8. Avoiding scientific misconduct

Scientific misconduct, authorship and conflict of interest

Learning outcomes:
➔ Describe the purpose of and criteria for authorship
➔ Explain how disputes over authorship might be prevented and/or resolved
➔ Define conflicts of interest
➔ Discuss how failure of reproducibility may indicate scientific misconduct
➔ Discuss how research misconduct may introduce bias into the research findings.

Reporting conflicts of interest

Learning outcomes:
➔ Why it is necessary to declare conflicts of interest (COI)
➔ Definitions of COI
➔ Potential COI in health services research
➔ Potential COI in industry-sponsored research
➔ Public reporting of industry payments to health professionals
➔ Handling COI for other types of journal article
➔ Potential COI for editors, journals, and publishers.

Journal rules on authorship

Learning outcomes:
➔ Authorship: how it is defined, and why it matters
➔ How MEDLINE and journals list authors
➔ Journal policies and practices to safeguard authorship
➔ Guest, gift, and ghost authors and other authorship problems
➔ Attribution for shared datasets.

How and why to avoid plagiarism

Learning outcomes:
➔ How plagiarism and text recycling are defined
➔ How common plagiarism is
➔ Factors associated with plagiarism
➔ Use of plagiarism detection tools by publishers
➔ How to avoid plagiarism and how to respond if caught.

How journals uncover scientific fraud

Learning outcomes:
➔ Scientific fraud as data fabrication and deliberate falsification
➔ The extent and harms of scientific fraud
➔ Techniques journals may use to uncover fraud: statistical analysis, mage checking, linguistic analysis, investigative journalism, peer review (pre- and post-publication), data sharing.
➔ Barriers to tackling fraud
➔ Principles of research integrity.

How journals act on scientific misconduct

Learning outcomes:
➔ How and why journals respond to suspected misconduct that relates to submitted and published articles
➔ The role of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)
➔ The roles of authors’ institutions and research integrity organisations in investigating possible misconduct
➔ Reasons for, and impacts of, retractions in biomedical and health research
➔ How MEDLINE corrects the literature.