The quality in research concerns the quality of the approaches and the procedures and not the quality of the research itself the evaluation of which can be driven only by the peers. In a context of international keen competition and in front of the rise of problems of business ethics, a quality approach made a success within research centers and laboratories constitutes a tool of success both on the scientific plan(shot) and from the point of view of the international competitiveness. Various reflections were led as well to United States as in various European countries about the quality in research during the last ten years. These reflections show the strategic importance of this question

Specificity of the quality approach in research

Contrary to processes of repetitive character of production of the possessions and the services in industrial environment, the processes of research join a context of uncertainties or the result is not acquired in priori. So the quality in research cannot be reduced with care of fixed standards, but has to take into account the evolution of the knowledge, practices of research and the risks which can be associated there, as new needs of information of the company(society). Teams of research but also the services of support and administration are thus brought to develop " good practices " of research but also support for the research. These practices base in particular on the production of documents supports serving as marks and allowing to give a track to the driving of the actions.

Undertaken works and publications

Following works undertaken by an informal group of representatives of bodies of private and public societies which had approached the problem of the quality in research in 1993, the ministry loaded with the research decided to get involved there. The works undertaken under the aegis of the ministry loaded with the research allowed the writing (editorial staff) of an experimental guide of the quality in research published in 1997. From this experimental guide, works led by the AFNOR (French National Organization For Standardization) in the executive the committee " quality in research " ended in the publishing of three parts of documentation entitled " Quality approach in research, general principles and recommendation " (FD X 50-550), " Quality in research - Recommendations for the organization and the realization of an activity of research in mode project in particular within the framework of a network " (FD X 50 551) and Guide of application of the ISO 9001 in research bodies (GA X50-552).

The first part of documentation published in October, 2001 is above all a work of doctrine.

The second part wants more operational and retails the principles of the implementation of quality approaches in the execution of cooperative projects of research. It is intended to help the teams of research to present integrated projects, joint projects, or propositions of constitution of excellent networks within the framework of the 6th PCRD.

The third part aims at facilitating the approach of the ISO 9001 in the context of the search(research) without being a document of formation in the ISO 9001. Examples of certifications ISO 9001d'unités units of researches are given to the end of this document.

To bring to a successful conclusion these works, two working groups were set up in September, 2001, within the framework of the Committee of standardization Quality in research (X 580) :
  • the group X 583 elaborate a document on the progress of the activities of research,
  • the group X 584 the spot of which was to prepare a guide of reading of the standard ISO 9001 for research bodies.
  • The actions of the ministry delegated in the research concerning the quality in research join the more general frame of the modernization of the administration and are completed by a sector concerning the "quality of the supervision of research". Both actions "quality in research" and "quality of the supervisionof the researc " ordinated within the framework of the plan quality of the ministry.

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