Research Integrity

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Research Integrity

Overview

Research Integrity encompasses responsible conduct of research, research data management and management of research misconduct. WIT is committed to ensuring the highest levels of integrity in all aspects of research practice.  The 'European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity' which we endorse specifies four basic principles of good research practice to be observed by all researchers and research organisations. 

Reliability in ensuring the quality of research, reflected in the design, the methodology, the analysis and the use of resources in research activities.

Honesty in developing, undertaking, reviewing, reporting and communicating research in a transparent, fair, full and unbiased way.

Respect for colleagues, research participants, society, ecosystems, cultural heritage and the environment.

Accountability for the research from idea to publication, for its management and organisation, for training, supervision and mentoring, and for its wider impacts.

WIT is committed to the promotion of an environment which maintains the highest standards of research Integrity. It is Institute policy that those engaged with research across the institute, including all researchers, students, technical, administrative and research support staff and our collaborative partners conduct research according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional obligations and standards.

Our commitments to foster and ensure research integrity include the education and promotion of good research practice. We are committed to working together to reinforce and safeguard research conducted at WIT and to review this progress regularly. We are also committed to using transparent, robust and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct when they arise. The WIT policy document for the 'Code of Conduct for the Responsible Practice of Reseach' can be viewed here ».

Research integrity Governance

The Research Integrity Officer is the person nominated by the Institute to receive allegations of research misconduct. The Research Integrity Officer in WIT is Dr Michelle Foley. The Research Integrity Officer can be contacted by e-mailing [email protected]

Reporting research misconduct

Allegations of research misconduct, from within and outside WIT, should be sent to the Research Integrity Officer at the email address [email protected]

The allegation must normally be made in a formal written submission supported by available evidence. Research misconduct can occur with different levels of seriousness and there may be some concern that reporting research misconduct could impact on the complainant. All claims of research misconduct are treated in the strictest of confidence. Additional guidance or concerns on matters of research integrity or research misconduct should be direct to the Research Integrity Officer.

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: