Aarhus Universitets segl

Practicing Integrity

About the project

To be effective, the norms outlined in The Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (DCCRI) should be ingrained in academic culture and identities. Yet increasing “projectification” of academic work and changes in research funding regimes may work counter to the DCCRI’s demands and norms of integrity.

Employing methods from policy ethnography, the proposed project places DCCRI in an international policy context and further seeks to understand how the Danish research community enacts, reproduces and incorporates notions of ‘research integrity’ in scientific practice at universities and university colleges (UCs, which are “new” to academic research).

We explore how academics’ integrity practices are formed and balanced with incentives such as publication bonuses, drives for research collaboration and funding arrangements at three levels: individually, by researchers in their day-to-day academic practice; institutionally, in the education of early career researchers; and organisationally by leaders, managers and supervisors, who operate as translators in local sensemaking and sensegiving processes. This sheds light on how Danish researchers navigate the principles and incentives that influence integrity in their academic practice. 

Watch Lise Degn, Associate Professor, Aarhus University introduce the project

Research questions

  1. What meaning and intentions are ascribed to new codes of integrity, e.g. by policy-makers, why and how have they arisen at this moment, and how do they relate to existing cognate codes and institutional practices?
  2. To what extent have integrity policies been developed and institutionalised in management structures and incentives in Danish universities?
  3. How are codes of integrity understood across disciplinary and institutional borders, and how are they translated in training courses for early career researchers?
  4. Over 18 months, how do early career researchers develop their research practices, how do their conceptions of integrity develop, and what incentives influence their academic work and careers?   

Implications of project - theoretical and practice contribution

The results will contribute to the ongoing construction and negotiation of an integrity culture, by shedding light on the “living translation” of integrity principles in universities and UCs.

The project will facilitate more informed organizational and managerial dialogues and illuminate the areas where practice “interferes” with ethical and normative standards and where incentive structures intersect and potentially collide.

Theoretical contributions will be made in the fields of Anthropology of Policy and Policy Translation and emphasise how organizations and their members receive and make sense of politically articulated norms.


01/02/2017 → 31/01/2019