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Research Culture

Research culture is a broad topic that can encompass the behaviours, values, expectations, attitudes, and norms of research systems (Royal Society, 2018). Science Europe is committed to opening up the discussion on research culture to create the best possible research ecosystem where researchers thrive.


Why is research culture important?

In the European Research Area (ERA), and globally, there are a diversity of approaches to research culture that influence the way that science is governed, funded, performed, and communicated. Research Culture also impacts upon the career pathways of researchers and research-associated positions. Importantly, the culture that pervades any given research system influences the quality of its outputs and outcomes.

At long last, discussions on research culture are gathering speed. This offers an opportunity to reflect upon the links between culture, processes, and policies that govern research systems on one hand, and the practices of those that are involved in the scientific endeavour on the other. A holistic view is needed when considering reforms to areas such as Research Assessment Systems and Open Science, acknowledging the interconnected nature of these key themes.

What are the current aims and objectives of Science Europe?

Research culture touches upon the core business of Science Europe’s Member Organisations as it is linked to the quality of research, the contribution of science to knowledge generation, the role of science in and for society, and the sustainability of research systems as a whole. Science Europe and its member organisations will work towards defining and implementing positive cultures that foster sustainable research ecosystems where research and researchers thrive.

What is Science Europe doing to achieve these aims?

Science Europe’s activities on research culture focus on the core values that we put at the centre of scientific research and ensure that they are reflected in policies and practices. Science Europe aims to:

  • Inspire the reappraisal of institutional approaches and values to support the diversity and sustainability of research systems. In doing so, lead and facilitate reflections on the boundaries, degree of self-organisation, and values of the current and future European R&I system and in the ERA.
  • Develop recognition frameworks that support quality-driven and healthy research cultures. This is done by promoting policies and practices that recognise, reward, and incentivise actions and behaviours that affirm the core values that underpin research systems.
  • Foster research recognition systems that value a broader array of research activities and outputs, as well as supporting a larger variety of career pathways for researchers and research-related staff.
  • Promote coherence between policy areas to improve the research ecosystem and conditions for researchers within it, such as: Open Science; access to Research Infrastructures; research integrity; promotion of equality, diversity, and inclusivity (EDI); recognition of methodological rigour; transparency; the reproducibility of scientific results; and research assessment processes.

The Science Europe holistic approach to research culture will help implementing specific actions in the areas above to improve the overall conditions for research activity and for researchers.


Statement on Research Culture - Empowering Researchers with a Thriving Research System

The new statement on Research Culture envisages an ERA that focusses on the quality of research and its processes, supports scientific freedom, and promotes social diversity and inclusion, acknowledging that these conditions will, in turn, foster a productive research system.