Fostering Responsible Research Practices

This programme investigated the functioning of science. Researchers examine the system and culture of science. This is important to guarantee robust, high quality and honest research. The acquired knowledge reveals what is going well and which improvements are needed to safeguard responsible research practices.

Fostering responsible research

Responsible research is robust, reliable and relevant. Research that satisfies these requirements promotes trust in science and in the impact of research results. This cannot be taken for granted. Therefore, reflection on the functioning of the research system, research cultures and practices is needed. In this way, we can learn how to further promote responsible research practices and, consequently, safeguard reliable scientific knowledge.

In addition, new movements and developments exist, which are changing how research is done, such as open access publishing, rendering data accessible and reusable, citizen science and the new Recognition and Rewards policy. These movements and developments require new insights to safeguard responsible research practices both now and in the future.

Understanding and fostering responsible research

The programme Fostering Responsible Research Practices had three objectives:

  1. Providing an overview of Dutch initiatives for fostering responsible research practices and providing insights into how these initiatives function in the organisations concerned.
  2. Understanding how systemic, cultural and individual factors influence responsible as well as questionable and fraudulent research practices.
  3. Contributing to effective measures at the system, culture and individual level to encourage responsible research and prevent questionable and fraudulent research practices.

ZonMw will not organise any new funding rounds within this programme. Its intended successor is the Promoting Good Science programme.


The programme Fostering Responsible Research Practices was funded by 5 organisations: ZonMw, the Dutch Research Council (NWO), the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU), the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) and the Dutch Diabetes Research Foundation.

Pillars of the programme Fostering Responsible Research Practices

The programme had four pillars.

  1. Open Call with the awarded projects
    The research projects provide knowledge about responsible research practices and questionable research projects. Such practices can occur at several levels: the science system, the culture within a department, faculty or institute, and at the level of the individual.
    To Open Call (in Dutch)

    Overview projects
  2. National Audit
    The research aims to make an inventory of responsible research practices in the Netherlands and to identify best practices. In addition, improvements will be implemented on the basis of the knowledge acquired.
    To project National Audit (in Dutch)
  3. Project life cycles
    By describing decision moments and actions throughout the entire life course of a study (grant application – experiment – analysis – archiving – policy/application) this project increases the knowledge about the life cycle of research projects. The aim is to implement evidence-based improvements.
    To project Life cycles  (in Dutch)
  4. National Survey
    In 2021, a national survey was conducted into integrity within (scientific) research. The main question was how we can obtain insight into the nature and causes of questionable research practices.
    To National Survey


The committee consisted of researchers from different scientific fields. They provided advice about the quality and the management of the projects.




€ 3.825.000
Duration: 100%
Duration: 100 %


Natachia Kroes

Programme Assistant
BVO [at]