Research integrity means conducting research according to the highest professional and ethical standards, so that results are trustworthy. It concerns the behavior of researchers at all stages of the research life cycle, including:
- Declaring conflicts of interest
- Data collection and management
- Using appropriate methodology
- Drawing conclusions from results
- Writing up research findings
Research integrity is important because it upholds the trustworthiness and validity of academic research. Without strict adherence to research integrity guidelines, the value of research findings is put into question.
In today’s landscape of ‘fake news,’ with a vast amount of information available to the public, it’s crucial for academia to remain trustworthy. So researchers are encouraged to work responding to a responsible conduct, in an environment ruled by ethical principles.
Conflict of interest in research paper
Conflict of interest occurs when someone (researcher, employer, sponsor, etc.) has a financial, commercial, legal, or professional relationship with other organizations, or with the people working with them, that could influence his/her work and decisions.
Full disclosure is required when you submit a paper to a journal, however, the journal’s editor makes the decision to publish it or not due to any declared conflict of interest.
Normally, conflicts of interest are declared in your cover letter or in the manuscript submission form via the journal’s online peer-review system.
Research integrity can be confused with research ethics and publishing ethics. Although these terms are related, there are some differences:
Publication ethics for authors
Publishing ethics is related to integrity in the publication process, rather than the conduct of the research itself. Publishing ethics cover a range of issues, the below being the most common ones:
- Dual submission
- Authorship disputes
- Bias in peer review
- Breaches of confidentiality in peer review
Before submitting a journal article, don’t forget:
- Be clear on authorship: Agreement makes publishing easier. Be certain that all the contributors to your article are included (in the correct order), and acknowledgements are up to date.
- Make sure you avoid self-plagiarism: Have you checked if you’ve cited your own, and others’, work correctly? Written permissions for any reproduced figures or tables are also compulsory.
- Double-check your data: Check the journal’s instructions for authors more than once to make sure you’ve mentioned everything.
- Declaring any interests: make sure you’ve declared any funding, the role of the funder, or any other means of support in your cover letter – transparency is essential.
Remember to submit your article to just one journal at a time, so it is only ever being considered by one editor and one set of reviewers.
Ethics in scientific research
Research ethics is specifically concerned with ethical issues while conducting research, especially when animals or human subjects are involved.
Before submission, make sure you’ve:
- Read the journal’s instructions for authors and checked and followed all the instructions regarding data sets, ethics approval, or statements.
- Named all the authors in the submission forms (both paper and online).
- Referenced all the material in the text clearly and thoroughly.
- Carefully checked all your data and included any supplemental data required by the journal.
- Declared any relevant interests to the journal.
- Obtained (written) permission to reuse figures, tables, and data sets.
- Only submitted the paper to one journal at a time.
At Elsevier, our professionals work under strict moral and ethical guidelines, guaranteeing total transparency regarding relationships with clients and information disclosure. We can also help ensure that your paper submissions and publication processes are in line with established ethical guidelines for authors.
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