Why is Research Integrity important?
Research Integrity may be obvious and seem like 'common sense', or it may be seen as restrictive of innovative research. However, a growing number of organisations in the UK and across the world which include funders, journals and universities are working towards a cultural change in research practices. For DMU, Research Integrity is an extremely important, for a number of reasons:
- Knowledge base. Research that cuts corners, skews or exaggerates results, or in rare cases is outright fraudulent, undermines the knowledge base of the discipline meaning future research is inherently flawed because it is based on this lack of rigour.
- Publishing. Recently, a number of research studies published in high quality journals have failed to be replicated. In several cases this has led to the paper being retracted from the journal entirely. Increasingly, therefore, journals are becoming concerned with research in the hard sciences that can be replicated, as well as sharing the raw data that the paper is based on. In light of these shifts, it is crucial to follow best practice in research to ensure high impact journals will accept work. See COPE or AOM Video Series for more details.
- Government backing and funding. There have been high profile political issues that have arisen partly because of poor or fraudulent research misinforming policy makers. This undermines government support for research, both in terms of relying on the findings of research and funding new research.
- REF Environment Statement. Information on institutional approaches to research integrity can be included in REF environment statements, and in research grant applications which often require statements about the research environment.
- Effect on Post Graduate and Early Career Researchers. Research Integrity also covers effective research project leadership. Pressurising PGRs and ECRs for results, or taking credit for their work is also identified as poor research practice.
- Supporting innovative research. The aim of the culture change towards a greater awareness of and adherence to Research Integrity is not to micro-manage researchers or to strangle 'risky' research. Instead, the aim is to make research stronger and better. This can be achieved by being open and transparent about any issues that arise before the project begins, and as it develops.