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Indian Researchers Want Mandatory Integrity Training For Postgraduates: Survey

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Sixty-two per cent of Indian researchers want mandatory research integrity training for postgraduate students, a new survey has revealed. The survey, conducted by Springer Nature, the National Academy of Sciences, and CSIR – National Physical Laboratory, is the first in India.

Conducted between July and October 2023, as part of Springer Nature’s global commitment to good practices, the survey assessed training needs in research integrity. Over 600 responses from top Indian institutions were analysed, targeting institutional management and researchers. It covered research integrity, statistics, data management, data sharing, and mentorship training.

Major findings:

At least 85% of respondents associated research integrity with positive traits like honesty, ethics, trustworthiness, and accuracy, similar to findings by the UK and US.About 53% stated their institution offers research integrity training. However, only about 67% (two-thirds) of these researchers said this training is mandatory. Among students, 70% of postgraduate students receive mandatory training, compared to only 30% of undergraduates.Indian training programmes focus on basic elements like the importance of research integrity, authorship guidance, and ethics approval. Researchers in the UK, US, and Australia, however, prioritise data-related training.Around 80% of respondents felt they could provide feedback on training materials, but only 9% thought their feedback was reviewed and implemented. Moreover, 75% of science, technology, and medicine (STM) researchers believe trainers in India do not receive enough feedback on the quality of research.Sixty-four per cent of respondents reported that their training was mandatory. There is broad agreement that research integrity training should be mandatory at some stage in a researcher’s career.

Indian researchers have also called for more training in research integrity, authorship, statistical issues, reproducibility, and ethics approval, which is in contrast with the US, UK, and Australia’s focus on training in research data management and sharing.

Director of Research Environment Alliances at Springer Nature, Dr Ed Gerstner, shared encouraging insights from the survey. He said that over half of the respondents reported that their institutions provide training in research integrity, calling it a “no small feat for a country that is the third largest producer of scientific research globally today, behind only China and the US.”

 Sixty-two per cent of Indian researchers want mandatory research integrity training for postgraduate students, a new survey has revealed.    

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