Reflection on the NRIN Research Conference 2018

Last modified: May 24, 2018

At the end of the NRIN Research Conference 2018 on April 20th, two attendees are asked about their impressions of the conference and which topics they would like to discuss in the next edition: Prof. Hans Evers and Dr. Gowri Gopalakrishna.

Is a finding true and do I care?

Photo: Fenneke Blom

Prof. Evers has a background in fertility medicine and was the chair of the Dutch medical ethics committee (CCMO). Currently, he is editor-in-chief of human reproduction and is interested in under-researched topics. He explains that as an editor he asks himself three questions when he is reviewing an article: Is it new? Is it true? And do I care? The first question is relatively easy to answer. You can find out whether something has been done before on websites such as Pubmed. The second question however is more difficult to answer. Is it true? He says that this edition of the conference has taught him about p-hacking, harking, pre-registration, research replication and QRP’s. These tools will help the next time he reviews new research. For future editions of the NRIN conference, he directs us to the third question: Do I care? He missed talks about how we weigh the relevance of research and what their impact on society is. “Do we have real problems to fix? And how do we fix them? Do we have a good prospect of finding evidence for what we are investigating? “, he asks.

Photo: Fenneke Blom

Is more always better?

The second attendee invited to give her opinion of the day, is Dr. Gowri Gopalakrishna. She is an epidemiologist and will carry out a national survey among Dutch researchers to define questionable research practices. She is curious about what the incentives are for the problems in research, so that sustainable solutions can be formed. One of the questions that stuck to her mind during this conference was: “Is more always better?” For example, the first discussion about pre and post publication review made her think about if we really always want more transparency and with whom. This conference also made her ponder on which role science and scientists have in society.

Photo: Fenneke Blom

The ‘Facebook for researchers’?

Dr. Gopalakrishna was impressed by the plenary talk given by Chris Hartgerink about future of scholarly communicating and networking. He proposed a torrent client-like method for hosting pieces of research information, which can change the incentive structure for researchers and solve a handful of other issues around publishing. She finds it very exciting that his ideas could bring about a fundamental change in how we communicate as researchers. She called it “the next Facebook for researchers”.

We can learn from each other

She found that this edition mainly focused on the steps of analyzing the data and the outcome of the research. In the next edition of the conference, she would like to see more focus on the methodology and rigor of the research. She notes that we can learn a lot from the process of carrying out research. Also, she would like to see an even more diverse audience than the audience in this edition. In this way, transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches can be gained so that we can understand research integrity as a whole. And lastly, RI jargon is not yet completely defined. Some examples she gave were: What is responsible research versus research integrity? Does research integrity refer to the individual and responsible research to the organization? What are these different levels? She notes that we are at the start of defining this field and that It would be nice to address some of the issues around jargon and technical use of language.

Photo: Fenneke


Prof. Lex Bouter closes the day with the observation that the RI audience is a special kind of audience: investigators of all ages and backgrounds are willing to listen and help each other. The field is young with possibilities and granting opportunities. Of course, there will be bumps along the road, but he believes that the engagement from the patrons will remain this way. And that this engagement will lead to success. See you at the next edition of the NRIN Research Conference!

By Sanne Joon

Do you want to read more?

Keynote lecture by Prof. Wicherts
Discussion 1: Future or scholarly communication
Discussion 2: Do we need to redefine questionable research practices?
Taxonomy of non-integrity – a reflection on the conference

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