7th World Conference
on Research Integrity
Cape Town, South Africa
29 May – 1 June 2022
WCRI 2022: Important Dates
Abstract submissions & travel grant applications open 15 May 2021
Deadline for abstract submissions & travel grant applications is 15 October 2021
Notifications of acceptance of abstracts & travel grants will be made available on 15 February 2022
Registration opens 15 May 2021
Early bird registration closes on 15 March 2022
Bids for 8th WCRI
Letters of intent for the 8th WCRI are due on 1 December 2021
Preliminary bids for 8th WCRI are due on 1 March 2022
Full bids for the 8th WCRI are due on 1 may 2022
Responsible Publication Practices: roles of journals, researchers and research institutes.
Join the Division for Research Development (DRD) at Stellenbosch University and the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA)
for a lunchtime talk presented by our co-chair and Founder of the WCRI Foundation, Prof Lex Bouter.
Date: 25 November 2020
Time: 12:30 - 14:00
The following information will be updated as the programme evolves. Please subscribe to our mailing list for programme and conference updates.
- Conference Theme
- Program at a Glance
- Plenary Speakers
- Plenary Sessions
- Pre-conference Workshops
- Focus Track
- Doctoral Forum
- Meet the Expert Sessions
- Concurrent Sessions
- Poster Sessions
The overarching theme of the 7th WCRI is Fostering Research Integrity in an Unequal World.
Conference subthemes include current global research integrity discussion areas such as:
- Research Integrity as a driver of research excellence and public trust
- Ethical best practice in authorship, publication and the use of research metrics
- Best practice in detection, investigation, and responding to research misconduct
An additional emerging subtheme included is:
- Ensuring research integrity in the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution (the convergence of the physical, biological, and digital world)
As this conference is in Africa for the first time, some additional subthemes particularly relevant to many African and Low and Middle Income (LMIC) Countries are included:
- Colonial legacies and research integrity: moving forward by building equity into research
- Counteracting plagiarism in multicultural and multilingual contexts
- Institutionalising Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) education and training, including curriculum development and implementation in low resource settings
Data, research, and integrity in the time of a global pandemic (Covid-19)
In 2020, the world has experienced an extraordinary pandemic with many lives lost, but also an unprecedented pace of data collection, collaborative research activity, and rapid publication to inform national and international decision-making and policy. Data have been presented to the public on a daily basis with varying degrees of transparency and explanation. Scientists and politicians have been in close collaboration and proximity with, at times, a blurring of independent evidence-based advice and political spin. This plenary session will explore the wider implications of a global emergency on research integrity and use of science and data. It will highlight changes in the way research has been funded, conducted, peer reviewed, published, and interpreted by the media. These changes have the potential of both positive and negative effects on research integrity with wide-reaching consequences for public health.
Towards a Cape Town statement on fair and equitable Partnerships
Partnerships are at the heart of global science’s fair and equitable partnership management, sharing of costs and benefits, and post-collaboration empowerment of institutions is at the heart of successful global collaborations. Currently, there is often a lack of transparency, equity and fairness in collaborations between the global North and South, which continues to diminish trust in science.
This 7th WCRI is the first to be held in African and wants to focus on fairness and equitability of research partnerships as an essential aspect of research integrity.
Historical, financial and scientific resources inequalities continue to generate imbalances in research ecosystems, particularly for collaborations involving researchers and institutions in low and in high income countries. Such systematic differentials cannot be addressed using ad hoc ‘capacity building’ components in individual research projects, rather, they need systemic solutions. The Research Fairness Initiative (RFI) will be presented as a unique tool for such solutions.
The 7WCRI intends to generate a Cape Town Statement, focusing on fair and equitable research collaborations as a research integrity issue. The statement will explore the best way forward by all involved, to empower research systems in LMIC to decide on research priorities, partners and partnerships as an essential part to equity in development.
How enhanced data quality can boost innovation
Biomedical research serves to address unmet medical needs, however success rates have been declining over the past decades. Adherence to appropriate research rigor is important to ensure trustworthy and robust data. However, evidence shows that many studies have questionable research practices and lack sufficient protection against bias. Strategies to increase robustness of preclinical data have the potential to accelerate innovation for the benefit of patient needs.
