On the eve of International Anti-Corruption Day, the Council of Europe Education Department held an award ceremony for best practices awarded under its new Best Practice Programme in Promoting Academic Integrity. The ceremony was held as a hybrid event online and in Strasbourg with participants from the academic community, student societies, international organisations and Council of Europe Committee on Education and Platform on Ethics, Transparency and Integrity in Education.
The ceremony was opened by Council of Europe Director of Democratic Participation, Mr Matjaž Gruden. In his opening statement, Mr Gruden stated that “corruption in education erodes public trust in our institutions and, ultimately, democracy itself. Corruption should be fought through legal norms and structures, but it is not enough. We need a culture change, focusing on ethics and changing attitudes of all actors involved in education”. Good practices help raise awareness of academic integrity, increase the motivation of individuals and institutions, and spread knowledge on how to protect and uphold integrity in education.
The Dilemma Game App, developed by the Erasmus University Rotterdam was selected as the best practice of 2021. The application developers, Mathieu van Kooten and Nick den Hollander, were present in Strasbourg to receive the award, present their practice and demonstrate its use with the ceremony participants. The app is intended for researchers and helps through critical dialogue in further developing and strengthening researchers moral compass. In the past six months, the app has been downloaded by 12,613 users from all parts of the world.
Nine other practices were commended by the Evaluation Panel established to assess the 46 applications received. The commended practices from the University of Montenegro, the Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University and the Technical University of Moldova focused on holistic approaches of academic integrity. Representatives of the three institutions, present in Strasbourg and online, explained how institutional policies and regulations on academic integrity were updated, how structures to promote academic integrity were set up, and how trainings were provided to staff and students.
Two practices from the University of Oslo and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam established interactive open-source platforms where the research and academic community can find good practices, guidelines, trainings and also collaborate online.
Finally, the practices from the Flemish Interuniversity Council, the University of Groningen and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam were based on courses and online tools, often integrated into the curriculum. The awarded courses provide academic researchers, students and staff at all levels with rigorous but accessible information on different aspects related to academic integrity, including on data protection. Taking into account the complexities of real-life research, the awarded tools go beyond rules and compliance and focus on development of personal attitudes and behaviours, putting ethics at the core of academic integrity.
The awarded practices will be published in a compilation of good practice and as underlined by Sarah Keating, Head of the Co-operation and Capacity Building Division of the Education Department of the Council of Europe, they will also help to shape future policy development through the Council of Europe Platform on Ethics, Transparency and Integrity in Education (ETINED).