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What is Research Misconduct?

Fabrication of data: making up results and recording or reporting them when they are known to be false.

Falsification of data: manipulating research, materials, equipment or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.

Plagiarism: the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit, including those obtained through confidential review of others' research proposals and manuscripts (as defined in the National Policy Statement on Ensuring Research Integrity in Ireland, 2019).

Selectively excluding data from analysis and deliberate misinterpreting data to obtain desired results, including inappropriate use of statistical methods also constitutes misconduct.  Doctoring images in publications or producing false data or results under pressure from a sponsor or a collaborator is also a very serious matter.

Unacceptable research practice

While fabrication, falsification and plagiarism are very serious issues, other poor research practices may lead to questions around the integrity of research and impact on the reputation of the researcher, the research team or the institute.  A combination of poor practice and repeated issues in maintaining data integrity may constitute research misconduct.  

The practices include the following and are not confined to:

Research procedures; Misconduct relating to research procedures may include harmful or dangerous research methods, poor research design including experimental and computational errors.  Other poor research procedures include the violation of human subject protocols and/or failure to protect human subjects from harm and the abuse or mistreatment of laboratory animals.

Data-related practices; This includes poor practices in preserving the primary data for the specified period, poor data management including the storage and sharing of research data and failure to destroy data timely or appropriately. Withholding data from the scientific community also constitutes data related misconduct. 

Publication-related practices; This includes the claiming of undeserved authorship, denying authorship to contributors, including authors without permission and artificially proliferating publications. Failure to correct the publication record is also research misconduct. 

Personal behaviours; This includes significant deficiencies in supervision of the next generation of researchers and scholars, inappropriate personal behaviour in any form, harassment or insensitivity to social or cultural norms.

Financial and other misconduct; Misconduct may result from the non-disclosure of conflicts of interest, peer review abuse, misrepresenting credentials or publication record, misuse or research funds and/or for personal gain or making up a false, malicious or unsubstantiated misconduct allegations. 

Research Integrity Training

WIT is part of a National three-year pilot programme, providing online access to Research Integrity Training modules through the UK provider Epigeum. Currently, a concise online training programme,(approximately 1 hour) and a standard online programme (approximately 5 hours), are available to all staff, researchers and postgraduate students at the Institute. We generally advise that the concise online training is conducted by those with some prior research integrity training such as experienced Principal Investigators and those with greater than 3 years of full-time postgraduate research experience. The standard programme is recommended for postgraduate and PhD students, early-career researchers, those with limited research experience of less than 3 years postgraduate. Research integrity training forms part of a module on Research Integrity and Ethics and is a compulsory 5 ECTS credit module for all taught PhD programmes since 2018.

Research Integrity Training versions

Training is tailored to suit specific research interests and fields.  There are five versions of the Research Integrity (INT version) course including Biomedical Sciences, Natural and Physical Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Social and Behavioural Sciences and Arts and Humanities. 

The IRE version of the concise course references Irish legislation and policies and is relevant to the Irish legislative environment.  There are also a number of short specialist courses that can be accessed in addition to the concise course. 

Research Integrity training as a requirement for research funding

A number of Irish Funding Agencies have indicated that completion of research integrity training will become an eligibility condition to hold an award and when applying for future funding.  Research Integrity promotional plans are a requirement in the application process for some European grants. 

To register your interest in availing of Research Integrity Training, please complete the form below:

(if the form does not display correctly below, please access it via this link »)