Today’s research environment is characterized by dynamic collaboration networks involving academia, contract research organizations, biotech and pharmaceutical industry. How can we design a solution that works for all these parties, that is seen as a help rather than a burden and that is sufficiently flexible to fit the needs of various types of institutions with different levels of technology and automation? This is exactly the question the EQIPD consortium (European Quality in Preclinical Data) has been working on for the past 3 years. EQIPD proposes a unique solution addressing the various facets of research rigor.
This session compares challenges and needs in biomedical research in academic versus industry, as well as LMIC versus HIC, settings and addresses how EQIPD may contribute to a solution that is suitable for these different settings.
Fostering research integrity: perspectives from African researchers
To move forward with integrity, African universities are compelled to act toward fostering research integrity. This plenary session will aim to combine the experience and research of leading African scholars to identify and define actions taken to foster research integrity in African universities. Many African universities faced public scandals due to alleged research misconduct in recent years, thus affirming a need for context-specific research integrity policies, frameworks, courses, and mentoring programmes for both academic and student researchers.
Much work has gone into developing research ethics expertise and capacity in Africa, particularly about supporting the adequate functioning of research ethics committees. Far fewer initiatives have been taken to create programmes that foster and implement research integrity plans at universities and research institutes nationally.
The speakers will each share their insights into what can be done in Africa and other LMIC countries to foster research integrity at their universities and countries. Ideas will be relevant to colleagues in LMIC countries as well as to all those who interact in some way often via research collaborations, with researchers working in these contexts.
The session will conclude with the launch of the African Research Integrity Network.
Important work by Early and Mid-Career Researchers
Research on research integrity is on the rise worldwide. This is predominantly picked up by talented Early and Mid-Career Researchers. This plenary session will give three of the them a platform to present their studies that bring our knowledge to the next level.
For the National Survey on Research Integrity (NSRI) ALL academic researchers in The Netherlands were invited. Innovative methods were used to elicit valid answers to sensitive questions and to keep the time for completing the survey short. The prevalence of a wide range of research practices and their explanatory factors is explored for all disciplinary fields and academic ranks.
Journals and preprint servers have a large responsibility as guardian of publication quality and research integrity. They set the rules of engagement in their Instructions-to-Authors. In a series of innovative reviews it was explored whether important responsible research practices got proper attention in the Instructions-to-Authors of journals and preprint servers.
Early career researchers are vulnerable and inexperienced. Many of them are confronted with questionable authorship practices and problematic mentoring. Recently some promising research was performed that opens the door to effective prevention of these barriers to a balanced development of young researchers.
Impact of research assessment and institutional ranking on research integrity
Research should be conducted with high quality, in an ethical, reliable and responsible manner. Many research intensive institutions take pride on their aspiration of research excellence. The focus of many institutional strategies are on research metrics that centred around the quantity and impact of research publications, in order to elevate the institute’s global ranking in international league tables.
In a post Covid-19 pandemic era, we expect an outlook of economic down turn, more severe competition for reduced research funding, as well as a retrospective trend of de-globalization. The internationally prevailing culture of adverse competition is not necessarily conducive for high standard of research conduct. How would institutions and their researchers maintain a responsible research culture, and continue to drive research excellence?
To address the perverse incentives for research excellence, the Hong Kong Principles (HKP) for assessment of research was drawn up in the 6th WCRI. In this session, a follow up on the implementation and effectiveness of the HKP in different parts of the world will be gathered.
Furthermore, key members in leading international ranking agencies will be engaged in this session. Potential inclusion of responsible research indexes as institutional assessment criteria will be discussed.
Who is left behind? Mapping Matthew Effects in Research Integrity
The project ON-MERRIT investigates how and if open and responsible research practices could worsen existing inequalities. It aims at evidence-based recommendations for science policies, indicators and incentives to address and mitigate cumulative (dis)advantages, so called Matthew effects, in Open Science transition.
