22 SES 11 D, Teaching of Research Skills and Attitudes
Research integrity has become a major concern for both higher education institutions and research policy makers in the recent decades, and since 2000 a plethora of national and international codes and agreements on ‘responsible conduct of research’ and ’research integrity’ has emerged (Wright and Douglas-Jones 2017). Many of these codes and agreements emphasize the institutional responsibility for training younger researchers in responsible conduct of research. Compulsory doctoral training on research integrity has come to play a vital strategical role in the maintenance and marketization of the trustworthiness of research.
This paper examines in ethnographic detail the development of compulsory courses in research integrity across four Danish university faculties. As core to the reproduction of scientific culture at the universities, the compulsory doctoral courses are sites for in- and exclusion in disciplinary communities, raising important questions about the power to define academic identities and practices.
In the paper, we explore doctoral training on integrity as a crucial site for disciplinary formation, in and exclusion by asking the question:
à What attitudes, behaviors, and notions of the ideal ‘trustworthy and ethical’ researchers and their scandalous counterparts constructed and negotiated within the research integrity training for PhD fellows?
The question is explored in relation to differences across faculties as well as potential overlaps between the ways in which the ideal researcher is ‘figured’ as an outcome of the integrity training for doctoral students.
Preliminary findings suggest complex cross-faculty ‘frictions’ within the following dimensions: a) Complicated social imaginaries concerning the purpose of research and science, b) Ongoing processes of partial standardization of curricula, c) ‘Scandal’ as driver of emanating figures of in- and exclusion.
Theoretically, we approach the integrity teaching and course development as non-straightforward processes of policy translation and ‘figuration work’ (Nielsen 2015), through which tensions, ruptures, frictions, paradoxes and breaks with no foreseeable outcome relate local practices and identities and corresponding mechanisms of in- and exclusion to wider policy initiatives such as e.g. the Danish Code of Conduct for Integrity in Research. Building on anthropological and sociological understandings of policy implementation as processes of translation (Shore and Wright 1998, Sarauw 2011, Wright and Ørberg 2011; Latour 2005; Czarniawska and Sevón 1996), our analytical starting point is that policies and concepts like integrity are always open to contestations and translations by the different actors involved in the process (Sarauw 20111; Degn 2014).
Empirically the paper is based on the ongoing policy ethnography case study (part of the project Practicing Integrity at Centre for Higher Education Futures, Aarhus University, 2017-19) of four integrity courses for PhD fellows in the fields of Science, Health, Social Sciences and Humanities, which focus on the micro-level interpretation of the principles of the national 2014 Code of Conduct for Integrity in Research (UFM 2014). To shed light on the theoretically assumed processes of contestation and translation of the national Code of Conduct for Integrity in Research, we have conducted ethnographic observations of the four doctoral courses, including formal and informal interviews with teachers and PhD fellows during the course, and interviews with teachers and course leaders. To gain additional insight into the processes of translation, we conducted a pre-course survey study among the PhD fellows in each of the courses to “map” initial conceptions and construction of the concept of research integrity among the fellows. Follow up interviews with selected PhD fellows were conducted respectively 6 and 12 months after the course to investigate the continual translation of these initial conceptions and constructions. Additionally, course material, organizational and policy documents etc. are included in the analyses.
The analyses will shed light on complicated interrelations between new political strategies for research integrity, local programmes of doctorial training and the potential emergence of a new figure of the ideal researcher (continually during the construction of academic identity among PhD fellows) and the in-and exclusion processes that are activated in these processes. The initial findings suggest that the courses construct very strong narratives about the purpose and position of research and science and the systemic pressures influencing this position and purpose. The PhD fellow thus seems placed in between the ideal of independence and the (internal and external) systemic pressures and incentives that threaten this independence. The paper provides a perspective on in- and exclusion as related to the construction of specific ‘figures’ or ideals about good conduct in research as well as an empirical perspective on the local translations of integrity principles in the practices of doctoral training at the universities and the ideals of the ‘brave new researcher’ they articulate. By doing so, the paper contributes to creating a platform for critically discussing the ongoing construction of a new integrity culture while uncovering disciplinary differences and similarities in perceptions of integrity and their corresponding imaginaries of science.
Degn, L. (2016) ‘Academic sensemaking and behavioural responses – exploring how academics perceive and respond to identity threats in times of turmoil’, Studies in Higher Education 1-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2016.1168796 Laclau, E. and Mouffe, C. (1985) Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. London: Verso. Latour, B. (2005) Reassembling the Social. An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Nielsen, G. B. (2015) Figuration work: student participation, democracy and university reform in a global knowledge economy. Oxford, New York: Berghahn Books. Sarauw, L. L. (2011). Kompetencebegrebet og andre stileøvelser. Fortællinger om uddannelsesudviklingen på de danske universiteter efter universitetsloven 2003, PhD Thesis, University of Copenhagen. Shore, C. and Wright, S. (1997) ‘Policy: a new field of anthropology’ in C. Shore and S. Wright (eds) Anthropology of Policy: Critical Perspectives on Governance and Power. London: Routledge, 3-39. Shore, C. and Wright, S. (2011) ‘Conceptualising Policy: Technologies of Governance and the Politics of Visibility’ in Shore, C., Wright, S. and Peró, D. (eds) Policy Worlds: Anthropology and the Anatomy of Contemporary Power. EASA Series. Oxford: Berghahn, 1-25. Ulriksen, L. (2009) ‘The Implied Student’, Studies in Higher Education.34(5): 517-532. Wright, S. (2004) ‘Politically reflexive practitioners’ in D. Drackle and I. Edgar (eds) Current Policies and Practices in European Social Anthropology Education, (EASA series) Oxford: Berghahn, 34-52. Wright, S. and Ørberg, J. (2011) 'The double shuffle of university reform - the OECD/Denmark policy interface', in Atle Nyhagen and Tor Halvorsen (eds.) Academic identities - academic challenges? American and European Experience of the Transformation of Higher Education and Research, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publ. Wright and Douglas-Jones (2017). ’Mapping the Integrity Landscape: Organisations, Policies, Concepts, in: Arhus University’s Working Papers on University Reform, Working Paper 27, Online: http://edu.au.dk/fileadmin/edu/Forskning/Working_papers/Working_Paper_27_Mapping_the_Integrity_Landscape.pdf
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