (e.g., stating that a p-value of .054 is smaller than .05), excluding data points, or collecting additional data with the primary goal to obtain significant results (see also John, Loewenstein, & Prelec, 2012, Psychological Science).

 5. Data storage To secure safe data storage and make data accessible and replicable, data need to be stored at 2 separate locations. The names of the responsible researchers need to be mentioned in the application to the Ethical Committee. The data-storage contains raw data as well as working data. A document that contains step-wise procedures of analyses reported in the respective article needs to be included as well. Examples of data-storage protocols will be available soon and published on the OZI website.
 6. Making data available Researchers are obliged to make their data available, unless these include confidential information, or in case data is used in the near future for additional publications. Insufficient argumentation for refusal to make data public could lead to a report to a confidential mediator.
 7. Publication In manuscripts it is reported that data collection and data analyses are transparent. For example: "We report all measures in the study, all manipulations, any data exclusions, and the sample size determination rule." (based on Simmons, Nelson, & Simonsohn, 2011). In some cases this could result in unnecessary lengthy and unreadable papers that have not much chance of getting published. There are several possibilities to solve such problems. For example, one can include a footnote, which reports on, for example, additional dependent variables that were measured. Another option could be to store replications of studies at journal websites. Still another option is to refer to materials that are placed at the UvA server or at one’s own personal webpage. This is just a selection of methods that optimize transparency and at the same time meets journal requirements.
 8. Author sequence Only those persons who provided a substantial contribution to the content of the manuscript should be included in the list of authors (APA regulations). Within our institute it is common to mention PhD students as a first author in case it concerns their doctoral work. The promoters and supervisors can then be included as a 2nd, 3rd etc. author. In case of multiple authors it is recommended to mention in a footnote which author was primarily responsible for each respective part of the paper.
 9. Plagiarism Purposeful ignoring and not referring to contributions of additional authors is considered improper behaviour related to plagiarism.
 10. Confidential Mediator of Scientific Integrity

A researcher or policy maker is responsible for how science is conducted an in particular with regard to behaviour of fellow researchers. It should be acknowledged that differences in hierarchy, for example doctoral students versus their supervisors, make it more difficult to report improper behaviour. For this purpose, two confidential mediators within our institute are available for questions and advice. These persons are: Prof. Dr. Maurits van der Molen (m.w.vandermolen@uva.nl) and Dr. Dylan Molenaar (d.molenaar@uva.nl).

Please note: To file an official complaint you need to contact the counsellor of the University of Amsterdam: Prof. Dr. H. de Haas (j.c.j.m.dehaes@amc.uva.nl).

9 December 2014