This workshop will focus on issues of Research Integrity. It will engage the WCRI expert audience to co-create, map and prioritise an agenda for research into areas where RI policies and their practical implementations could potentially worsen existing inequalities or endanger traditionally under-represented demographics, institutions or regions.
To facilitate this dialogue, we propose four subtopics based on the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity:
- Research environment & evaluation culture
- Publication & Dissemination
- Research & Data Practices
- Collaboration & Power Imbalances
Participants will have the opportunity to co-create the agenda via an online survey distributed to participants in advance of the conference. The agenda will be finalised at the start of the workshop with the input from participants. Key to the workshop’s success is the diversity of these participants. We will therefore ensure the relevance of our discussion for a range of important stakeholders including researchers, policy makers,institutional research integrity officers and managers and funders.
The success of the workshop depends on the diversity of the participants. We therefore encourage the participation of everyone working on RI and Open Science, especially policy makers and funders, as well as researchers with a background in research evaluation or bibliometrics.
Moderators and contributors
- Tony Ross-Hellauer, Graz University of Technology
- Thomas Klebel, Know-Center GmbH
- Joeri Tijdink, Amsterdam University Medical Centers
Positive research integrity governance: How to support and empower researchers
Research misconduct scandals highlight the need for research governance to hold both researchers and research organizations accountable, reduce misconduct, and thereby improve the trustworthiness of research. However, existing frameworks of research integrity (RI) governance have been criticized for hindering RI by unnecessarily increasing bureaucracy, and showing mistrust in researchers, without addressing a major root cause of breaches of RI – the perverse incentives present in the system of science (e.g. publication pressure). This is compounded by the feeling that RI governance inappropriately imposes Western biomedical standards on research in different countries and disciplines. Therefore, there is a need to refocus RI governance beyond compliance with RI standards, and towards supporting and empowering researchers i.e. by providing them with the right research environment, conditions and support tools .
In this workshop, we will use interactive and playful co-creation methods to engage participants in exploring how to create a positive RI governance framework focused on supporting and empowering researchers across different geographical contexts and disciplines to do research with integrity.
Policy officers, research leaders and other participants interested in the topic of the workshop.
Moderators and contributors
- Krishma Labib, Amsterdam UMC, the Netherlands
- Dr. Cheluchi Onyemelukwe, Health Ethics and Law Consulting
- Dr. Angeliki Kerasidou, University of Oxford
- Dr. Daniel Barr, RMIT University
- Prof. Mai Har Sham, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
- Dr. Joeri Tijdink, Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Bridging research integrity and fairness in global health epidemiology
The BRIDGE guidelines foster better standards for global health epidemiology with a dual focus on research integrity and research fairness. Developed by global health practitioners from five continents and over 20 countries, the BRIDGE guidelines offer practical guidance to all stakeholders involved in research – from commissioning, conducting and appraising of research – to build equity in all stages of research.
In this pre-conference workshop attendees will be introduced to the BRIDGE guidelines and provided with examples of their use in recent studies in Tanzania and India.
Attendees will then be invited to debate a scenario where threats to both research integrity and research fairness risk compromising a national survey in a low-income country. In this case-study scenario, local policy makers request the study epidemiologists (based in an institution in a high income country) to perform some extra analyses upon the completion of the survey. Two opposing views will be debated: the epidemiologists’ refusal to perform analyses that were not foreseen in the study protocol; and the local policy makers’ argument that the information, although not pre-planned, is crucial for service delivery planning.
Thereafter a panel discussion will discuss how the BRIDGE guidelines can help navigate the dilemmas that emerged.
- Global health epidemiologists who aim to conduct high quality and impactful research.
- National policy-makers, representatives of civil-society and donors who aim to ensure that epidemiological research in low and middle income countries achieves maximum benefit for the communities and societies where the research is conducted.
