The Cape Town Statement on fairness, equity and diversity in research

“Even the push towards openness and transparency in science publishing — which many have argued is a way to foster greater integrity in research — has created more barriers for investigators in low-resource environments.

Sharing data, for example, requires having enough institutional infrastructure and resources to first curate, manage, store and (in the case of data relating to people) encrypt the data — and to deal with requests to access them. Also, the pressure placed on researchers of LMICs by high-income-country funders to share their data as quickly as possible frequently relegates them to the role of data collectors for better-resourced teams. With enough time, all sorts of locally relevant questions that were not part of the original project could be investigated by local researchers. But, well-resourced investigators in high-income countries — who were not part of the original project — are often better placed to conduct secondary analyses.

Unforeseen difficulties are arising around publishing, too. Currently, the costs to publish an article in gold open-access journals (which typically range from US$500–$3,000) are prohibitive for most researchers and institutions in LMICs. The University of Cape Town, for example, which produces around 3,300 articles each year, has an annual budget of $180,000 for article-processing costs. This covers only about 120 articles per year.

Because of this, researchers in these countries frequently publish their papers in subscription-based journals. But scientists working in similar contexts can’t access such journals because the libraries in their institutions are unable to finance subscriptions to a wide range of journals. All this makes it even harder for researchers to build on locally relevant science….”


The Cape Town Statement on Fostering Research Integrity through Fairness and Equity advocates for fair practice from conception to implementation of research and provides 20 recommendations aimed at all involved stakeholders.

“The 7th World Conference on Research Integrity (7thWCRI) was held in Cape Town in May 2022 with the conference theme “Fostering Research Integrity in an unequal world”. Participants at this conference recognised that unfair and inequitable research practices remain prevalent at all stages of research from proposal development to funding application, data collection, analysis, sharing and access, reporting and translation. These practices can impact the integrity of research in many ways, including skewing research priorities and agendas with research questions that are irrelevant for local needs, power imbalances that undermine fair recognition of knowledge contributions within collaborations, including unfair acknowledgement of contributions to published work, lack of diversity and inclusivity in collaborations, and unfair data management practices that disadvantage researchers in low resource environments. Furthermore, a drive towards open science as a pillar of research integrity fails to recognise the financial burden placed on under-resourced researchers and institutions, and the reality that highly trained and well-resourced researchers in HIC may disproportionately benefit from reanalysing openly shared data by LMIC researchers. In response to these challenges the following statement of goals, values and recommendations aims to contribute to the growing global recognition that fairness and equity are essential requirements of integrity in all research contexts.

This statement advocates for fair practice from conception to implementation of research and provides 20 recommendations aimed at all involved stakeholders. These recommendations are grouped under values that were identified as important underpinning considerations in discussion groups at the 7th WCRI. These values include diversity, inclusivity, mutual respect, shared accountability, indigenous knowledge recognition and epistemic justice (ensuring that the value of knowledge is not based on biases related to gender, race, ethnicity, culture, socio-economic status etcetera)….”

Why research integrity matters and how it can be improved

Scholars need to be able to trust each other, because other – wise they cannot collaborate and use each other’s findings. Similarly trust is essential for research to be applied for individuals, society or the natural environment. The trustworthiness is threatened when researchers engage in questionable research practices or worse. By adopting open science practices, research becomes transparent and accountable. Only then it is possible to verify whether trust in research findings is justified. The magnitude of the issue is substantial with a prevalence of four percent for both fabrication and falsification, and more than 50% for questionable research practices. This implies that researchers regularly engage in behaviors that harm the validity and trustworthiness of their work. What is good for the quality and reliability of research is not always good for a scholarly career. Navigating this dilemma depends on how virtuous the researcher at issue is, but also on the local research climate and the perverse incentives in the way the research system functions. Research institutes, funding agencies and scholarly journals can do a lot to foster research integrity, first and foremost by improving the quality of peer review and reforming researcher assessment

Guest Post – Enabling Trustable, Transparent, and Efficient Submission and Review in an Era of Digital Transformation – The Scholarly Kitchen

“As the Open Science movement produces increasingly complex scientific analyses and rich research outputs that include not only articles but also data, models, physical samples, software, media, and more, those outputs also need to meet the FAIR criteria (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable). Developing shared storehouses for data, submissions, and images — a direction that STM publishers are heading in — could be key to making AI tools better trained, and thus more useful, allowing detection of integrity issues such as duplication and image manipulation across, as well as within, publications….”


