Advancing the management of research activities with AFNOR

Following a 2011 survey of research figures, AFNOR launched the Commission for standardisation AFNOR X580 "Management of research activities" to which ArkéoTopia®, an alternative approach to archaeology came forward to represent the interests of archaeology and social sciences.

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The context - Why set up this commission?

Research has a major role to play in nations' competitiveness and economic performance now more than ever before through the creation of value-added and jobs which it generates by innovation. The world of research has seen evolutions which have brought a dynamic of change to parties involved in it: an evolution of the career of researcher, growth of projects of excellence and multidisciplinary projects, etc.

These elements lead organisations to try to structure themselves to improve different actions implemented and to adapt to change, but also to better communicate and reinforce collaborations with various public and private organisations.

Standard reference bases have provided the first tools which now need to be adapted to these evolutions:
flechd FD X50-550:2001 - general principles and recommendations
flechd FD X50-551:2003 – recommendations for the organisation and realisation of a research activity in project mode, notably within a network
flechd GA X50-552:2004 – application guide for ISO 9001 in research organisations

To manage these evolutions, research players surveyed placed themselves in favour of revising the standard research bases in order to continue this process of helping the structure and promotion of research activity management through standardisation.

Groups targeted by the recommended standard X-580This would involve creating a reference document of recommended standards which could be taken to a European level like the CEN Workshop Agreement having the objective of:
flechd benefitting mutually from and optimising research activities to improve their organisation and add value to their results
flechd capitalising on the know-how and knowledge of research figures and making them more durable
flechd defining and promoting the different facets of careers in research.

To attain this objective, the commission was divided into 6 sub-groups working across disciplines whose areas of interest are:
GT1 – Social responsibility
GT2 – Piloting research activities
GT3 – Resource management
GT4 – Conduct and carrying out research activities
GT5 - Use and validation of results
GT6 - Evaluation

ArkéoTopia and the working group on social responsibility

ArkéoTopia will direct the commission's working group on social responsibility. Since the subject links ethics and the researcher's obligation to society, we will work on the two following general themes:
flechd Scientific ethics on subjects linked to
- respecting contractual engagements (the difference between employee and freelance)
- data integrity
- robustness of measures
- traceability of different research stages
- validity of results

flechd Social ethics of subjects linked to
- respecting national policies initially on a French level (animal experiments / GMOs / respect of the historical structure of nations, etc.)
- transparency of work depending on obligations (diffusion of results, access to raw data, etc.)
- the relationship between researchers and the wider public (to allow the ordinary citizen to contribute to research, to facilitate understanding of the consequences of research, etc.)
- the relationship between professional researchers and voluntary researchers (recognising everyone's work, defining everyone's constraints and advantages, etc.)

By making links with its Arkéthique project about ethics in archaeology, ArkéoTopia plans to contribute to bnoringing forward the relationships within the scientific community between professional researchers, voluntary researchers, research figures, politicians and ordinary people.

In this respect, , we call on researchers in archaeology, history, ethnology, philology, etc. to get together to take this opportunity to be proactive rather than to be subjected to the decisions of deliberations from which they have been excluded. To participate in this working group, contact Jean-Olivier Gransard-Desmond. For the other groups, contact Isabelle Lambert.


Calendar for the X-580 standardisation commission's programme

Isabelle LAMBERT - standardisation project manager à l'AFNOR
11, rue Francis de Pressensé 93571 LA PLAINE SAINT DENIS CEDEX - 01 41 62 80 92 -

Dr. Jean-Olivier GRANSARD-DESMOND - President of ArkéoTopia
06 67 80 48 10 -
MdA7-ArkéoTopia 4 rue Amélie 75007 Paris

To find out more...
flechd about AFNOR's call for contributions, see « Chercheurs, participez à l'élaboration d'un guide sur le management appliqué au domaine de la recherche » (Researchers, participate in the development of a guide for applied management in the field of research) (in French) and download the leaflet calling for contributions (in French).
flechd about interest in a quality approach to research and the frames of reference on a French and European level, see the page Qualité-Recherche de l'Université de Technologie de Compiègne in French), in particular the section référentiels utiles (useful references).
flechd about the Arkéthique project, see the statement entitled Ethics and archaeology made at the European Association of Archaeologists in 2011.

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