Research Integrity Gets Boost

May 1, 2010

Applied Clinical Trials

Applied Clinical Trials, Applied Clinical Trials-05-01-2010, Volume 0, Issue 0

Second World Conference on Research Integrity will establish global guidelines for promoting integrity in clinical research.

The global campaign to restore public confidence in research and ensure consistently high standards will take another step forward in July, when the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity will be held in Singapore.

Following the first meeting in Lisbon in 2007, participants will exchange information and views and then work together to develop guidelines and recommendations for promoting integrity in clinical research on a global scale. The overall aim is to produce a Singapore Statement on Research Integrity to establish agreement on the basic principles that should govern all research.

"While major breaches of research integrity are thankfully not common, small and large problems do occur throughout the vast global research enterprise," according to a statement from the organizers.

Program themes

In Singapore, there will be some discussion about how to respond to misconduct. Establishing global codes of conduct and best practices for research, common curricula for training students and researchers in best practices, and uniform best practices for editors and publishers will also be addressed, they stated. Prior to the congress, an interactive Web site will allow participants to start drafting and refining a basic standard for integrity that can be used worldwide.

The conference is aimed primarily at decision makers in research funding organizations (grant agencies and research councils); scientific and technical journal publishers, book editors, and reviewers; heads of research organizations (national research laboratories and universities); and researchers, educators, and policy experts, as well as those responsible for research integrity in ministries and agencies.

The meeting will ask if governments should have policies on fostering integrity and responding to misconduct in research. If so, what should the policies cover, how should they be developed, and what are the obstacles to the development of effective policies? Is there a need for greater harmonization?

Editors are the gatekeepers for research publications, and they must bear some responsibility for publications and publication practices that undermine the integrity of the literature, noted the organizers. The conference will explore problems that arise in the publication process, and will discuss how to address these problems. It will set the stage for developing more global guidelines for editors.

"Over the last 20 years significant progress has been made in developing broad policies that apply generally across fields and are adopted by many journals. Even so, differences remain and violations of good practice for authorship and responsible publication practices are significant," they stated.

Research misconduct

A post-conference workshop will focus on training for misconduct investigations. The organizers think the need to conduct responsible investigations of reported problems is likely to grow, so it is important to draw on the experiences of countries with know-how in conducting investigations. The workshop will provide a short course for administrators and researchers who want to learn the basics of conducting an investigation.

The conference is being hosted by the Nanyang Technological University, the National University of Singapore, the Singapore Management University, and the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research. It has the backing of the Ministry of Education and the National Research Foundation.

Additional support has come from the Singapore Tourism Board, the European Science Foundation, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity, the Committee on Publication Ethics, and the European Molecular Biology Organization.

The event will take place at the Pan Pacific Hotel from July 21 to July 24. More details about the conference are available at wcri2010.org.—Philip Ward

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