The minister says without integrity in scientific research many will question the credibility of the findings.
Some researchers have been accused of faking findings for financial gain.
Falsified or “cooked” data is threatening the
integrity of research into emerging of human and animal diseases.
So as Ugandan researcher venture in COVID-19
research, they are urged to avoid the unethical research normally driven by the search for
personal financial gain instead of a scientific good.
The Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Dr. Monica
Musenero Masazanza says falsified or cooked scientific data risk the integrity
of research being conducted in the country’s universities and research institutions.
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Musenero was the chief guest at the 11th
Annual National Research Ethics Conference (ANREC)organized by Uganda National
Council for Science and Technology (UNCST)
The conference under the theme “Fostering Research Integrity and Promoting Responsible
Conduct of Research in Uganda and the Region” had over one hundred participants
from Universities, teaching hospitals and research institutions.
Participants are expected over the next two
days to share ideas on how to integrate ethics in the design and implementation
of research projects.
The keynote address to the conference was
delivered by Dr. Gowri Gopalakrishna, an epidemiologist at the Free University
Dr. Gowri is also the Co-author of the just
published Dutch Study which estimated that 8% of scientists who participated in
an anonymous survey of research practices at Dutch universities confessed to falsifying
and or fabricating data at least once between 2017 and 2020.
The study found that more than 10% of medical
and life-science researchers admitted to committing this type of fraud.
More than half (51%) of respondents to the
Dutch survey also reported frequently engaging in at least one of 11
‘questionable research practices’ (QRPs), which include using inadequate
research designs or deliberately judging manuscripts or grant proposals
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She says many scientist were flouting the integrity requirements due to publication pressure.
QRPs are considered lesser evils
than outright research
misconduct, which includes plagiarism and data falsification or fabrication.
According to Musenero, some of the products
that have come up on the market end up endangering the consumer because of
falsified and fabricated data.
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Meanwhile, Dr. George Byaruhanga-Bazirake,
the former Dean of Faculty Of Science at Kyambogo University revealed that most
Universities in Uganda don’t have ethics committees so studies tend to be
Byaruhanga-Bazirake decried the fact that Scientists
in Uganda still operate with very low funding mostly from donors.
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out of Uganda have shown that low domestic financing for health research is a
persistent problem in Africa.
In the Algiers Declaration of 2008, African
governments committed to investing at least 2% of their health budgets in
health research but many including Uganda have not.
According to the Uganda
National Council For Science and Technology, the COVID-19 pandemic had profound
impact on the research enterprise and presented
dire ethical challenges in the face of significant risks.