What your research-integrity officer would like you to know

The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.

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Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA.

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Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA.

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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA.

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As a first step in answering the call for a national research-integrity policy board (see C. K. Gunsalus et al. Nature 566, 173–175; 2019), a US National Academy of Sciences meeting last month discussed what the role of that board should be. As research-integrity officers (RIOs) at four big US universities, we would urge the proposed board to draw on the advice of RIOs. We are uniquely placed to understand the problems facing research today.

Universities have formal, publicly available policies that lay out comprehensive processes for handling allegations of research misconduct, often carried out with federal oversight. The Association of Research Integrity Officers (see shares best practices and strategies for handling misconduct proceedings and promoting ethical research, and has productive partnerships with regulatory agencies and journals, and with the Committee on Publication Ethics.

The viewpoints of RIOs are invaluable when overseeing research-misconduct proceedings. Also, their positioning in institutions provides them with insight into who commits research misconduct and how it is managed. This understanding enables them to advise on best practices for preventing misconduct and on other important issues relating to research integrity.

Nature 569, 40 (2019)

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