National Academies Releases New Research Integrity Report

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released the Committee on Responsible Science’s report, Fostering Integrity in Research, on April 11. The report assesses the state of research integrity, including trends, challenges, and educational efforts, updating the 1992 Academies report, Responsible Science. The 1992 report proposed the current definition of research misconduct, defined as the “fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism” of research. The new report supports retaining that definition, but also calls for the recognition of detrimental research practices (DRPs). DRPs are “questionable research practices, such as the misleading use of statistics that falls short of falsification and failure to retain sufficient research data.”

The report contains 11 recommendations for improving research integrity, including the creation of an independent Research Integrity Advisory Board (RIAB). At the report’s release, Robert Nerem, the Committee’s Chair and Professor of Bioengineering and Bioscience at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said the RIAB would allow for a proactive approach to research integrity across all disciplines and stakeholders. The report also recommends that research integrity issues be viewed as part of a complex system, an area of research Nerem said is directly the purview of the social and behavioral sciences. The report calls for public and private funding for research aimed at this topic. Other recommendations include better whistleblower protections and the improvement of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) programs.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s spring intern, Laila Rosenthal of American University.

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