Point 34 of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers states that bodies must establish an impartial person as an advocate of the researcher to deal with claims and appeals by researchers, including those relating to conflicts between supervisors and early-stage researchers. This must be done in compliance with national provisions and regulations.
These procedures must offer all research staff confidential and informal assistance in resolving labor disputes and complaints with the aim of promoting fair and equitable treatment by the institution and improving the overall quality of the work environment.
The figure of research staff advocate, or Ombudsperson, appears in article 14 of the IGTP Manual of Good Scientific Practices. This is the person who must receive and investigate allegations of scientific misconduct submitted by a person or a fully identified group and decide on the actions to be taken and if necessary create an external committee to evaluate the case and take appropriate action.
Our Ombudsperson is Dr Josep Maria Ribera Santasusana. He is recognized as being an independent professional, duly qualified and of personal integrity and he is accessible to all IGTP researchers in those cases in which there has been a possible violation of the principles of good scientific practice. He will act as a mediator between a researcher who detects possible misconduct and anyone suspected of scientific misconduct
- In cases of conflict or doubts regarding good scientific practice, the interested person may contact the Ombudsperson via email ombudsperson(ELIMINAR)@igtp.cat.
- The Ombudsman shall initiate proceedings, while respecting confidentiality at all times, examine the complaint, hear the two parties separately and scrupulously respect their rights and he will protect the complainant to avoid negative consequences, especially if the complainant belongs to the same research group as the person accused of misconduct.
- If a claim of misconduct appears to be justified, Dr Ribera may request the establishment of an ad hoc commission of experts in the particular field of research, which may determine whether or not there has been misconduct, or only tender advice to the CIR-CAT (Committee for the Integrity of Research in Catalonia).
- In the event that the conclusion is that malpractice has occurred, the ombudsperson will inform the Management of the Institute, who will decide on the appropriate sanction. If in the type of bad malpractice gives rise to suspicions of a crime, the center will proceed to report it to the judicial authority.
- If malpractice is ruled out, and the prestige of the researcher has been harmed, care will be taken to restore their reputation as far as possible in the most convenient way. Appropriate actions will also be taken in the event that it is shown that there was obvious bad faith in the complaint.
The IGTP is committed to the principles established in the European Researchers Charter and Code of Conduct for the recruitment of researchers.