National Research Integrity Forum
Research integrity relates to the performance of research to the highest standards of professionalism and rigour, and to the accuracy and integrity of the research record in publications and elsewhere. It is essential that the Irish research system as a whole protects its reputation for the quality and integrity of its research activity and outputs, in order that we and our international partners may rely on those outputs to promote economic and social development and growth. Unfortunately instances of research malpractice and misconduct are increasing worldwide. Research integrity is best ensured, in so far as possible, when individual researchers, institutions and funding bodies work together to create effective processes. This should ensure that the research for which they are responsible is conducted to the highest standards, and any shortcomings in process or practice are identified and taken in hand.
These principles are captured in the National Policy Statement on Ensuring Research Integrity in Ireland, first published in 2014 and revised in 2019.
About the Forum
The National Forum on Research Integrity (NRIF) was established in June 2015. It is coordinated by the Irish Universities Association (IUA) and the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA). In 2022, the NRIF was re-structured into two elements
- A focused Steering Group where strategic issues related to Conduct of Research and Research Integrity are discussed among key senior stakeholders. The group is chaired by Professor Anita Maguire from University College Cork. The Deputy Chairperson is Dr Jennifer Brennan from the Technological Higher Education Association.
- A broad Community of Practice (CoP) for sharing information and good practice on training, policies and operational matters between a large group of stakeholder organisations, including all state-funded research performing organisations, national research funders and other relevant national stakeholder organisations. The Chair and Deputy Chair roles are rotated annually from within the membership.
The NRIF also facilitates an annual meeting of the Research Integrity Officers from the research performing organisations.
Key responsibilities of the Forum include:
- Supporting the implementation of research integrity policies and processes in a harmonised manner across the research performing organisations;
- Supporting the development of appropriate research integrity quality assurance mechanisms;
- Developing appropriate research integrity guidance documents and position papers;
- Ensuring continuity of online research integrity training provision for staff and students in the research performing organisations and encouraging the development and roll-out of in-person research integrity training programmes;
- Monitoring international developments and policy in the area of research integrity, and periodically reviewing the terms of reference of the Forum and research integrity policy and practice in Ireland in this context;
- Publishing annual statistics on the number and types of research misconduct that have been dealt with through formal mechanisms within the state-funded research performing organisations.
- Communicating the importance of research integrity to the Irish research community and to the general public.
Key Outputs of the Forum
- A guidance document to help researchers reinforce responsible research conduct in their research collaborations
- A series of position papers and guidance documents regarding the establishment of research integrity policies and procedures in Irish research performing organisations.
- A written contribution to the revised text of the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.
- An inaugural seminar Responsible research and innovation: Fostering a climate of excellence for Irish research” in February 2017. See the seminar report
- The roll-out a three-year pilot to provide research integrity training to staff and students at all higher education institutions and publicly-funded research organisations in Ireland, supported with funding from the Higher Education Authority.
- Raising the international awareness of the work of the Forum via presentation at several international research integrity conferences, including the biennial World Conferences on Research Integrity.
- Representing Ireland in a Mutual Learning Exercise on Research Integrity led by the European Commission.
- Annual statistics report on instances of research misconduct formally investigated in Irish research performing organisations.
- National Stats on Formal Investigations of Research Misconduct 2017
- National Stats on Formal Investigations of Research Misconduct 2018
- National Stats on Formal Investigations of Research Misconduct 2019
- National Stats on Formal Investigations of Research Misconduct 2020
Activities of the Forum:
8 Dec 2021 – Dr Jennifer Brennan and Dr Daniel Bangert from the National Open Research Forum present Ireland’s work in the areas of research integrity and open research at a UNESCO event on scientific integrity
16 April 2019 – Prof. Anita Maguire and Dr Jennifer Brennan present progress towards Innovation 2020 Actions on research integrity to the I2020 Implementation Group
6 June 2017 – Report Published of the inaugural seminar of the National Forum. National Forum on Research Integrity Seminar Report Feb 2017 web version
NRIF Steering Group
The following organisations are represented on the Steering Group:
- Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science
- Higher Education Authority
- Technological Higher Education Association (3 members)
- Irish Universities Association (3 members)
- Enterprise Ireland
- Irish Research Council
- Science Foundation Ireland
- Health Research Board
- Royal Irish Academy
For more information please contact:
Dr Jennifer Brennan, Deputy Chair, National Research Integrity Forum, firstname.lastname@example.org