OCW based experience with doctoral students on a questionable research report

OCW based experience with doctoral students on a questionable research report

TheAndelec NSrgan Wscientific Integriteit (LOWI) He thinks researchers at the University of Twente are not transparent enough It has been about nature and danger Administrative Impact of the University of Groningen on research For a PhD student. The fact that the researchers at Twente have not been transparent about this has an impact on confidence in the science, LOW states. Regardless of LOWIA’s judgment over there now too Concerns about independence EnduaNecktie Which is now implemented by search.

In 2019, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, an interim assessment of experience with doctoral students was conducted by the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) of the University of Twente. However, LOWI concludes that this assessment is inconsistent with the rules of scientific conduct established by NWO, KNAW and VSNU in 2018. It is the seriousness and nature of the pressure exerted by the Graduate School leadership of the University of Groningen on the doctoral students interviewed by CHEPS that makes the practice of CHEPS research is in doubt; According to LOWI, they should have been more transparent about this effect.

PhD students can choose their own subject

The experiment with PhD students began in 2016 with the aim of significantly increasing the number of PhD students in the Netherlands. PhD students will not get a job anymore, they will get a scholarship from the university. This is cheaper for university; In exchange for losing a permanent contract, participants in the trial would receive better guidance in the form of education.

Furthermore, PhD students will also be more free to choose the subject. The University of Groningen (RUG), which has nearly eight hundred doctoral students, and Erasmus University, with dozens of doctoral students, decided to take part in this experiment. The interim evaluation was intended to be able to see early major adverse effects. If this is the case, the experiment will be discontinued.

There has long been significant criticism of this experiment from the left wing of the House of Representatives. It would strip working conditions for PhD students to a large extent. Nor was the outgoing minister, Van Engelshofen, always happy with the legacy of her predecessor. Last year, Jan Paternotte (D66) argued that the experiment should be stopped immediately and that doctoral students should be compensated for lost income.

When the Experiment Bill was passed in 2016, it was decided that an interim evaluation would take place in 2019. This was carried out by CHEPS, the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies at the University of Twente. During that interim assessment, there was much criticism of this report; According to Promovendi Netwerk Nederland (PNN), it will not be independent. RUG itself recruited people for the interviews that CHEPS was supposed to conduct, and according to PNN the recruiting was not entirely independent.

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The minister is negative, so a good evaluation is important

I know that the current minister seems to have a negative attitude towards the doctoral education program started by the previous minister. That is why it is so important that this interim evaluation goes well,” was the letter of invitation from Dean Le de Liege to PhD students who had not yet been interviewed.

When the CHEPS investigation was completed, it turned out that PNN’s criticism of the above practice was not included in the investigation report. Therefore, CHEPS positively reported experience with PhD students. The main conclusion of the interim evaluation was that no significant negative consequences were observed with respect to the trial that necessitated modification, suspension or termination of the trial. However, the data collection under this conclusion came in a questionable way, says LOWI now.

Moreover Critical review was positive

However, criticism continued from PNN, but also from part of the House of Representatives, and the minister decided that Critical review It is to be implemented by Leiden Professor of Educational Sciences Wilfrid Admiral and independent researcher Neil Verhoeven. They also concluded that the CHEPS investigation was rigorously performed.

In November 2019, PNN filed a complaint with the Committee on Scientific Integrity (CWI) of the University of Twente. The CWI advised its Executive Board to classify this research on a number of points under the term “suspicious behaviour”. However, the administrators of the University of Twente ignored this advice; They considered that the investigation was characterized by minor deficiencies only. For PNN, this was a reason to go to the National Authority for Scientific Integrity and look for the truth there.

outspoken supporter

Also in LOWI, the judgment focuses on the fact that the researchers from Twente were not sufficiently aware of the impact on scientific research by the University of Groningen – particularly in relation to the interviews. The applicant indicated that the interviewees were invited by a person directly interested in the outcome of the investigation for these interviews and were also largely selected by him. Since this person is an outspoken supporter of the experiment, the petitioner questions the representation of the selected persons,” LOWI writes.

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PNN also notes that interested parties directly from RUG sent the list of topics for discussion prior to interviews to administrators and policy staff rather than to the group of interest. As a result, the group was less willing to interview than administrative and policy staff.

The LOWI ruling states that this is “an intrusive attempt by a [direct belanghebbende bij het onderzoek] To influence policy research outcomes. Investigators should report any such attempt to influence the results of an investigation by someone directly interested in its findings.”

This has an impact on the confidence of science

“Although this attempt at influence cannot be attributed to the data subjects, the lack of transparency about the course of events during the investigation has an impact on confidence in the science. In describing the violation of standards, LOWI does not therefore consider the political and social context in which the investigation was conducted as relevant. relevance, but the nature and severity of the attempt to influence,` LOWI explains.

Chips points out that no research is complete, and certainly not in a political field. However, during the hearing at LOWI, the Executive Board of the University of Twente stated that the political context in which this research was conducted should not be taken into account; So it does not appear that the Executive Board of Twente considers the area of ​​political power in which the research was conducted an excuse.

It wasn’t intentional negligence

CHEPS was aware that RUG was putting pressure on the interviewees; LOWI notes that for this reason CHEPS conducted additional interviews after learning of the fact that the interviewees were pressured. It was not mentioned in the final study that additional people were interviewed because of the effect. However, LOWI disagrees with PNN’s accusation that CHEPS was not intentionally transparent.

LOWI believes that this effect on the interviewees by the University of Groningen should have been reflected in the study. In doing so, the body refers to the discussion that Raised on ScienceGuide, referred to in pronunciation as “the podium”. LOWI believes CHEPS did not intentionally omit the information, but it was negligence. That data subjects tried to influence [een platform] The LOWI Institute downplayed this issue, LOWI considers it insufficiently persuasive to assume intent in light of what was considered above about remedial measures taken by the data subjects. This does not detract from the conclusion that the data subjects were neglected.”

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unnecessary harm

The leadership of the Graduate School of the University of Groningen was discussed in a different article last September Science Guide Accused That PNN has gone to CWI because of this. “It is incomprehensible that PNN has also submitted a complaint against CHEPS to the University of Twente’s Committee on Scientific Integrity. This is unnecessarily harmful and we hope it will soon be dismissed as unfounded so this chapter can be closed.” Meanwhile, both UT’s and LOWI’s CWI were unsuccessful.

At the end of this month, outgoing Minister Van Engelshoven is due to come to the Chamber of Deputies to explain a fair reward for these doctoral students. The final evaluation of the trial, which is already in preparation, will also be discussed. The house is keen in advance of the final evaluation. For example, the CDA has already indicated that the independence of the final evaluation should be better protected. Because according to the Christian Democrats, the minister does not want the experiment to continue, such protections are more than necessary, according to the CDA.

The final evaluation, due by the end of November, will not be carried out by CHEPS. ScienceGuide has learned from sources that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has made it clear to CHEPS that errors in the interim assessment are the cause. Final evaluation is now being conducted by Researchned. In addition, in the context of research independence, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has now also established a Voice Council group with representatives from VSNU and PNN.

In the meantime, the final assessment also appears to bear a shadow of doubt. ScienceGuide has been informed that there are concerns among the research researchers; They were not allowed to conduct a survey themselves. Instead, they had to fit their questions into an existing UG survey. ScienceGuide has learned that the first results of the final evaluation will be announced internally next week.

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