AAA Takes Part in National Research Summit

Creating a culture that would make bad research unthinkable was the topic of robust conversation at a national summit on the state of research integrity education hosted by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics and held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Nov. 8 and 9. Daniel Ginsberg, director of Education and Professional Practice at the American Anthropological Association (AAA), and Ed Liebow, former executive director at AAA, were among those who attended.

“If we want to improve the integrity of research outcomes, we need, I think, to expand our ideas of what constitutes both integrity and outcomes and recognize that there are many factors which can facilitate or inhibit that improvement,” said Dena Plemmons, chair of the APPE Board of Directors and Director of the Research Ethics Education Program at the University of California, Riverside, and co-chair of the planning committee. Dena is also the former chair of the AAA Ethics Committee who oversaw the last major overhaul of the AAA Principles on Professional Responsibility. “A variety of stakeholders need to work in concert not just to ensure the veracity and reproducibility of the research data produced, but also to promote healthy and supportive cultures–lab, research group, institution–in which that data is produced, and to provide robust and meaningful education around issues of good research practice.”

The Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) convened the summit to review the current state of knowledge about research integrity and examine efforts to promote it throughout the research enterprise. The goal was to identify gaps in accountability for effective research integrity instruction and develop strategies to meaningfully engage all relevant stakeholders in strengthening accountability for the ethical conduct of research over the next decade.

“We often say that research is a team sport. It takes all of us–the entire research enterprise–to ensure our national investments in research yield valid and reproducible results,” said Lisa M Lee, co-chair of the planning committee and Associate Vice President for Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance at Virginia Tech. “Bringing together this diverse group of thinkers to focus the conversation on how we can work together to hold each other accountable to strengthen research integrity across the enterprise was a critical step toward getting the most from our research investments.”

More than 50 people from federal funding agencies, professional associations, accreditation agencies, and universities and institutions attended the summit, which was sponsored by Arsht Ethics Initiatives at the University of Miami. Participants included longtime advocates in the field; deans, provosts, and other university administrators; research integrity officers; early career professionals; and graduate students.

APPE will release a report with strategies and suggested next steps in early 2024.