Working Together To Promote Research Integrity in Africa
African Research Integrity Network
Scholarly and scientific endeavors are anchored in a foundation of trust. Communities and the world-at-large trust in the outcomes and products of research because these are understood to convey truth, to be verifiable and replicable, and to reflect honest, hard work. Within the academic community, researchers also place an enormous amount of trust in the data their fellow researchers generate; they believe their colleagues collect data honestly, using accurate and appropriate methods. In contrast, inability to adhere to these principles not only undermine the trust in an individual researcher but the entire research enterprise itself.
While the promotion of research integrity and responsible conduct of research in the US and UK have made important progress, Africa appears to lag behind with regard to a common regulatory framework and policies that enhance research integrity, and locate African scholars in direct conversation with their peers in other jurisdictions. A process of greater connection requires understanding local conditions, and data on the full range of topics within the field of research integrity.
Against this background, a group of six African scientists and researchers, who attended the 4th Word Conference on Research Integrity have been engaging in discussions on possible approaches they could use to promote research integrity in the African continent. In a zeal to promote research integrity through empowering and mentorship, the group has held various virtual meetings and online discussion, with a view to identifying ways through which they can create and nurture leadership in the responsible conduct of research in Africa. Together, the group agreed to establish the African Research Integrity Network (ARIN) as the vehicle to reach this goal.
ARIN aims to:
Engage research institutions with a view to initiating programs to enhance research integrity
Engage academic institutions, especially at tertiary level to initiate education programs and activities aimed at fostering values of best practice in research conduct
Engage policymakers, governance authorities and national governments to come up with policies and guidelines promote research integrity and responsible research conduct as well as deter/mitigate misconduct in research
Engage researchers in activities geared towards promoting research integrity
We anticipate that our engagement with institutions, individuals will help in setting up innovative systems in order to support and sustain conducive environments to promote research integrity, create awareness of the importance of research integrity, and establish policies and guidelines specifically for responsible conduct of research