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Research Integrity

Research integrity means conducting research in a way that is morally and intellectually responsible throughout the research lifecycle

The University's Academic Integrity Statement is as follows:

Me tika.  Me rite.  Me pono.

The University of Waikato is committed to excellence, respect, and honesty in scholarship and to ethical professional conduct. Academic integrity is at the core of this commitment and requires all members of the University community (students, academic and general staff) to uphold academic integrity as a personal, academic, and professional responsibility.

Mā te Tangata!  Mō te Tangata!

Opening statement

Me tika.  Me rite. Me pono.

Translation: “To be correct, to be prepared and to be ethical”

This element was developed to encapsulate integrity and the importance of being ethical. It expresses an underlying discourse of excellence, implying that by enacting these three core values we are demonstrating excellence. The three key terms used within the statement express the concept of academic integrity. They are translated as follows:

  • Tika – just, right and correct
  • Rite – legitimate and the balance of legitimacy. Be together, be ready, be steadfast.
  • Pono – ethical and honest

Closing statement

Mā te Tangata!  Mō te Tangata!

Translation: “It is up to the individual to do it and it is for the people's benefit”

This concluding statement has strong synergy with the University motto ‘Ko Te Tangata - for the people’. It was developed to reinforce that we are all part of the larger collective community which is the University of Waikato. Closing with such a statement is intended to place emphasis on the fact that we all belong to the collective and our individual actions therefore impose and impact on the collective as whole. It indicates that we are responsible not only to ourselves and who we are working with, but also to the University and its communities.

Examples of Research Integrity

Plan and Prepare
Explore and Collect
  • Adhere to your ethics proposal
  • Be as precise as possible
  • If you're planning on sharing your data, make it FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable). Also consider the CARE (collective benefit, authority to control, responsibility and ethics) principles
  • Record and acknowledge ALL sources - including personal communication and social media
Process and Analyse
  • Ensure your data is backed up and secure
  • If you are working with human participants, ensure their privacy
Interpret and Report
  • Use correct referencing conventions
  • Fairly and accurately represent the ideas of others
  • Thoroughly change wording when paraphrasing
  • Convey valid interpretations of your data
  • Convey your results accurately - even if they're negative
  • Provide a full and transparent explanation of your methods and protocols
Publish and Promote
  • Make good publishing choices and consider publishing Open Access where possible
  • Avoid predatory publishers
  • Ensure your intended audience will have access to your research
  • Consider re-writing your research for a lay audience
Impact and Engagement
  • Consider all the impacts of your research - positive and negative
  • Use metrics responsibly
  • Acknowledge co-authors and other stakeholders appropriately
  • Engage in academic critique constructively, for example through PubPeer

Reproducibility

Academia is founded on corroboration; researchers need to be able to verify the results of others. Despite this, a Nature survey carried out in 2016 revealed that more than 70% of researchers had tried and failed to reproduce another scientist's experiments, and more than half had failed to reproduce their own experiments. This has been labeled a reproducibility or replication crisis and has led to widespread concern about quality control in research. The survey participants nominated selective reporting, pressure to publish and low statistical power or pool analysis as the top three factors driving this. For more information on reproducibility, see the Nature collection, Challenges in irreproducible research. The nature of research means that your findings may well become the basis for future investigations, so your work needs to be able to stand up to scrutiny by your peers and other stakeholders.

When problems are identified with published research, articles can be retracted by their publishers. Common reasons for retraction include plagiarism, data fabrication and skewed statistical analysis. Websites such as RetractionWatch provide some insight into retraction activity but most retractions are taken care of at a journal or publisher level. Other retractions, such as the Lancet article linking autism to vaccines are high profile and widely publicised.

The Importance of Referencing

Despite the increasing importance of non-scholarly impact, citations are still heavily relied upon to inform funding and promotion decisions.

Referencing is important for more than just avoiding plagiarism. Using properly formatted references also allows readers of your work to trace your sources and cite these themselves, just the same way you hope they'll cite you. Therefore it's important that you:

  • Provide enough information in your reference that someone could find your source
  • Make it clear in your writing whose ideas are whose
  • Accurately articulate the findings and assertions of others
See also:

Academic Integrity at Waikato

Academic Integrity Moodle Course


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