Scientific Integrity: A forever journey
Scientific integrity is a core value of ILSI North America and is paramount to the vitality of the tripartite model under which we operate. For the past 10 years, ILSI North America has been a recognized leader in addressing issues of conflict of interest and public-private partnerships through our work with federal agencies and scientific professional societies. Now the focus is on scientific integrity through scientific excellence.
Areas of Work
In October 2016, ILSI North America published a “Scientific integrity resource guide: Efforts by federal agencies, foundations, nonprofit organizations, professional societies, and academia in the United States” in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. This resource guide lays out the work being done in 5 different sectors on scientific integrity. The manuscript will be a living document and will be updated twice a year on the ILSI North America website.
Conflict of Interest Policy
An internal conflict of interest policy has been developed to reinforce and strengthen ILSI North America’s existing code of ethics and was adopted by the ILSI North America Board of Trustees. The policy has been disseminated broadly so that all those working with ILSI North America have a clear understanding of our standards. Read the Conflict of Interest Policy here. Read the Conflict of Interest Policy here.
Who is Involved?
The Assembly on Scientific Integrity includes: members of the ILSI North America Board of Trustees, all member companies of ILSI North America, and the ILSI North America Canadian Advisory Committee. These groups include scientific representation from all three sectors.
An overview of the presentation at the 2016 National Nutrient Databank Conference on A Partnership for Public Health: USDA Branded Food Products Database.
This paper provides an overview of key existing efforts on scientific integrity by federal agencies, foundations, nonprofit organizations, professional societies, and academia from 1989 to April 2016.
This article expands upon the summary, “In Brief: Achieving a Transparent, Actionable Framework for Public–Private Partnerships for Food and Nutrition Research,” published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
An overview of the presentation at the 2014 National Nutrient Databank Conference on A Partnership for Public Health: USDA Branded Food Products Database.
This publication is a summary of a working meeting held on 8 December 2014 to discuss and reach a consensus on guiding principles for public-private partnerships related to food and nutrition research.
- Predatory or Deceptive Publishers – Recommendations for Caution
- CSE Recommendations for Group-Author Articles in Scientific Journals and Bibliometric Databases
- Who’s the Author? Problems with Biomedical Authorship, and Some Possible Solutions
Retreat and Task Force Papers
Other Supported Statements
- ICMJE’s Statement on Clinical Trial Registration
- WAME Policy Statement on Geopolitical Intrusion on Editorial Decisions
CSE also has compilation of retraction resources that includes primary guidance documents and other materials from COPE, CSE, ICMJE, and others, that provide information related to handling retractions of scientific publications. The materials provided also address publication corrections, errata, partial retractions, and editorial expressions of concern, and include information on how HHS ORI handles suspected scientific misconduct in the research funded by agencies under its governance.
CSE has an annual Award for Meritorious Achievement, which is given to a person or institution that embraces the purposes of CSE–the improvement of scientific communication through the pursuit of high standards in all activities connected with editing. Recipients do not need to be a member of CSE. https://www.councilscienceeditors.org/about/awards/
May 2017 Update:
American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
The American Academy of Microbiology, as part of the American Society for Microbiology, published, A Framework for Improving the Quality of Research in the Biological Sciences, in July/August 2016. The publication outlines a colloquium convened by the American Academy of Microbiology, “to discuss problems in the biological sciences, with emphasis on identifying mechanisms to improve the quality of research. Participants from various disciplines made six recommendations: (i) design rigorous and comprehensive evaluation criteria to recognize and reward high-quality scientific research; (ii) require universal training in good scientific practices, appropriate statistical usage, and responsible research practices for scientists at all levels, with training content regularly updated and presented by qualified scientists; (iii) establish open data at the timing of publication as the standard operating procedure throughout the scientific enterprise; (iv) encourage scientific journals to publish negative data that meet methodologic standards of quality; (v) agree upon common criteria among scientific journals for retraction of published papers, to provide consistency and transparency; and (vi) strengthen research integrity oversight and training. These recommendations constitute an actionable framework that, in combination, could improve the quality of biological research.” http://mbio.asm.org/content/7/4/e01256-16.abstractAcademia
November 2017 Update:
Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS)
BITSS has created the Catalyst Program. Catalysts are graduate students, academic faculty, and other researchers in the social sciences who are committed to changing norms by educating the current and next generation of economists, psychologists, political scientists, and other social scientists on transparency tools and practices. The Catalyst program formalizes a network of professionals to advance the teaching, practice, funding, and publishing of transparent social science research. The overarching goal of this program is to connect and empower individuals to make changes in their own classrooms, in their universities, and across their network, thereby achieving far-reaching change. BITSS is supporting 100 academics and research practitioners working in 75 institutions in 28 countries (across five continents) as leaders in the open science movement. Catalysts:
- Educate: Catalysts deliver at least one training per academic year on research transparency. Catalysts can identify the appropriate delivery mechanisms for integrating training on research transparency, including integrating into existing curricula, seminars, workshops, or boot camps.
