Policy on Research Integrity
The policy on research integrity presented here is excerpted from chapter 6 of the Research Handbook. Please refer to it for details.
- Good Research Practices
- Compliance with Relevant Regulations
- Respect for Confidentiality and Personal Privacy
- Disclosure of Conflict of Interest
- Proper Data Management
- Collection / Acquisition
- Storage / Retention
- Disposal / Destruction
- Principles of Research Integrity
- Participants’ Rights
The fundamental principle governing research involving human participants and personal data is respect for the participants’ welfare, dignity and rights. The ethical principles which define the participants’ rights and researchers’ obligations are as follows:
- Consent to participate, withdraw from, or refuse to take part in research projects or experiments;
- Confidentiality: personal information or identifiable data should not be disclosed without participants’ consent;
- Security: data and samples collected should be kept secure and anonymised where appropriate; and
- Safety: participants should not be exposed to unnecessary or disproportionate levels of risk.
Researchers have an obligation to ensure that their research is conducted with:
- Minimal possible risk to participants and to themselves;
- Cultural sensitivity; and
- Sensitivity towards discriminatory issues.
The principles and requirements stated should be applied in parallel with the researcher’s legal obligations and responsible management of risks.
- Plagiarism and Self-plagiarism
- Plagiarism refers to the cases one uses others’ ideas or words as one’s own without properly acknowledging the sources of the ideas and words.
Examples of plagiarism include verbatim copying the words, figures, and tables from the published work, and using others’ work without properly citation, making it difficult for others to differentiate one’s work from the previously published work.
- Self-Plagiarism refers to the cases that the word-for-word copying or reuse of substantial parts of one’s own published work in a ‘new’ work without mentioning the content has been used in one’s previously published work.
- Unethical Use of Data
- Fabrication refers to the cases when one makes up data and presents them in all forms to the public as if they are real.
- Falsification refers to the cases when one intentionally manipulates various components of the research, and/or changes the data or results, and presents the findings inaccurately in any published work.
- Unethical collection involves data collection which exploits the vulnerable or disadvantage groups, violates the privacy of research participants, and brings unnecessary risks or harm to participants.
- Unauthorized use of data involves using the data without authorization from the owners’ of the data or the informed consent from the human participants of the research.
- Non-disclosure of potential conflict of interest
It is unethical for researchers not to disclose any potential conflict of interest. The researchers should acknowledge financial support for the research work, unless the donor prefers anonymity. Those who involve in the approval of research or conference grants should not participate in the determination of the applications of their own and the students they supervise.
Both types of plagiarism are considered to be unacceptable practice in scientific literature.
It is the PIs’ responsibility to ensure that their projects are conducted ethically and legally. When there is a possible case of research misconduct, an allegation should be referred to the REC via the RO.
Upon receiving the allegation, the REC will immediately initiate meeting to investigate and resolve the alleged case. The REC can choose to co-opt an external independent expert in the relevant field as a consultant of the investigation, if necessary.
Depending on the type and severity of the allegation, it can be resolved by academic guidance, counselling, conciliation, staff development or disciplinary action.