Research culture experienced by training participants

From The Embassy of Good Science

Research culture experienced by training participants

Instructions for:TraineeTrainer
Participants vote to statements regarding the research culture, to give an impression of how we are doing, and what PhD candidates experience. The voting is anonymous, but the teacher will invite the audience to elucidate and to share examples.
For whom is this important?

What is this about?

The main learning objectives of this exercise are to:

  • Gain insight in the research culture in which the participants do their research;
  • Recognise and acknowledge that research culture affects one’s own work environment and experience.

The skills that are practiced in this exercise are:

  • Reflection on the experienced work climate;
  • Reflection on the influence of research culture on research practice.

Practical Tips

Prepare a mentimeter account and set up the statements prior to the training.

Statements about perceived research culture could be:

  1. Without publication pressure, my scientic output would be of higher quality.
  2. My colleagues judge me mainly on the basis of my publications.
  3. I need to publish to advance my career.
  4. Collaborating with others helps me to do good research.
  5. Collaboration leads to problems or dilemma’s in my work.
  6. I’m afraid my competitors will misuse my data when I share it (open data).

Examples of the influence of research culture on research practice could be:

  1. Publication pressure that leads to ‘salami slicing’ of one study into multiple publications.
  2. Publication pressure that leads to gift authorship.
  3. Conflict of interest that lead to ghost authorship.
  4. Homogeneous selection committees that lead to bias in the selection of researchers for grants or promotion (homogeneous again).


The teacher gives a brief introduction to the exercise and the objectives.


Statements about perceived research culture are presented one by one on the screen.

Examples of such statements are given below. The teacher can add (or replace) statements at one’s own discretion. For example, based on the assignments the participants submitted through the online module.

When using Mentimeter (or a similar tool), the participants can vote with their mobile devices. They do not need to create an account. They go to ( and ll in the code that is shown on the screen to be able to vote.


After each voting the teacher summarises the result and invites the group to share their idea or experience. Which examples can they give that illustrate the influence of the aspect of research culture on research practice? How good or bad is that? Which RM, QRP or RCR examples might follow from this aspect of research culture?

  • Note that the voting is anonymous on purpose. Participants are not obliged to share personal stories in this exercise. It is more important to get an honest impression of the research culture that the participants experience.
  • It might benet the openness of the group when the teacher shares an example from his or her own experience. If the group is reluctant to share their ideas, the teacher might give examples ‘heard from colleagues or in previous training’. Ensure that you safeguard condentiality and privacy (of the colleagues or previous participants)!
  • The teacher makes notes of the topics that are raised during the conversation on a statement. This way, a list of factors that foster or threaten responsible conduct of research is compiled. Make these notes on a flip-over sheet (or a part of the black- or whiteboard that doesn’t need to be wiped clean during the rest of the program) so that it can be put up again during Part 4.

Open round

After the statements an open question is presented, again with Mentimeter. The participants can submit their own ideas of research culture that have not been discussed yet. The teacher leads the conversation about the submitted factors and keeps making notes about the topics on the black- or whiteboard list.


The teacher summarises the results of the exercise and thanks the participants for their openness.

Other information