Research misconduct is often defined as fabrication, falsification and plagiarism. Its occurrence is associated with individual, institutional, national and global factors. Researcher perceptions of weak or non-existent institutional guidelines on prevention and management of research misconduct encourage these practices. Few countries in Africa have clear guidance on research misconduct. In Kenya, the capacity to prevent or manage research misconduct in academic and research institutions has not been assessed. The objective of this study was to explore the perceptions of Kenyan research regulators on the occurrence of and institutional capacity to prevent or manage research misconduct.
This Creative Commons (Attribution 4.0 International License) paper, published in August 2022 about research in Kenya and the research it reports, points to an unfortunate reality. If institutions and countries are perceived not to have good guidance on responsible conduct and/or not have codified processes on the handling of alleged research misconduct, this can then fuel research misconduct and questionable research practices. In circumstances where this reality is understood and acted upon, some institutions and research integrity practitioners can draw a flawed conclusion. The way to improve research practice in a jurisdiction and institution is not merely a case of introducing research misconduct policies, procedures, professional development and guidance material. Efforts must be made to establish, nurture and support a community of practice in research that encourages and then celebrates responsible practice in research.
Respondents perceived research misconduct to be very common among students. Their responses suggested there was no dedicated capacity to prevent or manage research misconduct at the institutional and national levels. The national research regulator had no specific guidelines on research misconduct. At the institutional level, the only capacity / efforts mentioned were directed at reducing, detecting and managing student plagiarism. There was no direct mention of capacity to manage fabrication and falsification or misconduct by non-student researchers.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Our respondents perceived research misconduct to be common mostly pointing to student plagiarism but not by non-student researchers. Additionally, fabrication and falsification were not mentioned among the concerns. We recommend development of Kenya guidelines, at national and institutional levels, on research misconduct in all its nuances, addressing all potential perpetrators and underpinned by relevant laws.
Prevention and Management, Research Misconduct, Institutional Capacity, Kenya
Were, E., Kiplagat, J., Kaguiri, E., Ayikukwei, R. & Naanyu, V. (2022) Occurrence of Research Misconduct and Institutional Capacity to Prevent and Manage Research Misconduct-Perspectives from Kenyan Research Regulators. Research Square. DOI: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-1989554/v1.