Building good research practices begins before entering the lab.
More training and clear guidelines are favoured as fixes for bad research practices, but a new study suggests that these efforts are wasted if researchers are inherently dishonest.
A well-balanced view that articulates that good behaviour is bred early and can’t rely on compliance training too late in the trajectory of researcher training. There is value in professional development focussed on resourcing practice and discussing missteps+traps, but we shouldn’t deceive ourselves about their transformative powers. Our focus must be on research practice and rewarding good practice, not volume.
The authors write that while it is possible to teach professional scientists the rules of rigorous research, “it might be far too late to imbue them with integrity that they do not already have.”
Institutions around the world are grappling with how to best tackle the problem of research misconduct.
But even after two decades of mandated training in responsible conduct for researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation in the US, “the evidence on effectiveness of these trainings in changing behavior of researchers remains inconsistent and weak”, according to the paper.