Research integrity and ethics can be considered a cornerstone of societal trust in researchers and research institutions. Promoting ethical behavior and research integrity is of utmost importance to ensure reliable, high-quality research results and a transparent, fruitful dialogue between science and society.

We explored contemporary perceptions and practices of ethical research conduct in the European research and innovation landscape in a large-scale study comprising 4,180 researchers from 277 different research performing organisations (RPOs) and 45 different countries of residence. The gender distribution was 54.5% male, 41% male, and 0.5% non-binary. Respondents’ disciplinary background ranged from Social Sciences and Economics to Natural Sciences, Engineering and Arts and Humanities.

We investigated researchers’ application of ethical principles or values to their research in the time span between 2020 and 2023. A large majority of 71% of researchers report having considered ethical issues in the design of all of their research projects. The main driving forces behind ethical behavior were the personal conviction that ethics is part of good research practice (87%) and compliance with the respective national legal requirements (77%).

However, aligning research activities all along the research process with ethical principles is not without obstacles. Researchers report that the largest barriers to ethical research conduct are the absence of institutional incentives rewarding ethical conduct and bureaucratic complexity, as expressed in the form of limiting, time-consuming (approval) procedures.

Our study shows that researchers’ motives to engage in responsible, ethical research practices are mostly of normative nature since these practices reflect their understanding of good research practice that seeks to enhance the quality, social relevance and impact of their research.


More information on the study can be found here: