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Perception and reaction of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) researchers to different forms of research integrity education modality

BMC Med Ethics. 2022 Aug 24;23(1):85. doi: 10.1186/s12910-022-00824-6.


BACKGROUND: Research and academic institutions use various delivery channels to deliver Research Integrity (RI) education in their communities. Yet there is no consensus on the best delivery method and the effectiveness of these channels in inculcating a positive RI culture varies across institutions. Hence, this study aimed to understand the preferences of the research community in Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

METHODS: An online survey was conducted on NTU research community to understand their experience with, and preference for each RI education mode offered in NTU. The RI education modes surveyed in the general ranking question are Data Management Plan (DMP) workshops, Epigeum e-Learning, Compass e-newsletter (email), and NTU policy on Research Integrity and Responsible Conduct of Research. There were 242 responses, comprising 50% research students, 32.2% research staff and 17.8% faculty members. Non-parametric statistical techniques were used to analyse preferences across different RI education modes and within sub-groups (i.e., fields, age, native language, roles in research community).

RESULTS: More than 92% of respondents subscribed to the importance of RI education, but with different preferences for education modes. With respect to RI education in NTU, Compass e-newsletters were ranked the lowest (p < 0.05). Most felt that they were too wordy and unengaging, making it difficult to absorb information. Similarly, Epigeum e-Learning (p < 0.05) and ‘policy’ (p < 0.05) were found to be too lengthy in presentation. The compulsory NTU RI education modes (Epigeum e-learning and ‘policy’) enjoyed higher participation rates of 70-80% compared with 32-37% for the self-regulated modes (DMP workshop and e-newsletter). This suggests that regulatory mechanisms are still necessary to promote participation in RI education, and thus, core RI education content should be made compulsory in research/academic institutions. Although Epigeum is a compulsory course, some may not have participated in the programme due to technical issues or they might have forgotten to participate in the programme within the permissible timeframe. For all four RI education modes in NTU, the lack of awareness was among the top cited reasons for not participating.

CONCLUSIONS: Most NTU researchers perceived RI education positively although they may have reservations for some approaches. Conversely, e-Learning is favored over all the other modes except for the mode of Policy. Findings from this study are useful for improving the design of RI education strategies to be more appealing to the research community by enhancing user experience in terms of user-friendliness, relevance to specialisation, providing concise information and better presentation of materials For institutions with similar modes of RI education as NTU, these results may be relevant in improving participation rates and presentation of RI education modes, such as the use of infographics and more concise information.

PMID:36002817 | DOI:10.1186/s12910-022-00824-6

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