We sought to examine the levels of awareness, preferences, experiences, and practices of researchers in the health and life sciences regarding research and publication ethics.
A questionnaire was deployed on the Google Forms to a global audience. Reminder emails and WhatsApp messages containing a brief description and a link to the online survey were sent out through the various platforms until no new responses were received after three reminders.
Only 36.7% of study participants were aware of the ICMJE authorship criteria. Less than a quarter (22.0%) of the respondents were aware about the existence of an ethics code. Respondents’ experience with their most recent ethics approval application was poor (11.4%), good (36.0%), and excellent (4.2%) respectively. The practice of research teams to include authors with no or limited significant contribution to an article was frequent (44.3%), common (29.5%), systematic (10.6%). Over 41.7% of the respondents had ever conducted a study involving human research subjects without prior ethical approval. Respondents experience with their most recent ethics approval application was poor (11.4%), good (36.0%), and excellent (4.2%) respectively. Major challenges in obtaining ethical approval were: too much bureaucracy (47.3%), ethical approval application cost (5.3%), and unduly long review turnaround in receiving feedback and decisions (3.8%). Most respondents (83.0%) worked in institutions that hosted a research an ethics committee. Less than half (42.4%) of the respondents had been formerly trained in publication ethics.
Ethical misconduct such as having no ethical approval prior to conducting a study, gift and ghost authorships were unacceptably high. Formal training in research and publication ethics should be institutionalized in the courses in universities and research institutions. Academic journals and funders have the duty to support researchers to uphold research ethics and research integrity standards. Institutionalization and awareness raising regarding these best practices are highly needed.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Ethics, Knowledge, Practices, Publication, Research