The Indian University Grants Commission (UGC) has introduced a number of policies aimed at addressing issues around the robustness and quality of Indian research. One focus of these policies has been the introduction of mandatory publishing ethics training for Indian PhD students aimed at reducing unethical or predatory research and publishing practices. In this blogpost, Santosh C. Hulagabali, reflects on the successful development of this course in his own institution and how ethical training may influence scholarly communication more broadly in India.
This interesting piece identifies a useful consideration for compulsory research integrity courses. Do they have a useful and lasting impact on student practice? It is important to look at the specifics of the situation and the content of the course. Nevertheless, it underlines the importance of having a strategy that goes beyond compulsory courses.
This last initiative was specifically introduced to train researchers to avoid predatory research and publication practices. However, it has raised doubts, such as: should researchers learn research ethics as part of a ‘compulsory’ component in a research programme at PhD level irrespective of their field of study or subject? How impactful could this be, since it is not an elective paper, the scope of personal preference is limited? And, what indicators could there be that researchers would really learn research and publication ethics and religiously follow this learning in their research journey?