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The term “research integrity” generally refers to the following types of research practices: using scientific rigor, recognizing collaborators’ and students’ contributions, obtaining authors’ permission before using new information, revealing material conflicts of interest, and exercising prudence in managing research funds. Research misconduct includes the failure to follow any of these best practices.1
In 2008, the Minister of Industry requested that the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), with the participation of the Association of Universities and College of Canada (AUCC), review the integrity policy framework under the Memorandum of Understanding on the Roles and Responsibilities in the Management of Federal Grants and Awards. The review looked at which aspects of the framework were appropriate and sufficient, and which were not. This included identifying the short-term and long-term measures needed to improve the policy framework, its implementation and transparency. Short-term measures have been completed and have focused on improving the implementation of the existing policy framework. Long-term measures include the revision and strengthening of the policy framework. CIHR provided input on the draft report and is participating in the implementation of an action plan based on the report. CIHR’s participation is essential, as the policy framework is shared by the three agencies.
As part of the overall strategy for the research integrity review, it was decided to form an external advisory group to provide advice to the agencies on recommended changes to research integrity policy documents and operational procedures. This document sets out the terms of reference for the external RIAG.
The RIAG includes six members and a Chair appointed by the executive vice-presidents of CIHR and SSHRC, and the Vice-President of Research Grants and Scholarships at NSERC. Members are drawn from among the following categories of stakeholders—vice-presidents of research and academic, the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics, and international experts in research integrity.
One year starting September 1, 2010.
It is expected that RIAG will meet several times during 2010 and 2011. The inaugural meeting will be held in Ottawa in the fall of 2010. Subsequent meetings will take place via teleconference. If travel and accommodation expenses are required for RIAG members, they will be reimbursed.
The Chair of RIAG will report the group’s advice to the committee of the executive vice-presidents of CIHR and SSHRC and the Vice-President of Research Grants and Scholarships of NSERC, or their designates.
The mandate of the RIAG is to provide advice to NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR on the improvement of research integrity policies and associated procedures.
The RIAG will provide advice on:
1The Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) Panel on Integrity has been charged with developing advice on, “What are the key research integrity principles, procedural mechanisms, and practices, appropriate in the Canadian context that could be applied across research disciplines at institutions receiving funds from the federal granting councils?” The panel has also been tasked with developing a definition for research integrity in Canada, and this advice will be available in October 2010.