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Honesty, Accountability and Trust: Fostering Research Integrity in Canada

Honesty, Accountability and Trust: Fostering Research Integrity in Canada

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: The Council of Canadian Academies on Dec 01, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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Research Integrity

The charge tasked the Panel with developing a common defnition of research

integrity that would be broad and nuanced enough to capture a range of
circumstances and conduct, yet appropriately narrow to allow for sound
interpretation and fair application. The Panel wholeheartedly believes that such

a defnition, as proposed below, is the cornerstone of a positive research integrity


Research integrity is the coherent and consistent application of values and
principles essential to encouraging and achieving excellence in the search for,
and dissemination of, knowledge. These values include
honesty, fairness, trust,

accountability, and openness.

Core Values

The fve core values16

in the defnition are the founding block, and the absolute

minimal requirements, for building this type of positive environment. These values
are based on Canadian and international examples, as well as the Panel’s original
thinking. Actors in the research enterprise at all levels, across all disciplines, must
be committed to incorporating and demonstrating these values in every facet of
their professional careers.


Being straightforward, and free of fraud and deception


Being impartial and using sound judgment free of prejudice
or favouritism


Being reliable, as a person or institution, through character
and action

Accountability Being responsible and answerable for one’s actions


Being transparent in process and practice, as characterized by
visibility or accessibility of information


The defnitions of the fve core values proposed in this section are suggested as operational


Fundamental Principles

The core values and the common defnition of research integrity must lead to a

shared set of principles that govern all actors who conduct, manage, and fund
research in Canada. The Panel has developed 11 fundamental principles, each of

which relates to one or more of the fve core values.17

To enact a positive research

integrity environment, members of the research community should:
1. Conduct research in an honest search for knowledge: A fair, open, and reliable
approach to all activities that support, fund, or otherwise encourage research.
(Honesty; Fairness; Trust; Openness)
2. Foster an environment of research integrity, accountability, and public trust:
Individuals and organizations at all levels should take responsibility for
creating, implementing, maintaining, and complying with policies and
practices designed to ensure accountability and the maintenance of public
trust. (Trust; Accountability)
3. Know your level of competence and your limitations; act accordingly: Ensure you
have the appropriate expertise and experience to participate in a given area
of research or research administration. (Honesty; Trust; Accountability)
4. Avoid conficts of interest, or if they cannot be avoided, address them in an ethical
Personal and institutional conficts of interest, or the appearance of
confict of interest, should be avoided. When unavoidable, each instance
should be identifed, disclosed, carefully examined, and managed in such a

way as to avoid any corruption of the research process. (Trust; Accountability;
5. Use research funds responsibly: Individuals and organizations at all levels
should ensure the responsible allocation and management of research funds

in accordance with sound academic and fnancial principles. (Honesty;
6. Review the work of others with integrity: Individuals and organizations should
engage in, and organize, peer review and the evaluation of the work of others

in a manner that refects the highest scholarly, professional, and scientifc
standards of fairness and confdentiality. (Fairness; Trust)
7. Report on research in a responsible and timely fashion: Publications, including
clear statements of data and methodology, as well as research activities and
research results, should not be unduly delayed or intentionally withheld.

These considerations should be confgured within each discipline’s own

timeframe. (Trust; Openness)


Values have been italicized in parentheses.

Chapter 3 Developing a System-Wide Research Integrity Environment


Honesty, Accountability and Trust: Fostering Research Integrity in Canada

8. Treat data with scholarly rigour: The highest levels of exactitude should be
ensured in proposing, performing, recording, analyzing, interpreting,

reporting, publishing, and archiving research data and fndings. The

appropriate authorities, as mandated by applicable standards or regulations,
should retain a copy of research records. (Honesty; Accountability)
9. Treat everyone involved with research fairly and with respect: All individuals and
institutions directly affected or involved in research, including human subjects
and animals, should be treated fairly and with respect. Relevant regulations
and applicable Tri-Council and institutional policies should be followed and
guided by common principles and values. (Fairness; Trust)
10. Acknowledge all contributors and contributions in research: All contributors

and contributions to research and research results, including fnancial

contributions, should be acknowledged fairly and accurately whenever
research is communicated. (Fairness; Accountability; Openness)
11. Engage in the responsible training of researchers: Research investigators,
particularly new scholars, should have access to education, mentoring,
and support to develop and maintain the skills and capacities required for
conducting and managing research in accordance with relevant scholarly
and ethical standards. An individual’s level of responsibility should be
commensurate with his or her competence and experience. (Fairness; Trust)

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