By Esablle Yam, Manager, Research Administration & Support Services
Each year, close to one million scientific papers are published in peer-reviewed journals. Out of these, a small handful attract attention for all the wrong reasons – image or data manipulation, falsification of data or even misconduct. Despite the numbers being small, misconduct by scientists has far-reaching ripple effects that can not only harm an institution and its reputation, but also the general population.
To prevent such behaviour in its scientific community, researchers at LKCMedicine developed and implemented a Good Research Practice (GRP) framework. The GRP framework was the product of months of intensive work that began on 28 October 2016.
On that October day, led by then Vice-Dean for Research Professor Russell Gruen, 250 researchers from senior faculty members, research assistants, postgraduate students to research support staff contributed one supporting behaviour and one opposing behaviour for each of the five values of the School – Humility, Compassion, Integrity, Professionalism and Continuous Learning. Expressed via statements starting with “I will…” and “I will not…”, each statement was written on a post-it note. At the end of the event, a total of 2,500 post-it notes were generated and the foundation of the GRP framework was laid.
Over the following months, a dedicated team distilled the post-it notes to their essence, crystallising the information into a framework, which was shared with the research community for their feedback. From this, the GRP’s final 19 commitments and behaviours were determined. They spell out what the School – from faculty to postdocs, students and staff – do to demonstrate and fulfil their commitment to ensuring the highest standards of integrity and ethics in all their research endeavours. They underpin high-quality science, the robust evidence base for improving health and healthcare, and public confidence in the research enterprise and investment of public funds.
Eight months later, on 16 June 2017, the research community gathered again to witness the unveiling of the framework at the Flexi-Space of LKCMedicine’s Clinical Sciences Building and celebrate their shared commitment to good research practice which will bring LKCMedicine Research to a whole new level.
LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best wrote in his introduction to the framework, “Good Research Practice is the shared responsibility of everyone in our research community. As researchers, we have responsibilities to our subjects, colleagues and the wider society. As a School, we are responsible for fostering a culture that supports and embeds good research practice and thereby maintains the compact between science and society. Only then can we make scientific advances that benefit one and all.”