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Research Integrity is becoming increasingly important throughout the scientific community. Issues covered by this all-encompassing term can include good data management and security, use of appropriate research methodology, analysis of data based on sound theoretical foundations and correct use of statistics. Ethical issues such as publication authorship, intellectual property rights, conflict of interest and research misconduct including plagiarism, fabrication and falsification of data are also covered.
One of the most significant types of research misconduct is that of scientific fraud. Many well-publicised cases have been reported over the years, most notably in the bioscience, and health/life science fields. Several historical examples are presented which illustrate the nature of such transgressions. A variety of causes have been identified, the misconduct most often being uncovered at a later stage after the findings have been disseminated. Surprisingly much of the research work conducted in some of these areas has proven difficult to replicate resulting in demands for a re-evaluation of all original data leading to the call for open access to all data (Open Science). Although few cases have been reported in the corrosion science area, it has not proven entirely immune from this problem. Some examples reported in the open literature in corrosion science and engineering are presented which illustrate that it is not immune to research misconduct.
As scientists and engineers it behooves us to recognize that rigorous standards of ethical behaviour are always required in the conduct of research. However many of the pressures that corrosion researchers face are similar to those of other scientists, particularly research funding and career advancement. Sometimes this can compromise ethics concerning research in the field with damaging consequences to both the individual involved and the institution’s reputations. Sound experimental design with evidence of repeatability of results, high quality journal paper peer-review and editorial processes and verification practices and the need to carefully balance research/scientific needs versus those of industry and commercial enterprises are some of the most important issues of concern.
Betts, A., Green, T. (2017). Research integrity in corrosion. In Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Australasian Corrosion Association, 2017, Sydney, Australia, 12-15 November, 2017. isbn: 978-1-5108-5699-8