“Enhancing Trust, Integrity and Efficiency in Research through next-level Reproducibility…

TIER2 aims to boost knowledge on reproducibility, create tools, engage communities, implement interventions and policy across different contexts to increase re-use and overall quality of research results….”

OSTP Releases Framework for Strengthening Federal Scientific Integrity Policies and Practices | OSTP | The White House

“Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released A Framework for Federal Scientific Integrity Policy and Practice, a roadmap that will help strengthen scientific integrity policies and practices across the federal government.

This framework builds on the assessment of federal scientific integrity policies and practices described in the January 2022 report, Protecting the Integrity of Government Science, and draws from extensive input from federal agencies, as well as from across sectors, including academia, the scientific community, public interest groups, and industry. It has several key components that federal departments and agencies will use to improve scientific integrity policies and practices, including:

A consistent definition of scientific integrity for all federal agencies

A model scientific integrity policy to guide agencies as they build and update their policies

A set of tools to help agencies regularly assess and improve their policies and practices…”

Open issues for education in radiological research: data integrity, study reproducibility, peer-review, levels of evidence, and cross-fertilization with data scientists | SpringerLink

Abstract:  We are currently facing extraordinary changes. A harder and harder competition in the field of science is open in each country as well as in continents and worldwide. In this context, what should we teach to young students and doctors? There is a need to look backward and return to “fundamentals”, i.e. the deep characteristics that must characterize the research in every field, even in radiology. In this article, we focus on data integrity (including the “declarations” given by the authors who submit a manuscript), reproducibility of study results, and the peer-review process. In addition, we highlight the need of raising the level of evidence of radiological research from the estimation of diagnostic performance to that of diagnostic impact, therapeutic impact, patient outcome, and social impact. Finally, on the emerging topic of radiomics and artificial intelligence, the recommendation is to aim for cross-fertilization with data scientists, possibly involving them in the clinical departments.


Research Integrity and Reproducibility are Two spects of the Same Underlying Issue – A Report from STM Week 2022 – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Imagine if the integrity of the publishing process didn’t rely purely on publishers’ ability to detect fraud, malpractice, or mistakes based on the limited information available in a submitted manuscript. Instead, what if this responsibility were spread throughout the ecosystem, from funder grant management system, to data management plan, to data center, to lab notebook, to preprint, to published version of record, making use of trusted assertions to build an open, verifiable research environment that also leverages transparency so that publishers, funders, institutions, and other researchers could all trace findings and claims back through the whole research process? 

The vision I laid out above may sound utopian, but much of the technology and tools required already exist. As well as the TREs [Trusted Research Environments], which can be seen as a model for traceability, and ORCID trust markers, which illustrate how the same thing can be done securely in the open, initiatives like Center for Open Science, and Octopus show how a range of outputs and activities can be used to document the entire research process.

The problem is not technology, it’s a wicked mix of perverse incentives, network effects, business model inertia, and sustainability challenges that lock us all into the same restrictive ideas about what constitutes a research publication, and what counts for prestige and career advancement. To address the range of challenges from poor research practice to industrial-scale fraud by paper mills, we need a whole-sector approach that involves funders, institutional research management and libraries, researchers, and publishers. As fellow Chef Alice Meadows and I wrote in a previous post, it really does take a village, and cross-sector collaboration is vital to building the interoperable research information infrastructure needed to connect the people, places, and things of the scholarly ecosystem in a way that is verifiable and trusted.”

RoSiE – Fostering Open Science in Europe

“Research Ethics and Research Integrity are also an issue in Open Science and Citizen Science. As part of their training, these topics should be taught to Doctoral Candidates at the beginning of their career. ROSiE is a three-year project funded by HORIZON2020. ROSiE project’s mission is to develop and openly share novel practical tools that ensure research ethics and research integrity in open science and citizen science. Listen to this episode of the PRIDE Podcast and find out, which tools the Rosie project has to offer for you. The 2023 PRIDE Conference is also dedicated to the subject….”

Scientific integrity: Handling knowledge as a public good

“In September 2021, the special Eurobarometer 516 survey on European citizens’ knowledge and attitudes towards science and technology1 found that 86 % of citizens think that science and technology exert an overall positive influence on society. Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of scientific research as a provider of solutions to global challenges, it has also exemplified the capacity of scientific communities to accelerate scientific research cooperation, including through the uptake of the open science movement, characterised by increased free access to scientific publications and underlying data….”

Open Access is necessary but not sufficient to ensure research integrity

This interactive session will explore the central role of open access to publications, data, instruments, protocols, code and/or scripts in fostering a culture of research integrity and public trust in research. Through discussion of contemporary investigations into misconduct, we will consider the interconnectedness of good data practices and open access with principles of research integrity. In particular, we will discuss concrete practices related to project management, data management, and training that enable validation, foster a culture of research integrity, and support greater openness in the conduct of research and dissemination of research outputs.

Scientific Openness and Integrity: Two Decades of Interactive Open Access Publishing and Open Peer Review

“For more than 20 years, the scientific journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) has been a pioneer in open access publishing and public peer review with interactive discussion. All articles published in it are accessible free of charge via the internet. By recording and opening up the peer review process, the interactive open access journals lead to an internet of knowledge or epistemic web that does not only reflect what we know but also how we know it, i.e., how well it has been validated.

The achievements of ACP and further interactive open access sister journals of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) will be celebrated, reflected, and further developed at a special meeting of the ACP editorial board and the EGU publications committee on 19 September 2022 at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (MPIC) in Mainz. The meeting is supported by the open access publisher Copernicus, which operates the journal on behalf of EGU in a not-for-profit manner.

Ensure free speech, critical discussion, and transparency in scientific communication and quality assurance

Since the journal launch in 2001, ACP has grown to become one of the major international journals in atmospheric science, now handling around a thousand submissions per year. ACP’s success was not assured when it launched. Open peer review, in which the reviewer comments, author replies, and additional public comments from the scientific community are published immediately, was radical in 2001. “Our guiding principle was to achieve highest levels of scientific integrity through free speech and transparency in scientific exchange and quality assurance”, says Max Planck Director Ulrich Pöschl, who had initiated ACP.

The interactive open access publishing concept was developed more than 20 years ago by researchers connected through the MPI for Chemistry. “It has been a lot of joy and work to initiate, design, and establish interactive open-access publishing with an equally pleasant and strong team of friends and colleagues, including Paul Crutzen and Arne Richter, who are unfortunately not with us anymore but deserve special thanks for the swift initial gain of momentum”, says Uli Pöschl, who led ACP until recently, chaired the EGU publications committee for many years, and continues to promote open access also through the global initiative OA2020 and related activities.”

Promoting trust in research and researchers: How open science and research integrity are intertwined

Abstract:  Proponents of open science often refer to issues pertaining to research integrity and vice versa. In this commentary, we argue that concepts such as responsible research practices, transparency, and open science are connected to one another, but that they each have a different focus. We argue that responsible research practices focus more on the rigorous conduct of research, transparency focuses predominantly on the complete reporting of research, and open science’s core focus is mostly about dissemination of research. Doing justice to these concepts requires action from researchers and research institutions to make research with integrity possible, easy, normative, and rewarding. For each of these levels from the Center for Open Science pyramid of behaviour change, we provide suggestions on what researchers and research institutions can do to promote a culture of research integrity. We close with a brief reflection on initiatives by other research communities and stakeholders and make a call to those working in the fields of research integrity and open science to pay closer attention to one other’s work.