Moderators and contributors
- Dr Sandra Alba, KIT Royal Tropical Institute
- Prof. Sanjay Juvekar, Vadu Rural Health Program
- Dr. Susan Rumisha, National Institute for Medical Research
- Dr Masja Straetemans, KIT Royal Tropical Institute
Exploring Approaches to Responsible Conduct of Research Training Programmes
The workshop will offer a space for thinking about andexploring how different places have set up (or are setting up) RCR training programmes. The aim is to offer perspectives from a variety of contexts (institutions, regulatory environments and maturity of programmes) to give participants as broad a view as possible. The workshop would also offer an opportunity for those in LMIC (or other resource-limited contexts) to be introduced to ideas which could translate into or, be adapted to work in their own settings.
The intention is for the workshop to act as a catalyst for LMIC participants to think about how to go about setting up their own RCR programme in a way which is relevant to local contexts and meets their specific needs whilst being aligned with international best practice. It is also an opportunity to think about available resources which could be used/adapted in building their own programme etc… The goal would be to get participants thinking about: What steps they would need to take to take meaningful steps towards a context- and resource-relevant RCR programme.
- People tasked with establishing institutional, local, or national RCR training programmes
- People in the early stages of developing an RCR training programme
- People seeking guidance in making sure their RCR programme is context-relevant.
Moderators and contributors
- Paula Saner, University of Cape Town
- De-Ming Chau, Universiti Putra Malaysia
- Ana Marušić, University of Split School of Medicine, Croatia
Promoting innovative, learner-centered research integrity education
Research integrity education has witnessed a shift to a positive approach that emphasizes what researchers should do when facing moral challenges. Drawing on a positive approach, and learner-centered didactics, this workshop discusses innovative ways to tailor research integrity for different target groups, from secondary school students to senior researchers. These approaches are complementary and foster cumulative learning.
The first part of the workshop is based on results of the Path2Integrity project and addresses the needs of secondary school students, under- and postgraduates, and early stage researchers. Students are asked, in a dialogical argument-based approach, what research integrity means to them – encouraging quick comprehension and internalization.
The second part focuses on interactive approaches, developed by the VIRT2UE project, to train research integrity trainers and foster scientific virtues in researchers (junior and senior). This virtue-based approach is particularly appropriate for developing a professional ethic. Participants will experience an example exercise that encourages researchers to reflect on what it means to be a ‘good’ researcher doing ‘good’ research, and how norms underpin codes of conduct.
In the third part, the moderators share their experiences about how to adapt educational materials to different settings, giving special attention to challenges researchers from LMICs face.
Research integrity and research ethics trainers and teachers, curriculum developers, department and faculty heads, and research policy makers.
Moderators and contributors
- Dr. Tom Lindemann, European Network of Research Ethics Committees (EUREC Office)
- Prof. Dr. Julia Prieß-Buchheit, Coburg University
- Mr. Simson Mwale, Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM)
- Dr. Panagiotis Kavouras, National Technical University of Athens
- Ms. Giulia Inguaggiato, Amsterdam UMC
- Dr. Fenneke Blom, Amsterdam UMC
Introducing photovoice as a qualitative, participatory research methodology
Photovoice (PV) is a visual anthropological and participatory research method (PRM) where participants create research “content” in the form of photographs, guided by the facilitators.
The first part of the workshop will focus on the theory and methodology behind PV. The second part puts the theory into practice, using ‘diversity in RI’ as the study theme. Participants apply what they have learnt in the first part of the workshop to create photographs to “answer” the study question concerned. A narrative accompanies each photo. In the second part, photos and narratives are analysed through a selection, contextualization and categorization process guided by the facilitators. In this way, participants identify and represent issues of importance to them and providing their interpretations on the subject, thereby stimulating critical dialogue and reflection.
PV is useful in visualizing individuals’ perceptions associated with the study theme. It can generate unexpected results, beyond the dominant narrative. As such, it is a novel and useful way to get first explorative insight on how diversity is viewed within the field of research integrity. At the end, participants will have both the theoretical understanding and practical application of how they can use the method in their own research.
Participants of the WCRI who are interested in learning a participatory research method such as photovoice which can then be used in their settings for teaching or research on RI.
Moderators and contributors
- Karijn Kakebeeke, Visual Anthropology and Storytelling
- Gowri Gopalakrishna, National Survey on Research Integrity
- Fenneke Blom, Amsterdam UMC
Cape Town Statement on diversity, equity and fairness in research contexts
Research integrity refers to the principles and standards that ensure validity and trustworthiness of research and is integral to public trust in research and researchers. The Singapore and Montreal statements outlined principles that respectively govern individual and institutional professional conduct. However, continued inequality and power imbalance within a research context continue. Partnerships are at the heart of global science, and integrity within the entire spectrum of research partnership is integral to sustainable successful global collaborations.
Despite the existence of the Singapore and Montreal statements on research integrity, there are still challenges regarding how to achieve equity, diversity and fairness in research, particularly (but not exclusively) within the context of collaborations between the global North and South. According to the Council for Health Research and Development (COHRED), “Partnerships are essential to deliver research and innovation for global health and partner development. Unfortunately, there is no framework, no benchmark, no standard of best practice on which to model governmental, corporate, non-profit, or academic collaborations, particularly for collaborative research involving global North and South”.
Through a consultative process, this focus track aims at exploring the related issues of equity, diversity and fairness within the entire research life cycle, in order to develop a Cape Town Statement that provides practical and implementable steps to specifically address these issues.
All researchers and funders involved in research collaborations particularly in contexts where there are differences in capacity and available resources.
- Francis Kombe, COHRED
- Lyn Horn, University of Cape Town; A/Prof Center for Applied Ethics, Stellenbosch University
- Carel IJsslemuiden, COHRED
- Fenneke Blom, Amsterdam UMC
- Zoë Hamatt, Z Consulting LLC
- Sonia Vasconcelos, Institute of Medical Biochemistry Leopoldo de Meis
- Roxana Lescano, Research Integrity Officer, US Navy Research Unit
Implementation of the Hong Kong Principles in an African context
Applicant: Dr Sabine Kleinert, The Lancet
The Hong Kong Principles focus on the way current research assessment criteria are potentially detrimental to research integrity and offer a framework how this can be changed. The 7th WCRI for the first time held in Africa, should explore what African and other low-income and middle-income institutions can and should be doing differently when assessing researchers. Rather than copying the widely prevalent methods for research assessment in high-income countries, there is an opportunity to take a different path. This approach guided by the Hong Kong Principles could both benefit Institutions in terms of leadership in this area and African researchers in terms of strengthening the trustworthiness and societal usefulness of research. Research should be important for local needs rather than benefitting a researcher’s career using high-income country criteria with potentially detrimental effects on research integrity.
This symposium will look at practical steps that could be taken to implement the Hong Kong Principles in the context of low-income and middle-income countries.
Global perspectives on Doctoral Supervisor Training in Research Integrity
Applicant: Professor Jan Botha, Stellenbosch University
Postgraduate supervisor training is relatively new in academia. Most educational programs include a focus on research integrity training for individual early-career researchers. The courses for supervisors that are available, are provided in various formats and modes across the world. In this symposium, we will consider perspectives from four different regions/countries, namely, Africa, Australia, Europe and Latin America. Of particular interest will be to consider how RCR training opportunities attend to global issues in RCR while also making provision for the issues of concern in a specific context, country or region. Against this background, the following aspects, amongst others, will be considered:
a) Rationale for attending to RCR in postgraduate supervisor training.
b) Examples postgraduate supervisor training courses with a strong RCR component.
c) The RCR curriculum in postgraduate supervisor training.
d) Limits and potential of different modes of RCR training for supervisors (face-to-face, online, hybrid).
e) Best practices and ongoing challenges in RCR training for supervisors.
f) Steps towards successful implementation.
g) Evaluation of the effectiveness and impact of RCR training for supervisors.
Networks to foster research integrity in a changing world
Applicant: Dr Christa van Zyl, African Research Integrity Network (ARIN)
Promotion of research integrity is often dependent on individuals or small teams working in large institutions. They need opportunities for on-going learning and engagement with others to become more knowledgeable, effective and efficient in their roles. In the recent past, several networks were established to promote regional, inter-institutional and interpersonal learning in the field.