- Develop, share, and strengthen educational materials: Catalysts share existing resources and new materials that complement and extend the BITSS library, as well as provide feedback on the existing BITSS educational materials library. All materials will be shared through OSF, GitHub, or other sharing mechanisms for the benefit of other Catalysts and the broader community.
- Advocate: Catalysts lead advocacy efforts that will affect policy change at the department or academic senate levels (e.g. among university governing bodies). This may include writing blogs, OpEd pieces, meeting with administrators and other decision makers to discuss and develop additions and or revisions to curriculum.
- Catalyst Training Grants: BITSS offers grants to Catalysts to develop and deliver trainings in the form of workshops, conferences, short-courses, or university-level curriculum development.
BITSS funds Social Science Meta-Analysis and Research Transparency (SSMART) Grants. SSMART aims to improve the quality of research in economics, political science, psychology, and related disciplines by funding research related to transparency and reproducibility issues. With catalytic funding from the LJAF, SSMART is also partially funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. There are three core categories of projects funded through SSMART:
- Develop new methodology: These projects develop innovative methods to improve the transparency and credibility of research findings.
- Produce new meta-analysis: These projects develop new tools and approaches for meta-analysis.
- Study research culture and the adoption of new methods: These projects study researcher norms and strategies to promote the practice of open science.
BITSS has awarded their 2017 Leamer-Rosenthal Prizes for Open Social Science. There are two types o of awards: Leaders in Education and Emerging Researchers.
Center for Clinical Research Ethics (CCRE)
CCRE, located at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, offers a Professionalism & Integrity (P.I.) in Research Program called “Helping Researchers Become More Effective Professionals.” Using a career-coaching model, the P.I. Program offers personalized assessments, a group workshop, and post-workshop coaching calls to help researchers operate professionally in today’s complex environments. A variety of individuals have profited from the P.I. Program, including researchers who: (1) Find it challenging to balance scientific and compliance demands in today’s complex regulatory environments, (2) Have been investigated for noncompliance or misconduct and wish to move forward constructively, (3) Have staff who have been investigated for noncompliance or misconduct, and want to learn how to provide strong professional leadership and oversight. http://integrityprogram.org/ The P.I. Program offers webinars and courses.
The HHS ORI (see HHS ORI under Federal Agencies) awarded a grant to the P.I. Program to expand its recruitment and assessment efforts. New assessments will examine the work habits of participants. The project builds on work from the recent NIH K01 Award received by Dr. Alison Antes, the P.I. Program’s most recent faculty member, which includes studying the work habits of research exemplars. Drs. Antes and DuBois recently interviewed 52 researchers who conduct high impact research and enjoy a reputation for great leadership and integrity in research. Data from these projects will inform recommendations on best practices for lab leadership and management.
The CCRE Dr. Daniel Bisno Ethics in Medicine Fund was established in 2001 to provide experiences designed to raise awareness of ethical issues in medical practice and to improve ethical decision making. The fund is used to support diverse activities, including lectures, curriculum development, small group meetings, publications, and other activities sponsored by the CCRE.
Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS)
Launched in April 2014 with a founding grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, METRICS is a research to action center focused on transforming research practices to improve the quality of scientific studies in biomedicine and beyond. METRICS fosters multi-disciplinary research collaborations to help produce solutions that increase the effectiveness and value of scientific investigation. By serving as a lens that both focuses and helps magnify the impact of scholars, policymakers and others working on meta-research issues, METRICS hopes to enhance the public discourse and advance the development of policies and practices that maximize the use of best research practices. METRICS has three main goals:
- Build the meta-research field and catalyze solutions-focused research to develop best scientific practices
- Provide leaders with the skills and knowledge needed to support the development and implementation of high-quality research
- Transform research practices to strengthen the evidence base for informed decision-making
METRICS promotes research and drives innovation in a broad domain of subjects, which are divided into five focal areas corresponding to critical phases of the research cycle:
- Methods: The phase of designing and conducting research
- Rigorous research methods are at the heart of good science. These methods include everything from question formation to study design, conduct, statistical analysis and interpretation. Meta-researchers use both theoretical and empirical approaches to identify flaws and biases in the research enterprise, then develop and test methods to minimize them and define best practices.
- Reporting: The phase of communicating research
- For research to be useful it needs to be communicated properly to scientists and others who use the results. This reporting is done through research papers, written by scientists, or by various forms of media that convey scientific results to broader audiences. Meta-researchers are developing standards for reporting results and experimenting with new means to improve communication to scientists, policy makers, patients, and the general public.
- Evaluation: The phase of evaluating research
- Scientific quality is constantly evaluated in journal publications, funding decisions, academic promotions, industry investment, medical practice guidelines, standard setting, and policy decisions. Peer review has long served as the cornerstone of such evaluations, but it is widely acknowledged to be imperfect and inefficient. Meta-researchers across multiple disciplines are assessing its effectiveness and experimenting with new approaches to improve the assessment of scientific quality.
- Reproducibility: The phase of verifying research
- Replicating research results is central to scientific credibility. Meta-research has repeatedly shown that accurate reporting and sound peer-review do not by themselves guarantee the reproducibility of a scientific claim and that active replications of previous research are too rarely done. Meta-researchers are developing new ways to assess the reproducibility of findings, make experimental data available, and promote policies that can make verifying research more routine and more effective.
- Incentives: The phase of rewarding research
- Research is a rewarding activity in itself, but funding, recognition, and career advancement are critical to a successful scientific career. If the scientific reward system is not aligned with the adoption of best scientific practices, such as study replication and publishing negative results, such practices will happen rarely. Changing the criteria and processes by which rewards are distributed in science can help ensure that the most reliable research is encouraged.
METRICS’ publications database provides the latest in meta-research across METRICS five focal areas. Publications can be filtered by author, publication year, region, and METRICS faculty and affiliates.
To help meet METRICS’ goal of establishing meta-research as a new field of study and to improve how researchers conduct, report and disseminate their findings, METRICS supports a variety of education and training opportunities. Through the development of curricula to be delivered in the classroom and online, METRICS intends to produce a new generation of scholars focused on transforming research practices and improving the quality of scientific studies. https://metrics.stanford.edu/education
Beginning in 2017, METRICS will offer a limited number of research fellowships for doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars to help advance the Center’s research agenda.
National Center for Professional and Research Ethics (NCPRE)
NCPRE is located within the Coordinated Science Lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. NCPRE creates and shares resources to support the development of better ethics and leadership practices. The Center focuses on leadership in a variety of institutional settings, from academia to business. NCPRE is part of the Coordinated Science Laboratory in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The NCPRE project began with a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation. Current work includes studying and promoting improved research practice in university and private settings. One of NCPRE’s flagship initiatives is the SOURCE project, which provides universities with tools to assess their research ethics climates and benchmark themselves against institutional peers. Another important current activity is a multi-year leadership development institute, in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
In all its activities, NCPRE is committed to forming, developing, and supporting communities of responsible professional practice. NCPRE:
- Recognizes that no one seeks disaster; small choices are important in personal and ethical pathways.
- Creates tools, systems, and resources to help universities and others educate about ethics, the responsible conduct of research, and leadership.
