Is requiring Research Integrity Advisors a useful policy for improving research integrity? :A census of advisors in Australia

Adrian G Barnett*, David N Borg, Paul Glasziou, Emma Beckett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Research Integrity Advisors are used in Australia to provide impartial guidance to researchers who have questions about any aspect of responsible research practice. Every Australian institution conducting research must provide access to trained advisors. This national policy could be an important part of creating a safe environment for discussing research integrity issues and thus resolving issues. We conducted the first formal study of advisors, using a census of every Australian advisor to discover their workload and attitudes to their role. We estimated there are 739 advisors nationally. We received responses to our questions from 192. Most advisors had a very light workload, with an median of just 0.5 days per month. Thirteen percent of advisors had not received any training, and some advisors only discovered they were an advisor after our approach. Most advisors were positive about their ability to help colleagues deal with integrity issues. The main desired changes were for greater advertising of their role and a desire to promote good practice rather than just supporting potential issues. Advisors might be a useful policy for supporting research integrity, but some advisors need better institutional support in terms of training and raising awareness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalAccountability in research
Early online date27 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jul 2023

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