The 4th WCRI in Brazil provided a platform for networks from different regions of the world such as ENRIO (European Network of Research Integrity Offices) and APRI (Asia Pacific Research Integrity Network) to present and discuss their work. This also served as inspiration for delegates from other regions – notably Latin America and Africa – to meet informally, and to start thinking about forming networks of their own.
The African Research Integrity Network (ARIN) was conceived as a network to link individuals and institutions from different parts of the African continent to promote research integrity in Africa, with Africa and for Africa. It is delighted to host a symposium involving thought and network leaders from different parts of the world to reflect on the value, role and contributions of research integrity networks in developed as well as developing parts of the world at this 7th WCRI, the first to be held on African soil.
Mentoring in LMICs: Adapting to cultures, hierarchical structures and resources
Applicant: A.Roxana Lescano, US Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6 Peru
This symposium aims to describe the importance of mentoring systems that reflect local resources, hierarchies, cultures and research infrastructures by providing the experiences of three different regions of the world, Peru, Kenya and Malaysia, where mentoring has not been the norm. Mentoring in the developed world is a long-standing tradition geared toward improving the path to the development of early career investigators, even though formal mentoring training and frameworks have only existed in the last decades. Globalization of health research efforts has spread the importance of mentoring and resulted in greater interest in LMICs scientific communities. LMIC scientific communities, without a history of mentoring, have started importing systems that do not quite fit into their local infrastructures and cultures. Some of these imported mentoring practices introduce biases and apply to societies where mentoring is highly rewarded in various ways, which does not reflect LMIC cultures. Finally, the limited resources and support existing in LMICs prevent implementing mentoring models developed in high income countries and thus require adaptation and phased implementation.
When and how to report to institutions, journals, publishers, or elsewhere
Applicant: Matt Hodgkinson, Committee on Publication Ethics
This session will explore how and when to report issues to different stakeholders – journals, publishers, institutions, and country-level oversight bodies – building on the 2017 discussion of the CLUE guidelines (and the earlier COPE guidelines) and the COPE discussion document on whistleblowers. What kind of tools and information are needed to report effectively, what are the barriers, and what resources are available, such as Gunsaslus et al.’s investigations checklist or the REAPPRAISED checklist? How could we improve the current situation?
The session will be moderated by Daniel Kulp, Chair elect of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). We will hear from three perspectives – claimant, publisher, and university. Dr. Elisabeth Bik is a “figure sleuth” and whistleblower who was commended by the Maddox Prize judges in 2019 and has discussed difficulties with reporting to journals. Matt Hodgkinson has worked for three journal publishers and received many reports from whistleblowers and institutions and reported concerns to institutions, and presented a poster at the WCRI 2019 on this experience. Paula Saner is a research integrity advisor at the University of Cape Town, who often handles issues of when and how to report concerns and trains the university community in research integrity.
Can integrity issues encountered by a publisher inform best practices at institutions?
Applicant: Elizabeth C Moylan PhD, Wiley
Everyone involved in research has a role to play in research integrity, no single stakeholder can do this alone. We will present information on the research integrity and publishing ethics cases that Wiley’s Integrity in Publishing Group have handled over the past two years, classified according to the COPE Cases taxonomy. These span requests to amend published articles, authorship issues, data concerns, plagiarism and potentially questionable research behaviour. Across the publishing landscape, cases are becoming increasingly more complex and can involve large-scale manipulations of the publication process including fabricated peer review, papermills, authorship manipulation and image manipulation.
The session will focus on what we can learn from the data shared. While our findings inform best practice in terms of investigating and responding to potentially questionable research practices, they also inform the training and support that researchers need. Given the conference theme, “Fostering Research Integrity in an Unequal World”, we will discuss reactions to our findings from the perspective of research integrity officers from across the world. We will share how different regions are supporting best practice, and the role that recognition and reward for open research practices can play.
Research Integrity Promotion Plans: from Principles to Practice
Applicant: Professor Niels Mejlgaard, Aarhus University
Universities and other research performing organizations need to find efficient ways to translate universal principles of research integrity, such as honesty, reliability, respect and accountability, into practice. Appropriate organizational policies and governance arrangements should enable and empower researchers to engage in responsible research practices, while avoiding box-ticking and de-motivating bureaucracy.
