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Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching … your research

Research integrity includes:

the use of honest and verifiable methods in proposing, performing and evaluating research; reporting research results with particular attention to adherence to rules, regulations, guidelines, and following commonly accepted professional codes or norms.

The University of the Philippines Manila is setting up an Office of Research Integrity. This is an important step in raising awareness about research integrity. And according to the Working with Research Integrity—Guidance for Research Performing Organisations: The Bonn PRINTEGER Statement

Dedicated persons should be made responsible for creating awareness of research integrity challenges, guidelines and procedures, and for ensuring that information is up-to-date and available for all. The ultimate responsibility for providing information lies with the institution, which should ensure a dedicated organisational support structure proportional to the size and complexity of the organisation.

Forsberg et al. Sci Eng Ethics. 2018; 24(4): 1023–1034.

Preparing for this tweet chat, I asked Twitter for possible questions on this topic. Jojo Fresnedi sent me this tweet. Steven Pinker’s letter speaks eloquently not only of research integrity but more broadly, scientific integrity.

Sandra raised the issue of research ethics boards within institutions. There are not enough REBs locally is what I know, and I heard at a meeting that some REBs have had to not accept applications as the site of the study will be too far from them to actively monitor its conduct.

Dr. Tan Alora and Dr. Patrick Moral raised even more difficult questions. I’ve heard of at least one case where a trial participant enrolled in two research sites because it was access to healthcare. I work at a government hospital and so I see it is the poor who are willing to participate in health research. Some of them have told me that it’s not too bad to get experimented on, since one gets regular medical care, the line to see the doctor is much shorter and there’s a transportation allowance.

Teaching in a training institution, I have sadly seen research conducted for the sake of completing requirements. There are also quality of care researches that can be useful to change the way things are done, but instead languish in research cabinets or are ignored even when published.

I’ve subsumed Helen’s questions in the tweet chat questions. Also that of Lads, who cites a specific research misconduct on authorship.

Let’s discuss research integrity at the #HealthXPH tweet chat 20 July 2019 9 pm Manila time.

  • Is research integrity mere absence of research misconduct? Give examples of research misconduct you have heard of or seen.
  • What are the barriers to reporting research misconduct? How is research misconduct reported or handled in your institution?
  • How can we promote research integrity? Give examples of how research misconduct can be avoided.

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