- Educates about ethics as the smart choice, not just the right choice.
- Helps institutions assess the integrity of their environments.
- Develops leaders using evidence-based, practical, applied strategies.
- When things go wrong, NCPRE provides strategies for salvage and for returning to business as usual.
- Helps emerging professionals, from high school on, understand the importance of ethical and professional choices, and to lead effectively.
NCPRE offers online instruction in professional development and ethical decision-making. The 4-course series, “Professional IQ: Preventing and Solving Problems at Work,” is targeted towards people seeking or starting new jobs, who are facing dilemmas in their current job, who have just been promoted or who want to be more marketable for a promotion, or who possesses strong technical skills and want to develop leadership skills. The course series is available now as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) through Coursera.
Professional and Social Issues Lab (PSI)
The PSI Lab is housed in the Division of General Medical Sciences in the Department of Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. With funding from the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS) and Washington University, PSI is able to provide a limited number of hours of consultation on study designs for projects that explore issues surround ethics, regulations, and professionalism. In general, PSI seeks projects in which they can become co-investigators, providing the support of faculty and staff throughout the life of a project. PSI is affiliated with CCRE (see CCRE under Academia) and the Professionalism & Integrity (P.I.) in Research Program. http://professionalandsocial.org/research-services/
PSI is currently working on projects in the following areas:
- A Recruitment and Assessment Project for the Professionalism and Integrity in Research Program
- Preventing Ethical Disasters in the Practice of Medicine
- How Do Clinical Research Coordinators Learn About Good Clinical Practice?
- Sharing Qualitative Research Data: Identifying and Addressing Ethical and Practical Barriers
May 2017 Update:
Center for Clinical Research Ethics (CCRE), Washington University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University
“Dr. Alison Antes, Assistant Director of CCRE and Assistant Professor in the Division of General Medical Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine, received a K01 career development grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute that will allow Dr. Antes to, ‘develop a program that focuses on the management and leadership practices of researchers as they relate to integrity and societal impact in genomic research. The purpose of this research is to understand the challenges and needs of genomic researchers with regard to these issues focusing in particular on management practices and leadership practices employed by researchers in navigating issues of research integrity and the societal impact of their work. In the first phase of this research, we will conduct semi-structured interviews with a national sample of federally-funded researchers nominated as exemplars of professionalism and integrity to identify the management and leadership practices they employ to foster integrity and impact in their research. In a second phase, we will survey a national sample of genomic scientists regarding the management and leadership practices identified in the interviews. We will ask researchers to report on the management and leadership practices they utilize, their confidence in performing each practice, and their interest in training or support materials. In the third phase of this research, we will conduct focus groups with researchers to understand their preferences regarding types of programs and messages about tailored management and leadership programs for scientists. Next, we will develop messages and test their appeal among with researchers using a survey. These findings will facilitate effective messaging about future initiatives to encourage the participation of researchers. This research will lay the groundwork for future research and practical resources and tools to assist researchers with meeting the various ethical, legal, and social demands of their work, thereby contributing to the quality, integrity, and social impact of genomic science.” http://ethicsresearchcore.org/home/spotlight/
Please help keep this document current by pointing out areas that need to be expanded or updated or additional organizations that should be included. Please send comments or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Scientific Integrity.”
Last updated November 2017
Citation: Kretser, A., Murphy, D., & Dwyer, J. (2017). Scientific integrity resource guide: Efforts by federal agencies, foundations, nonprofit organizations, professional societies, and academia in the United States. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 57(1), 163–180. http://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2016.1221794
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This presentation will provide an overview of the expansive range of activities on scientific integrity in the United States among five sectors.
The Future of Food and Nutrient Databases: Invention, Innovation, and Inspiration
ILSI North America work was presented in multiple EB2016 sessions.
A public unveiling was held at the National Academy of Sciences on 16 June 2015 of the set of principles for research public-private partnerships that were agreed upon and endorsed by 4 federal agencies and 5 nutrition, food science, and food safety professional societies.
ILSI North America’s recent work on partially hydrogenated oils, public-private partnerships, and food-relevant chemicals in ToxCast will be presented.