Journal of Academic Ethics

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 59–72 | Cite as

Promoting Responsible Research Conduct: A South African Perspective

Article

Abstract

A great deal of effort has gone into developing capacity in the sphere of human research protection programmes in South Africa and Africa over the last decade or more, by several international organisations. However the promotion of the broader agenda of research integrity or ‘RCR’ (Responsible Conduct of Research) has lagged behind. From a global perspective South Africa and other African countries are actively involved in research endeavours and collaborations across a very broad spectrum of scientific fields. For this research to fulfil its potential social value it must be reliable and trustworthy and hence it is essential that research institutions and universities take the promotion of research integrity seriously. The purpose of this paper is to consider the role of an institutional office of research integrity within the context of academic research particularly in South Africa but also in Africa. I will reflect on my own experience over a period of five years as a research integrity officer at a South African academic institution to highlight concerns in five domains; the promotion of an ethic of responsibility in opposition to compliance and bureaucracy, collaboration ethics and collegiality especially in the context of North-South collaborations, authorship and publication ethics, the problem of plagiarism and the utility of policy and procedure. I will suggest that the establishment of such an office can be of great value in the promotion of a broad culture of research ethics and responsible research conduct. The possible role and scope of function of an institutional office of research integrity will be briefly outlined.

Keywords

Research integrity Research ethics Institutional review board Plagiarism Compliance 

