Open Science, transparency and ethical conduct in research

Goal by 2023

BFH has an Open Science strategy and respects the integrity guidelines of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences and of swissuniversities.

Why this topic is relevant for BFH

Research is based on the development and exchange of knowledge, which must be made comprehensible and able to withstand critical scrutiny. Transparency and openness both within the research community and towards society are central to good research with integrity.

Transparency and ethical conduct in research are guarantors of the credibility and reproducibility of research results. A lack of transparency in research – both in the declaration of vested interests and in the communication of research processes and results – can lead to scientific findings being doubted or, in the worst case, being rejected or not being accessible.

Open Science and Open Access enable easy access to scientific results worldwide and are central to the further development of a global equal-opportunity society. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that the disclosure of research results and their accessibility provides other researchers the possibility to develop the results further. This means that solutions can be found quickly.

Active commitment to integrity in research

Since the revised law on universities of applied sciences now includes an article on scientific integrity, BFH has drawn up regulations in the year under review – based on the code of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences and swissuniversities as well as existing guidelines – which are to come into force together with the revision of the law in 2023. In particular, the regulations govern the procedure from reporting to possible responsive measures in cases of scientific misconduct as well as the creation of a new reporting office in 2023.

In addition, an ‘Ethics Advisory Group’ was founded by the BFH Research Commission at the beginning of 2021 to advise on general ethical concerns in internal research projects, to assess the likely competence of the Cantonal Ethics Committee and to ensure the correct handling of data protection issues.

How BFH addresses this topic

Research projects at BFH are mainly funded by public-sector commissions, research mandates from industry and public funding institutions such as Innosuisse and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Researchers at the BFH publish their work in publicly accessible repositories in accordance with open access principles in order to make their scientific work transparent and thus comprehensible. The BFH has its own in-house repository, ARBOR.

BFH has made the promotion of Open Access and the implementation of Open Science a strategic goal. A specialised Open Science Office at BFH serves as a central point of contact for general questions relating to Open Science, with the ultimate responsibility lying with the Vice-President Research.

BFH follows various national and international guidelines and directives to ensure that scientific integrity is consistently anchored:

The aim of BFH's Open Science strategy is to anchor research in the sense of Open Science in a sustainable way in the operation and organisation. To this end, centralised and decentralised measures are planned in various areas such as infrastructure, skills acquisition, visibility and incentives. The strategy includes the topics of Open Research Data and Open Educational Resources and thus goes beyond the national Open Science Strategy on Open Access for publications. An Open Access Policy has been drawn up for this purpose.

As part of the BFH's own Open Science Strategy, annual reporting on key figures in the area of Open Access and Open Research Data is planned. Since 2020, BFH has also been carrying out Open Access monitoring to implement Open Access. So far, this has only covered journals. The aim is to expand this to include monographs.