Accepted paper:

The bureaucratization of research integrity


Barend van der Meulen (Rathenau Instituut)

Paper short abstract:

This paper studies research integrity as a new object of management. Cases of alleged misconduct have led to new bureaucratic infrastructures. Such infrastructures formalize what used to be implicit within practices of doing science and, as a result, create new understandings of research integrity.

Paper long abstract:

The creation of scientific integrity committees, integrity officers, codes of conducts, etc. can be seen as a new area of bureaucratization of professional conduct. Such bureaucratization often includes several logics. One is the framing of professional values as organizational values, which within universities imply standardization of disciplinary differences. Another logic is boundary work, defining what conduct is scientific and what not, and distinguishing misconduct from questionable practices. A third logic is the creation of new hierarchies and responsibilities for maintaining the order, especially through the creation of new centres of control at the interface of organization and profession. Last but not least through bureaucratization the relation with society is reframed.

Our focus will be on the Netherlands, where after 2011 an infrastructure for managing research integrity rapidly emerged. Some of these new practices, or revitalized practices, are embedded within the organizational structure of the university, others like PhD courses by Graduate Schools can be understood as attempts to embed professional understandings of research integrity within the discipline.

The paper maps the development for each of the four logics and assesses the impact on how the understanding of research integrity has developed. In the conclusions the findings are used to critically assess dynamics of bureaucratisation and professionalization in science, and the reflect on research integrity in relation to different forms of knowledge production.

panel G06
Integrity: personal virtue, remedy for fraud, object of governance?