3429 Research Integrity as a Global Concern

Saturday, February 19, 2011: 8:30 AM
159AB (Washington Convention Center )
Nicholas H. Steneck , University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
An apparent increase in research misconduct and uncertainty about ways to foster integrity in research has long been a concern in many countries but only recently addressed on a global level.  The need to engage integrity in research globally should be obvious.  With students now routinely training in several countries and international research collaborations growing, uniform standards for best practice are needed.  International research collaboration cannot move forward smoothly if expectations for the responsible conduct of research vary from country to country.

The World Conferences on Research Integrity represent an effort to promote discussion about and develop strategies to foster integrity in research throughout the world.  The two conferences held to date–Lisbon, 2007 and Singapore, 2010–have involved research leaders from over 50 countries, with the goal of sharing experiences, developing a framework for discussion, and establishing an agenda for moving forward.  As a first step toward establishing a framework for moving forward, participants at the 2nd World Conference helped develop the consensus Singapore Statement on Research Integrity, which outlines four basic principles and fourteen responsibilities that should be common to research throughout the world (www.singaporestatement.org).

Many obstacles remain to the development of an effective global system for promoting integrity in research. There are a few important national differences that will make it difficult to harmonize some details of integrity policies, such as privacy and employment laws. Many countries and key research leaders are, unfortunately, still reluctant to make meaningful commitments to the promotion of integrity in research.  And perhaps most importantly, basic information about research behavior throughout the world is lacking, making it difficult to formulate rational policies.  It will therefore take time to move the promotion of integrity in research from the present, inconsistent national approach to the more effective, uniform global approach that is needed to retain public confidence in and support for research into the future.

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