Development of a Graduate Public Health Online Course in Research Integrity, Transparency, and Reproducibility Catalyst Training ProjectEpidemiology

Dennis M. Gorman

Location: Texas A&M University, USA

There is now a growing recognition within the scientific community that flexibility in study design, data analysis, and the reporting of research findings is increasingly leading to the publication of misleading results that capitalize on chance and cannot be replicated. It has been suggested that the use of such practices, if not made apparent in a manuscript describing the results of a study, is a form of research misconduct. There is little doubt that the widespread use of such practices undermines the integrity of a scientific field as they produce a body of non-reproducible, random findings. Both epidemiology and general public health are among the fields of research in which questions have been raised about research integrity, transparency, and reproducibility.

This course will examine various threats to the integrity of research, the professional and organizational factors that produce these threats, and the solutions that have been suggested to improve research quality (such as registered reports, open data, and team of rivals). Upon completion of the course, students should have the ability to differentiate research that is conducted with integrity and capable of producing valid and reproducible findings from research that is conducted without integrity and produces chance results that are trivial and non-reproducible. Students should also have the ability to incorporate practices into their own research that will increase its transparency and ensure it is conducted with integrity.