Institutional Approaches to Research Integrity in Ghana

Abstract

Research misconduct (RM) remains an important problem in health research despite decades of local, national, regional, and international efforts to eliminate it. The ultimate goal of every health research project, irrespective of setting, is to produce trustworthy findings to address local as well as global health issues. To be able to lead or participate meaningfully in international research collaborations, individual and institutional capacities for research integrity (RI) are paramount. Accordingly, this paper concerns itself not only with individuals’ research skills but also with institutional and national policies and governance. Such policies and governance provide an ethical scaffold for the production of knowledge and structure incentives. This paper’s operational definition of research therefore draws from Institute of Medicine’s articulation of health research as an inquiry that aims to produce knowledge about the structure, processes, or effects of personal health services; and from an existing health systems framework. The paper reviews the research regulatory environment and the ethics apparatus in Ghana, and describes a project jointly undertaken by Ghanaian researchers in collaboration with New York University to assess the perceived adequacy of current institutional practices, opportunities, and incentives for promoting RI.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the financial support in the form of a conference grant awarded to NYU from the Office of Research Integrity, US Department of Health and Human Services; Grant # ORIIR170032-01-00. The Ghana Research Integrity Development (GRID) Conference was led by a planning committee. We acknowledge the inputs and guidance of the Committee members: Professor Arthur Caplan, Professor Olugbenge Ogedegbe, Professor Barbara Redman, Dr. Kyle Ferguson, Professor Amos Laar, Dr. Ama Kyerewaa Edwin, Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule (blessed memories), Professor Kwadwo Koram, and Professor Richard Adanu.

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Laar, A.K., Redman, B.K., Ferguson, K. et al. Institutional Approaches to Research Integrity in Ghana. Sci Eng Ethics 26, 3037–3052 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11948-020-00257-7

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Keywords

  • Research integrity
  • Health research
  • Research climate
  • Ethics apparatus
  • Ghana