Most Latin American Research Institutions do not have an establish system to detect and denounce research misconduct This article reflects on the need to establish high standards in research integrity and monitoring mechanisms in Latin American Research Institutions in order to have an accurate science and for transferring research results to public policies, health promotion and social progress. Based on the experience of developed countries, we propose the following mechanisms to promote research integrity: to promote a culture to enhance good research practices; to establish norms to maintain responsible conduct of research; to establish monitoring proceedings; and to establish mechanisms of support to affront demands of research misconduct.
Plagiarism is a serious, yet widespread type of research misconduct, and is often neglected in developing countries. Despite its far-reaching implications, plagiarism is poorly acknowledged and discussed in the academic setting, and insufficient evidence exists in Latin America and developing countries to inform the development of preventive strategies. In this context, we present a longitudinal case study of seven instances of plagiarism and cheating arising in four consecutive classes (2011-2014) of an Epidemiology Masters program in Lima, Peru, and describes the implementation and outcomes of a multifaceted, "zero-tolerance" policy aimed at introducing research integrity. Two cases involved cheating in graded assignments, and five cases correspond to plagiarism in the thesis protocol. Cases revealed poor awareness of high tolerance to plagiarism, poor academic performance, and widespread writing deficiencies, compensated with patchwriting and copy-pasting. Depending on the events' severity, penalties included course failure (6/7) and separation from the program (3/7). Students at fault did not engage in further plagiarism. Between 2011 and 2013, the Masters program sequentially introduced a preventive policy consisting of: (i) intensified research integrity and scientific writing education, (ii) a stepwise, cumulative writing process; (iii) honor codes; (iv) active search for plagiarism in all academic products; and (v) a "zero-tolerance" policy in response to documented cases. No cases were detected in 2014. In conclusion, plagiarism seems to be widespread in resource-limited settings and a greater response with educational and zero-tolerance components is needed to prevent it.
Research misconduct is an international concern. Misconduct policies can play a crucial role in preventing and policing research misconduct, and many institutions have developed their own policies. While institutional policies play a key role in preventing and policing misconduct, national policies are also important to ensure consistent promulgation and enforcement of ethical standards. The purpose of this study was to obtain more information about research misconduct policies across the globe. We found that twenty-two of the top forty research and development funding countries (55%) had a national misconduct policy. Four countries (18.2%) are in the process of developing a policy, and four (18.2%) have a national research ethics code but no misconduct policy. All twenty-two countries (100%) with national policies included fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism in the definition of misconduct, but beyond that there was considerable diversity. Unethical authorship was mentioned in 54.6% of the misconduct definitions, followed by unethical publication practices (36.4%), conflict of interest mismanagement (36.4%), unethical peer review (31.8%), misconduct related to misconduct investigations (27.3%), poor record keeping (27.3%), other deception (27.3%), serious deviations (22.7%), violating confidentiality (22.7%), and human or animal research violations (22.7%). Having a national policy was positively associated with research and development funding ranking and intensiveness. To promote integrity in international research collaborations, countries should seek to harmonize and clarify misconduct definitions and develop procedures for adjudicating conflicts when harmonization does not occur.
In 2000, the U.S. federal government adopted a uniform definition of research misconduct as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism (FFP), which became effective in 2001. Institutions must apply this definition of misconduct to federally-funded research to receive funding. While institutions are free to adopt definitions of misconduct that go beyond the federal standard, it is not known how many do. We analyzed misconduct policies from 183 U.S. research institutions and coded them according to thirteen different types of behavior mentioned in the misconduct definition. We also obtained data on the institution's total research funding and public vs. private status, and the year it adopted the definition. We found that more than half (59%) of the institutions in our sample had misconduct policies that went beyond the federal standard. Other than FFP, the most common behaviors included in definitions were "other serious deviations" (45.4%), "significant or material violations of regulations" (23.0%), "misuse of confidential information" (15.8%), "misconduct related to misconduct" (14.8%), "unethical authorship other than plagiarism" (14.2%), "other deception involving data manipulation" (13.1%), and "misappropriation of property/theft" (10.4%). Significantly more definitions adopted in 2001 or later went beyond the federal standard than those adopted before 2001 (73.2% vs. 26.8%), and significantly more definitions adopted by institutions in the lower quartile of total research funding went beyond the federal standard than those adopted by institutions in the upper quartiles. Public vs. private status was not significantly associated with going beyond the federal standard.
