Research Integrity

June 2017

In June an interactive discussion round on research integrity took place - we discussed questionable research practices and found solutions together with the invited experts.


Research Integrity – Characterised by lively discussions

Thirty participants reflected how they do science and how they want science to be done. The discussions focused on QRPs (questionable research practice) – the grey area of behavior between good scientific practice and fraud. Participants realised that sometimes there is no easy solution for doing the "right" thing and a lot depends on developing a personal attitude to science ethics ...and sticking to it despite external pressures – mainly pressure to publish in the harsh system of metric performance indicators for evaluation. Cases on the topics authorship, data management or data processing were discussed with Prof Inga Koszalka (GEOMAR), Dirk Fleischer (KMS) and Dr Mark Lenz (GEOMAR). Also, cases studies presented by GEOMAR Ombudsperson Prof Stefanie Ismar showed that minimising harm for all involved parties was not a trivial thing to do.
Keeping an openness for communication in the scientific community was one important solution identified – at an individual basis and institutional level. 'Interesting, that the first step to a solution for many dilemmas is - to me- is at the core of science: discussing things' says one participant. Another solution should be a different way to evaluate performance in order to switch from competition for resources to a purer, intellectual competition based on scientific ideas.
'Realizing that the process of reflecting these questions is at least as important as finding a solution was very important to me' says another participant.