Our ethical framework

Establishing a sustainable mechanism will face many ethical challenges. Indeed, when various actors from different spheres (politics, academia, lobbyism, media, etc.) are called upon to interact within one process as complex as a new science-policy interface, integrity and credibility are at high risk of being compromised if ethical risks are not adequately addressed. In order to limit those risks, we have set up:

  • an ethical infrastructure that guides (and regulates) interactions among internal actors of the mechanism (Knowledge Coordination Body, Secretariat, Expert Working Groups, etc.) as well as with external actors (requesters, stakeholders, etc.). Three groups of measures will complement each other: guidance, management and control.
  • a formative evaluation that will ensure timely feedback from everyone involved in and dealing with the processes handled by EKLIPSE (internal and external actors). The formative evaluation provides advice for ensuring joint learning, improving processes, and adjusting our structure and procedures. Evaluation guidelines with criteria and indicators will be elaborated to be used when the mechanism becomes self-sustaining.
  • criteria that will guide both the ethical infrastructure as well as the formative evaluation. In a joint and iterative process criteria, such as credibility, relevance and legitimacy (e.g. CRELE), will be identified and used throughout the mechanism.

 

EKLIPSE Ethical Infrastructure framework

In developing an interface between knowledge holders, stakeholders and decision makers on biodiversity issues, the EKLIPSE Mechanism, just as any science-policy-society interface, faces many challenges. In the crucial endeavour to tackle all those challenges, determining an ethical course of actions is essential to the credibility, relevance and legitimacy of such an interface.

To achieve this, EKLIPSE aims to establish and follow an ethical infrastructure for all its main activities, thus strengthening recognition and transparency of its processes. As such, EKLIPSE ethical infrastructure builds on many lessons learned from other interface processes, scientific quality assurance and engagement issues coming from transdisciplinary research.

As developed in a recent paper1 in the context of EKLIPSE and one of its precursor BiodiversityKnowledge, the ethical infrastructure should focus on three main building blocks, namely guidance, management and control (see table below).

  • The guidance block provides strong leadership, statement of values such as code of ethics and professional socialisation activities such as education and training.
  • The management block includes policies and practices that create conditions “that ensure fair and impartial selection, promotion and remuneration, as well as contribute to social respect”.
  • The control block regroups elements such as “a legal framework; effective accountability and control mechanisms; transparency, public involvement and scrutiny”2 .

Below you can find the 12 measures and instruments we would like to implement in the EKLIPSE mechanism. This will be done in a stepwise approach as major needs to set them up arise and also as they are subject to adaptation due to the reflexivity and evaluation of EKLIPSE processes. Those measures in bold and italic are the ones that have been already applied.
 

Guidance

Management

Control

1) Clear guiding values

5) Complaint mechanism, including investigation and follow-up

8) Sanctions for reprehensible acts

2) Code of ethics

6) Body for the management of the infrastructure

9) Legal framework including rules and directives

3) Trainings

7) Transparent selection procedure for staff, requests, experts, reviewers and evaluators

e.g.

  • Selection criteria

  • Open calls for recruitment

  • Forms for experts to reply to the call for expertise

  • Log book of requests

  • External facilitator for some meetings

 

10) Crisis management group

4) Declaration of Conflict of Interest

 

12) Setting up feedback processes such as public consultations

 

 

13) Transparency of all the outputs:

  • Broad dissemination

  • Mandatory double check of all accepted requests

  • Follow-up of how reports are used

  • Standard evaluation protocols

 

[1]  Tremblay et al. (2016): BiodiverConserv 25(7): 1253-1267 (DOI: 10.1007/s10531-016-1123-9) 

[2]  The building blocks are based on Bertok& Beth (2005): Public sector integrity – a framework for assessment.- OECD, France 

Please find links to the poster and the flyer used during the EKLIPSE Proof of Concept Conference (POCC).

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

On 25th May 2018, the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was brought into law. EKLIPSE guarantees the respectful and secure use of personal data, exclusively for the purposes of communicating to the public about our activities and for engaging with societal actors through our requests and expert groups. EKLIPSE is a science research project in the public interest therefore personal data relating to our mailing lists is processed under the lawful basis of consent and personal data relating to our requests and expert groups is processed under public task. EKLIPSE is currently coordinated by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH). The CEH privacy notice contains further information on the purpose and lawful basis for processing personal data.