Fostering Integrity in the Global Research Enterprise

Sunday, February 14, 2016: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Marriott Balcony A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Indira Nath, National Institute of Pathology of India, New Delhi, India
International and inter-disciplinary linkages in research are increasing and more papers have co-authors from different countries as well as different fields. More researchers are crossing borders for education and training. The new knowledge produced by the global research enterprise would add to our understanding of health, the environment, and economic development. However, irresponsible research conduct can pose threats and damage the credibility of scientific research. High-profile cases of data fabrication have been reported worldwide, and journals are facing increasing number of papers that need retraction. In response to these trends, the global national scientific academies, working through the InterAcademy Partnership, launched a project on research integrity in 2011 whose report would constitute the main thrust of my talk.

As the global research enterprise grows and diversifies, researchers are crossing national borders for education, research opportunities, and careers. These international collaborations benefit not only for individual researchers and institutions but also for nations. Collaborations can build political and economic links that transcend boundaries. Indeed, research collaboration forms an important component of foreign policy for a number of nations. Large multinational projects share the cost of science while accelerating the production of knowledge that benefits all countries. 

Team research can create conflict as well as opportunity. Unless care is taken the the rapid expansion of global teams may lead to improper communication of research traditions and ethical principles to new researchers. When two or more researchers or groups of researchers from different countries decide to work together on a research project, national codes or procedures may differ or even contradict each other. The expanding globalization of research calls for devoting  more attention to differences in definitions, standards, and procedures among nations. Differences among countries can be especially difficult when two or more countries need to investigate an allegation of irresponsible conduct where administrators also need to collaborate. 

The principles followed by the Academies for fostering global research is based on the application of seven fundamental values that underpin research: Honesty,Fairness,Objectivity,Reliability, Skepticism, Accountability and Openness.