Governance and management of the Research Fairness Initiative are essential to its independence and credibility.
In the first phase (start-up), the COHRED Core RFI Team – assisted by a globally representative Technical Working Group (TWG1) – used the extensive inputs from two (soon three) global consultations to create the RFI, the areas for reporting, and the quality standards for certification of reporting.
Even in this phase, we realised that independence between standard setting for reporting and certification of reporting is crucial for credibility and impact. We therefore initiated the search and recruitment of a second Technical Working Group (TWG2), which will have much more influence on shaping the RFI development in future.
At the same time, we need to balance independence with available financing, which is why we have not set up a separate organisation (yet). Instead, COHRED provides the Secretariat function for the work of the TWG.
For now, we propose the following governance and management structure for the Research Fairness Initiative (the diagram to the right). Pending increasing resources, it is anticipated that this structure will create even more ways to ensure independence between income, standard setting and certification.
In particular, we anticipate that the TWG2 will grow into an RFI Board that will be responsible for standard development and conflict resolution, as well as a more technical team that will work on continuously improving reporting guides and benchmark development. For now, COHRED will continue to provide the Secretariat, but is anticipating that this may split off to a separate non-profit body.