The notion of an organizational ‘Research Integrity Promotion Plan’ (RIPP) tailored to the specific needs and context of the research performing organization has recently emerged as a response to this challenge. A RIPP outlines the steps that the organization takes to promote research integrity in the context of its mission and disciplinary focus.
Currently, the use of RIPPs is advocated by different parties in the research system, including funders and research performing organizations. The contributors to this symposium will share their experiences with stimulating and implementing organizational polices to promote research integrity. Conditions for developing and implementing RIPPs may be different across countries and types of organizations, and may depend on access to resources. The symposium will discuss the aims and importance of having an organizational RIPP but also the potential barriers to successful implementation.
Paper mills as potential enablers of systematic research fraud
Applicant: Professor Jennifer Byrne, NSW Health Pathology
Reports published since 2013 suggest that as-yet unknown numbers of scientific manuscripts and publications could be produced every year by research contract cheating organizations termed paper mills. These organizations have been proposed to generate large numbers of superficially plausible yet fraudulent manuscripts, a proportion of which are accepted for publication, likely by lower-profile specialty journals. Drivers of market demand for paper mills may include unrealistic publication quotas that are imposed upon students, academics and medical doctors, combined with systems of monetary publication rewards. This symposium will present the latest information on the possible operations and outputs from paper mills.
Embassy of Good Science: Fostering Research Integrity and Research Ethics
Applicant: Prof. Dr. Guy Widdershoven, Amsterdam UMC
Easy access to up-to-date and understandable research integrity guidance and training material is essential in a world where information is disparate and fast-changing. The Embassy of Good Science aims to provide the global community of researchers with a central go-to place for research integrity and ethics. The use of Semantic MediaWiki software enables the community to take over; researchers can exchange knowledge and support good research practices, by asking questions, providing answers, and adding content.
In this session, the founders of The Embassy and other stakeholders will describe and discuss their experiences of building a central wiki-based hub for research integrity and ethics, including risks and challenges:
- Disseminating research integrity and ethics materials via a wiki platform – stakeholder experiences
- Building an active and engaged user and contributor base
- Dealing with disinformation and trolls
Data publishing: Emerging ethical challenges and the need for standards
Applicant: Iratxe Puebla, ASAPbio
The last few years have brought initiatives to promote research data sharing: funders and institutions have introduced mandates for data deposition, and data policies are increasingly common among journals. As all steps in the research process, the generation and deposition of datasets should be handled with integrity and good research practice. As data sharing increases, ethical challenges around datasets are arising and these are likely to become increasingly relevant in coming years. Ethical best practice has been well documented for journal publications, but such guidelines are currently lacking for datasets: what should an editor or a repository manager do if a dataset includes offensive or libelous information? Should journals and repositories take any steps for datasets related to publications that are later retracted? What are the expectations for data associated with a preprint? How should claims for authorship or intellectual property over datasets be handled?
In this session, speakers bringing the perspective of journals, data managers and institutions will share their experience handling integrity cases related to research data. We will
explore gaps and opportunities around research integrity standards for datasets and encourage feedback from the audience to inform recommendations for the ethical use of data in research and publications.
Recent advances in research integrity
Applicant: Prof. Dr. Lex Bouter, Amsterdam University Medical Centers and Vrije Universiteit
Recently more work has been conducted on understanding why research integrity problems occur and how these can be prevented or handled effectively. This plenary session presents recent advances on three important topics that are highly relevant for fostering responsible research practices and deserve our attention.
The first topic is conflict-of-interest (CoI) as driver of compromised research integrity. There is consensus that substantial financial interests should be reported, but it’s difficult to define and assess non-financial COIs (e.g., strong personal, political or religious convictions). It is also unclear how CoIs should be weighted when interpreting the findings at issue.
The second topic concerns innovative teaching methods for research integrity education. This is a rapidly evolving field that includes undergraduate and postgraduate training, but also research integrity education in high schools. Furthermore, teaching materials and train-the-trainer courses have substantially improved recently.
