Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending the third World Conference on Research Integrity in Montreal, bringing together thought leaders on research integrity and responsible conduct in research. The Conference covered issues including the contributing factors of fabrication and systemic dishonesty, potential solutions in better training and support for whistleblowers, and larger incentives to changing the research culture.
Aggregating these respective themes, I felt it important to review the different opinions offered at the Conference. Consolidating the various themes and propositions presented can in turn allow for discussion of potential strategies to build more effective solutions to the problem of research integrity.
The Problem: Fabrication or Dishonesty?
In discussing the issue of “Research Integrity”, it was first essential to define the parameters of the discussion.
For many of the attendees, the problems surrounding research integrity were narrowly defined as those conducive to misconduct, including fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism (FFP). At one point Jim Kroll, the Head of Administrative Investigations at the NSF Office of Inspector General, contended that the NSF was solely focused on examining research misconduct, not research quality.