Protecting research integrity: change or the same old ARIC

An “evaluation”  of the Australian Research Integrity Committee is due to complete this month – some researchers want ARIC beefed up, others want an independent investigation agency instead and some don’t know what Aric does

ARIC has a less Himalayan than horizontal profile but even so, in its time has, attracted unkind comments in the research community. Back in 2013 there were arguments whether an independent office investigating research misconduct allegations would be better than ARIC looking at how institutions dealt with them (CMM August 19 2013).

Things stayed much the same (CMM March 6 2017), over the next few years with ARIC investigating how institutions, investigated and managed alleged research integrity breaches, and took corrective action as required

A national research integrity office is not mentioned in the topics of the present evaluation of ARIC – which focus on process, standing and take-up of recommendations and whether “ARIC‘s existence and role are known and understood by relevant stakeholders” –

However there is room to raise one in some of the references;

“the relevance of ARIC’s advice to the respective CEOs, including its suggested recommendations to institutions”


“institutions’ compliance and cooperation on reviews and the extent to which ARIC’s recommendations are acted on when communicated to institutions”

The review was also charged with looking at, “research integrity arrangements in other countries.”

Any choice for change will not be universally applauded.

As UNSW’s Nicholas Fisk points out, it has become a “doves versus hawks issue,” between advocates of a “tightened institution al hygiene model” and an independent regulator (CMM HERE).