The third topic concerns the recent developments and accumulating evidence on the importance of fostering reproducibility and of removing barriers to engage in replication studies, including changing the incentives for researchers, and working directly with researchers, funders, publishers and other organizations.
Integrity and excellence: diversifying definitions of ‘excellence’ in research evaluation
Applicant: Anne-Marie Coriat, Wellcome Trust
Notions of ‘excellence’ have become increasingly central to research funding and evaluation, both at the level of high-level strategy and in specific schemes. Examples include the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF), Germany’s Exzellenzinitiative and Switzerland’s Eccellenza grants.
However, excellence remains an ambiguous, poorly-defined concept. It is often operationalised through narrow metrics, such as H-Indices or Journal Impact Factors, which can encourage poor practices. Some have called for the concept to be pluralised – taking account of more diverse indicators, such as open research practices. Others have called for it to be scrapped, as little more than a buzzword.
In response to such concerns, and high profile initiatives such as the San Francisco Declaration (DORA), Leiden Manifesto and Hong Kong Principles, those undertaking evaluation are rethinking ways in which they define and operationalise notions of excellence. Drawing on the strategies and insights of research funders from diverse settings, this symposium will explore how excellence is being transformed in decision making and evaluation. It will also showcase the findings of a multi-funder study being carried out through the Research on Research Institute (RoRI), based at Wellcome in London.
Moderators: Prof. Dr. Lex Bouter & Prof Ana Marušić Prof Elizabeth Heitman
One of the cherished traditions of the WCRIs is the Doctoral Forum. It provides a unique opportunity for PhD and Research Master students with research projects that fit in the scope of the WCRIs to interact and to get advice and comments from an international panel of experts in the field with a strong methods background. The Doctoral Forum provides an exciting, friendly and supportive environment for selected PhD and Research Master students to share ideas and to interact with each other and with established research integrity researchers.
Students interested in participating in the Doctoral Forum must indicate this on their registration form. They will subsequently receive instructions for their application that needs to be submitted by 15 April 2021 latest. The application will be reviewed for suitability for the Doctoral Forum by the expert panel.
Based on the quality and relevancy of the research project, the presentation of it by the PhD or Research Master student, and the contribution made to the Doctoral Forum, the expert panel will decide on three Awards for Excellence in Doctoral Research that will be presented during one of the Plenary Sessions of the 7th WCRI.
Meet the Expert Sessions
As in previous years, the 7th WCRI will offer multiple parallel Meet the Expert sessions during each of the three conference lunch breaks. These one hour round-table discussions will allow participants to ask questions and learn from Research Integrity experts and leaders, as well as network with other peers. Each Meet the Expert session will feature one research integrity expert, up to 12 participants, and a supporting moderator, with lunch provided for all attendees. Following brief introductions, the expert will describe their area of interest, and how they reached their current career position. A question and answer session will follow, with sessions concluding by participants sharing contact details.
All early career professionals (including postgraduate researchers, research managers and students) who have registered to attend the 7th WCRI will be eligible to register for Meet the Expert sessions at no additional cost. Participants will be invited to register for Meet the Expert sessions by email. Registrants will be asked to indicate the expert whom s/he would like to meet, and any intended questions/topics for discussion. The list of available experts and registrations will be available from early April 2021.
Jennifer Byrne (Australia), Seeiso Koali (South Africa), Paula Saner (South Africa), Joeri Tijdink (Netherlands)
Poster Walks have a crucial role in the 7th WCRI program and its interactive format stimulates discussion and facilitates the sharing of ideas among participants. Poster Walks concern subsets of posters grouped according to topic and are moderated. Moderators move from poster to poster during the lunch breaks, with presenters pitching for 2 minutes followed by 3 minutes of discussion.
Poster Awards will be allocated to excellent posters by early career professionals.
Technical demands and tips for posters and the criteria and procedure for allocating Poster Awards will be added later.
This web page will evolve in the coming months as we are able to add information about the programme, pre-conference workshops, etcetera, so do keep visiting this page and also register your contact details so we can add you to our mailing list for important conference alerts.