Ensuring research integrity

Canada needs an agency to investigate research misconduct, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Although honesty, accuracy and professionalism of scientists are vital for , there have been many public examples of serious research misconduct. , author misrepresentation and manipulation of data are other issues that also affect scientific and academic research.

can and will investigate misconduct when detected, and academic institutions will investigate if it is reported before submission to a journal. However, there is an inherent when an institution investigates one of its own researchers as the need for an institution to maintain a positive reputation with respected faculty is necessary to attract and keep grants, sponsorships and donations.

"We need a better system to prevent, report and respond to allegations of research misconduct," writes Dr. Matthew B. Stanbrook, Deputy Editor, Scientific, with CMAJ editors.

The authors suggest that Canada needs a new agency with the mandate and power to investigate allegations of research misconduct. Alternatively, an existing authority such as the Panel on Research Ethics could be given this role with increased powers. The cost of the agency could be shared between the federal government, which provides significant funding of research, and academic institutions as part of taking responsibility for their research staff.

"Such an agency would be likely in any case to have better resources for investigations and satisfactorily resolve allegations in a timely manner," write the authors. "But its real benefit for the public and researchers alike would lie in independent and transparent public reporting."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists resolve to crack down on fraud

Dec 10, 2008

Public confidence in the honesty of scientists is being harmed by a small minority of researchers who behave badly, a conference heard last week. European research organisations agreed to work more closely to tackle the problem ...

Feds pressure Tenet; hospital may close

May 09, 2006

The U.S. government wants to prohibit the Alvarado Hospital Medical Center in San Diego from taking part in Medicare and similar government programs.

Male doctors more likely to be disciplined for misconduct

May 01, 2011

Male doctors are four times more likely than female doctors to be disciplined for misconduct, and sexual misconduct is the most common reason for disciplinary action, a University of Melbourne, Australia study has found.

Recommended for you

Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

Oct 23, 2014

Clinical trials carried out in the former East Germany in the second half of the 20th century were not always with the full knowledge or understanding of participants with some questionable practices taking place, according ...

Schumacher's doctor sees progress after injury

Oct 23, 2014

A French physician who treated Michael Schumacher for nearly six months after the Formula One champion struck his head in a ski accident says he is no longer in a coma and predicted a possible recovery within three years.

User comments