Supporting Research Integrity and Publishing Ethics-What We're Doing Lately and Why

August 20, 2018 Elizabeth Moylan

Elizabeth Moylan joined Wiley last month as Publisher, Research Integrity and Publishing Ethics. Here she shares what excites her in the areas of research integrity, publishing ethics and peer review.

integ.jpegWhy should we care about research integrity?

Upholding the values of research integrity has never been more important to responsibly conducting research. Hot off the press is a recent report into research integrity by the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. The report outlines recommendations for all who play a role in championing research integrity including funding bodies, researchers, institutions and publishers. Emphasis is placed on training and the need for researchers to receive support to foster a healthy culture of research integrity. This was also highlighted previously in the report on the culture of scientific research in the UK from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

What can publishers do to support research integrity?

As publishers, we should listen to what researchers and colleagues are telling us and work collaboratively to provide solutions or pilot new approaches to address their needs. Many research communities are participating in a growing drive to more openness, whether that be in terms of open science and open research, open collaboration, open data, open access to published research, requiring increased transparency in the peer review and publishing process and recognition for the work done. These initiatives have a positive influence by introducing more transparency and accountability to the research, peer review and publishing processes. Wiley colleagues recently shared their key concerns with respect to publishing ethics, namely: image manipulation, authorship and credit, plagiarism, reproducibility, and data publication. At Wiley, we believe in quality with integrity. Through our society partnerships, with research communities and internal teams we continue to collaborate on better ways to support integrity in peer review and research publishing, trialling initiatives to improve transparency and openness and investing in people and technologies that support researchers (as authors, peer reviewers, editors or readers).

Projects that contribute to improving research integrity

There are a number of initiatives that can help improve research integrity from a journal perspective. For example, in collaboration with the Center for Open Science, we’ve implemented a Registered Reports toolkit across 20+ journals with encouraging feedback. A dedicated team is working on defining what ‘better peer review’ could look like, providing recommendations for journal best practice. For researchers, we are working on enhancing the reproducibility of published research conducted within an open science framework (see our work encouraging data sharing and using open science badges). Internally, we continue to support our colleagues with policies, training and the tools necessary to manage research integrity issues. This involves collaborating where necessary to share information between journals and institutions.

Support for researchers

While Wiley provides tailored support for researchers, editors and peer reviewers, many researchers directly receive support and training on research integrity from their institutions. Of course, external organisations may assist too (e.g. in the UK, UKRIO provides support and advice for UK researchers). Guidance documents are available, for example, the Concordat to support Research Integrity by Universities UK and the recently revised European Code of Conduct. However, there is scope for more to be done. Support for research integrity varies across institutions and some researchers often feel isolated and struggle to translate policies into best practice. But two EU-funded projects are aiming to address some of these issues - EnTIRE and Virt2ue - by supporting researchers in upholding and practicing the principles of research integrity.

EnTIRE is a project that will map the normative frameworks of research ethics and research integrity to create a dynamic, community driven, open source platform that will be launched in June 2019 at the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity. This platform will support researchers to not only be empowered to find the resources and help they need but also become ambassadors to improve practice. Virt2ue is a project that will drill down further into the virtue-based ethics and integrity of research. The aim is to develop resources in research integrity and specifically create a blended learning “train the trainer” program to foster best practice in research integrity. Both initiatives are centered in Europe with contributions and involvement from many European countries.

What’s next in terms of research integrity developments at Wiley?

Publishers are fundamentally services providers for the researchers we serve in all their diverse roles whether as authors, peer reviewers, editors and readers. At Wiley, the researcher is our ‘North Star’ and at the heart of our research journals and educational services. We need to listen to the research communities we serve and continue to support and promote the integrity of research. Adopting “open publishing” practices facilitates this and so in the coming months we will be working towards

  • providing transparent peer review toolkits for journals wishing to embrace more openness in peer review
  • developing self-assessment measures for journals for peer review and publishing standards
  • rolling out an “expects data” toolkit so that researchers can provide information on how data can be accessed, via repositories, in
    their published articles
  • pilot ‘integrity technology’ especially in relation to image screening, statistical checks and reporting standards to assist peer review

We welcome feedback on these areas and would love to hear from you. Please email us via with questions or feedback. Thank you.

Note: Elizabeth Moylan is on the advisory board for EnTIRE and Virt2ue.

About the Author

Elizabeth Moylan

Publisher, Wiley //

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