Integrity in research

Integrity is the qualifications of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. It is generally a personal choice to hold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards. In ethics, integrity is regarded by many people as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Integrity can stand in opposition to hypocrisy.

Research integrity may be defined as active adherence to the ethical principles and professional standards essential for the responsible practice of research.

By active adherence we mean adoption of the principles and practices as a personal credo, not simply accepting them as impositions by rule makers.

By ethical principles we mean honesty, the golden rule, trustworthiness, and high regard for the scientific record.

Mainly Research integrity includes:

  • the use of honest and verifiable methods in proposing, performing, and evaluating research
  • reporting research results with particular attention to adherence to rules, regulations, guidelines, and
  • following commonly accepted professional codes or norms

NAS report definition: “For individuals research integrity is an aspect of moral character and experience. It involves above all a commitment to intellectual honesty and personal responsibility for ones actions and to a range of practices that characterize responsible research conduct.” These practices include:

  • Honesty and fairness in proposing, performing, and reporting research;
  • Accuracy and fairness in representing contributions to research proposals and reports;
  • Proficiency and fairness in peer review;
  • Collegiality in scientific interactions, communications and sharing of resources;
  • Disclosure of conflicts of interest;
  • Protection of human subjects in the conduct of research;
  • Humane care of animals in the conduct of research;
  • Adherence to the mutual responsibilities of mentors and trainees.

Shared values in scientific research:

  • Honesty: convey information truthfully and honoring commitments
  • Accuracy: report findings precisely and take care to avoid errors
  • Efficiency: use resources wisely and avoid waste
  • Objectivity: let the facts speak for themselves and avoid improper bias.
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