This book is an easy to read, yet comprehensive introduction to practical issues in research ethics and scientific integrity. It addresses questions about what constitutes appropriate academic and scientific behaviors from the point of view of what Robert Merton called the “ethos of science.” In other words, without getting into tricky questions about the nature of the good or right (as philosophers often do), Koepsell’s concise book provides an approach to behaving according to the norms of science and academia without delving into the morass of philosophical ethics.
The central thesis is that: since we know certain behaviors are necessary for science and its institutions to work properly (rather than pathologically), we can extend those principles to guide good behaviors as scientists and academics.
The Spanish version of this book was commissioned by the Mexican National Science Foundation (CONACyT) and is being distributed to and used by Mexican scientists in a unique, national plan to improve scientific integrity throughout all of Mexico. Available now in English, the examples and strategies employed can be used throughout the English speaking research world for discussing issues in research ethics, training for scientists and researchers across disciplines, and those who are generally interested in ethics in academia.
Growth of the research enterprise in Korea and the United States has been accompanied by calls for an increased focus on research integrity. Concerns have grown both because of cases of research misconduct and apparent lapses in the reproducibility of science. Education and training are believed by many to have an important role in helping researchers to meet these challenges. The purpose is to answer the simple question of how should one act, to choose not to lie, cheat, or steal, but also how to handle less clear instances (e.g., who should bear both the credit and responsibility of authorship). While there may well be areas in which Korea and the United States differ substantially, it is clear that basic values such as honesty, objectivity, and responsibility are held in common by researchers internationally. The question therefore is not so much whether these values are accepted but how to foster a climate in which it is easier to honor those values than not. One answer to that question is simply to promote a research environment in which both educational programs and researchers advocate for good practices in science (e.g., good data management, giving credit where due, and open discussion).
Both China and the USA recognize the critical role of research integrity in sustaining a productive research enterprise. Both countries have also experienced public backlash to reports of researcher misconduct, prompting a greater government response, with its mix of regulation and funding incentives and a commitment to changing the research culturethrough greater emphasis on education. China faces special challenges in remaking a research funding system marked by a climate of pervasive corruption and personal favoritism. As it breaks from its recent past, China must find ways to alter a culture of scholarship still influenced by its unique history and that affects vast numbers of students and faculty.China is increasing its investment in response to these challenges but in several respectsis still playing catch-up with the West. In the USA, the challenges are also formidable. There is a research culture that puts undue pressure on scientists to produce breakthrough research, a need for government oversight that is not unduly intrusive but nevertheless consistent with public demands for accountability, and a need for rigor in designing effective educational approaches to help bring about the cultural change needed.
This chapter explores the conceptual approaches to research integrity in Austria and Canada, and the governance structures that support those approaches.
In Austria, research integrity is synonymous with good scientific practice. Universities and other research institutions publish their own definitions, which vary in content, clarity and binding force. The Austrian Agency for Research Integrity, the main body responsible for promoting research integrity, is an independent association of research-related organizations. The Agency’s Commission on Research Integrity conducts independent investigations of alleged research misconduct. The Agency is now creating a set of national guidelines for research integrity, and offers educational workshops and seminars to foster a critical approach to research. Training in good scientific practice is almost unavailable at Austrian universities.
In contrast, research integrity in Canada is defined to be one part of responsible conduct of research, encompassing all aspects of research from funding applications to dissemination of results. The main guidance document is the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research, developed by Canada’s three main research funding agencies. They also established a Secretariat and Panel on Responsible Conduct of Research to interpret the RCR Framework and advise the agency Presidents of appropriate recourse in cases of breach. Investigations are conducted by academic institutions. Researchers, institutions and the funding agencies share responsibility for responsible conduct of research.