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Fostering Research Integrity in the Academy

The journal Research Integrity: Ensuring Trust in the Academy (2005) fairly discusses the role of integrity of researchers in the academy. As discussed, the integrity of an institution is basically perceived in their published research. Being such, these researches should have been morally carried out and accounted so confidence is awarded by the scholars, consumers and the community to the academy. The journal also points out that trust is a medium by which reputation is channeled.

Integrity is closely associated to honesty, probity, uprightness structural soundness and coherence while trust is to confidence, faith, credence, protection and responsibility. The journal basically emphasizes that integrity of a person specifically, researchers, is a basis of other people, the audience, of trust. In higher educations and corporations, revenue generated by a scholar greatly affects their power, strength or authority in the academy. Federal sponsorship is a major driving force of research.

The federal government annually invests huge amount of money in academic research only. Being such, the government has always been interested in misconducts committed during researches. The government’s interest provides appropriate guidance for individual and fair judgments and evaluations involving career behavior of scientists or researchers. The opportunity of researchers to obtain research grants should not harmfully manipulate the scientific or clinical decision-making rather to produce a more reliable set of conclusions.

Integrity is ensured by three primary principles which are: respect for persons, beneficence, and justice; guidelines on conflicts of interests and conscience and; activities of peer review (Hatcher, 2005). Human subjects or participants are assumed to be protected from harm brought upon by the study or experiment. Researches concerning human subjects must be up to maximizing benefits and minimize possible harm as its primary goal.

Proper understanding on guidelines set upon by federal laws as well as the research institutions concerned does not only protect human subjects but also an assurance that a standard is highly observed. Peer review functions in the shared governance to ensure ethical and professional conduct as well as to build trust and competence among peers. General Impressions on the Journal The journal, as one could note, is generally a mixture of positive and negative impressions.

On the positive side, it exposes us to the fact that there are also studies which monitor the condition of and factors influencing integrity in research. The maintenance and promotion of research integrity is a shared responsibility between the researcher himself and the government. Federal laws are existent in order to protect the quality of the scientific endeavors within the country. The journal is also an exposition of the weaknesses of some researchers which are inevitable whenever personal interests are at stake.

It is said that lack of knowledge on ethical guidelines or on philosophical assumptions affect how researchers respond on controversial situations (Hatcher, 2005). An inevitable aspect of academic research is the competing interests of researchers especially those that desire advances in scientific knowledge and professional recognition. Financial concern appears to foster biases in study designs, data collection and analysis as well as the whole research itself. It could also encourage adverse event reporting, presentation or publication of conclusions of the research study.

Importance of Research Integrity for Trainers and Educators This leaves us the impression that as educators in the academy, they should realize the importance of ensuring trustworthiness in their work which primarily starts from designing the experimental framework up tp presentation and publication of findings. It is their educational responsibility to look after the scientific environment such that morally-upright conduct of science is established and well-preserved.

Trainers and educators are not only the medium of knowledge but they are also the mirror through which trust should be reflected to develop confidence to the academy or to an institution that they belong to. It is important for them to have been provided sensible training in technical and systematic procedure and protocol. Having sound background earns them the trust from the public or community to which their work is presented to. There were also studies made regarding generic strategies that could be used when applying for a research grant.

Appropriate training in their respective practices and in ethical conducts of science should be the firm foundation of all academicians and researchers in order to maintain stability in the research and academic world. Trainers and educators are expected to have underdone institutions reinforcing high standards during their early years up to their senior years of practice. Aside from these, research supervisors are also expected to set one’s self as a good example of maintaining integrity in research works. This leads to powerful learning experience to new faculties just starting institutional research.

Indeed, integrity should start from scholars that provide research findings capable of allowing individual and organizational growth and professional development. Being such, responsible research can uphold integrity through harmonious interaction of individuals, organizations and professional intentions.

References

Association of American Medical Colleges. (2001 December). Protecting Subjects, Preserving Trust, Promoting Progress– Policy and Guidelines for the Oversight of Individual Financial Interests in Human Subjects Research. Retrieved November 11, 2007 from https://www.aamc.org/

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