References

  1. 3rd World Conference on Research Integrity. (2013). Montreal Statement on Research Integrity in Cross-Boundary Research Collaborations (2013). http://www.researchintegrity.org/Statements/Montreal%20Statement%20English.pdf. Accessed 12 January (2016).
  2. Albert, T., & Wagner, E. (2003). How to Handle Authorship Disputes: A Guide for New Researchers COPE Report (2003). Committee on Publication Ethics. http://publicationethics.org/files/2003pdf12_0.pdf. Accessed 11 October 2016.
  3. Badat, S. (2010). The challenges of transfornation in higher education and training institutuions in South Africa. http://www.dbsa.org/EN/About-Us/Publications/Documents/The%20challenges%20of%20transformation%20in%20higher%20education%20and%20training%20institutions%20in%20South%20Africa%20by%20Saleem%20Badat.pdf. Accessed 25 May 2016.
  4. Bauman, Z. (1993). Postmodern ethics. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  5. Beall, J. (2016). Scholarly Open Access: Critical analysis of scholarly open-access publishing. Blog page. 2016. https://scholarlyoa.com/ Accessed 27 October 2016.
  6. Boyle, P., & Boice, B. (1998). Best practices for enculturation: collegiality, mentoring, and structure. New Directions for Higher Education, 101, 87–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Department of Health, South Africa (2006). Guidelines for good practice in the conduct of clinical trials with human participants in South Africa. (SA GCP) (2nd ed.). Pretoria: Department of Health, South Africa.Google Scholar
  8. Division for Research Development, Stellenbosch University. (2014). Procedure for the Investigation of Allegations of Breach of Research Norms and Standards. http://www0.sun.ac.za/research/research-integrity-and-ethics/investigation-procedure.html. Accessed 12 Sept 2016.
  9. Franzoni, C., Scellato, G., & Stephan, P. (2011). Science Policy. Changing Incentives to Publish. Science (New York, N.Y.), 333(6043), 702–703.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Harrison, B. T., & Brodeth, E. (1999). Real work through real collegiality: faculty seniors views on the drive to improve learning and research. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 21(2), 203–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Horizon 2020: The EU framework programme for research and innovation. Responsible Research and Innovation. https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/responsible-research-innovation. Accessed 21 April 2016.
  12. Horn, L. (2013). Promoting responsible research conduct in a developing world academic context. South African Journal of Bioethics and Law, 6(1), 21–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Horn, L. (2016). Publication incentives: just reward or misdirection of funds? Proceedings of the 4th World Conference on Research Integrity. Research Integrity and Peer Review 1(Suppl 1):CS08.2: 11–1-56.Google Scholar
  14. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (2016). International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Guidelines. http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/defining-the-role-of-authors-and-contributors.html. Accessed 11October 2016.
  15. Kass, N., Ali, J., Hallez, K., et al. (2016). Bioethics training programmes for Africa: evaluating professional and bioethics related achievements of African trainees after a decade of Fogarty NIH investment. BMJ Open, 6, e012758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kombe, F. (2015) Enhancing research integrity in Africa. Plenary Session. 4th World Conference on Research Integrity. http://wcri2015.org/plenaries.html. Accessed 22 september 2016.
  17. Kombe, F., Anunobi, E., Tshifugula, P., Wassenaar, D., Njadingwe, D., Mwalukore, S., et al. (2014). Promoting research integrity in Africa: an African voice of concern on research misconduct and the way forward. Developing World Bioethics, 14(3), 158–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kruger, M., Ndebele, P., & Horn, L. (Eds.) (2014). Research ethics in Africa: a resource for research ethics committees. South Africa: SUNMeDIA.Google Scholar
  19. McKay, R., Arnold, D. J., Fratzl, J., & Thomas, R. (2008). Workplace bullying in academia: a Canadian study. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 20(2), 77–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Musolino, N., Lazdins, J., Toohey, J., & Ijsselmuiden, C. (2015). COHRED fairness index for international collaborative partnerships. Lancet (London, England), 385(9975), 1293–1294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. National Health Research Ethics Council, South Africa (2015). Ethics in Health Research: principles, structures and processes (2nd ed.). South Africa: Department of Health.Google Scholar
  22. National Research Foundation, South Africa. (2015) National Research Foundation Rating System. http://www.nrf.ac.za/rating. Accessed 13 January 2016.
  23. Ndebele, P., Wassenaar, D., & Benatar, S. (2014). Research ethics capacity building in sub-Saharan Africa: a review of NIH Fogarty-funded programs 2000–2012. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 9(2), 22–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Office for Research Integrity, University of Cape Town (2010). Authorship practices policy University of Cape Town. Cape Town: University of Cape Town http://www.researchoffice.uct.ac.za/research_integrity/overview/ Accessed 27 October 2016.Google Scholar
  25. Office for Research Integrity, (2015a). Department of Health and Human Services, USA. Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) General Resources., http://ori.hhs.gov/general-resources-0. Accessed 8 September 2016.
  26. Office of Research Integrity (2015b). Department of Health and Human Services, USA. Definition of Research Misconduct. http://ori.hhs.gov/definition-misconduct. Acessed 14 January 2016.
  27. Office of Research Integrity, USA (2015). Statutes and Regulations. http://ori.hhs.gov/statutes-regulations. Accessed 14 January 2016.
  28. Office of Research Intergrity, Department of Health and Human Services, USA (2015). Research Inegrity Officer Responsibilities. http://ori.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/SamplePolicyandProcedures-AppendixA-5-07.pdf. Accessed 8 January 2016.
  29. Okonta, P., & Rossouw, T. (2013). Prevalence of scientific misconduct among a Group of Researchers in Nigeria. Developing World Bioethics, 13(3), 149–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Oransky, I., & Marcus, A. (2016) Retraction watch. Blog page. http://retractionwatch.com/. Accessed 10 October.
  31. Pennycook, A. (1996). Borrowing others’ words: text, ownership, memory, and plagiarism. TESOL Quarterly, 201–230.Google Scholar
  32. Postgraduate and International Office, Stellenbosch University. (2016) Avoiding Plagiarism Workshop Description., http://www0.sun.ac.za/international/current-students/postgraduate-students/postgraduate-skills/workshops-and-courses/browse-by-a-z/avoiding-plagiarism.html. Accessed 14 January.
  33. Roig, M. (2011). Avoiding Plagiarism. Self-Plagiarism and Other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing https://ori.hhs.gov/images/ddblock/plagiarism.pdf. Accessed 13 January 2016.Google Scholar
  34. Rossouw, T., Van Zyl, C., & Pope (2014). Responsible conduct of research: global trends, local opportunities. South African Journal of Science, 110(1–2), 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Second World Conference on Research Integrity (2010). Singapore Statement on Research Integrity. http://www.singaporestatement.org/. Accessed 27 October 2016.
  36. Senate Research Ethics Committee, Stellenbosch University. (2013). Policy for responsible research conduct at Stellenbosch University. http://www0.sun.ac.za/research/assets/files/Integrity_and_Ethics/SU%20Research%20Ethics%20policy%20approved%20by%20Council_24%20June%202013.pdf Accessed 12 October 2015.
  37. Singh, S., & Remenyi, D. (2016). Plagiarism and ghostwriting: the rise in academic misconduct. South African Journal of Science, 112(5/6), 32–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Smolčìć, V. (2013). Salami publications: definitions and examples. Biochemical Medicine, 23(3), 237–241.Google Scholar
  39. South African Research Ethics Training Initiative (SARETI) (2016). South African Research Ethics Training Initiative (SARETI): Student Publications. http://sareti.ukzn.ac.za/StudentPublications.aspx. Accessed 12 October 2016.
  40. Steneck, N. (2003). Introduction to the responsible conduct of research. USA: Office for Research Integrity. Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar
  41. Steneck, N. Epigeum (2016). Web page portal for online courses https://epigeum.com/courses/research/research-integrity/. Accessed 8 September 2016.
  42. UNAIDS International Working Group. (2011). Good participatory practice guidelines for biomedical HIV prevention trials 2011 http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/JC1853_GPP_Guidelines_2011_en_0.pdf ed. Switzerland: UNAIDS (Joint United Nations HIV Programme). Accessed 27 October 2016.
  43. Wagner, E., Barbour, V., Kleinert, S., et al. (2009). Guidance from the committee on publication ethics (COPE). Maturitas, 64, 201–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Weidman, J., & Stein, E. (2003). Socialization of doctoral students to academic norms. Research in Higher Education, 44(6), 641–656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health. (2008). Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity through Action on the Social Determinants of Health: Commission on Social Determinants of Health Final Report World Health Organization.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Applied Ethics, Department of Philosophy & Division for Research DevelopmentStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations