Research Integrity in Medical Student Curricula

Our society is evolving fast and scientific research plays a major role in that process. To make sure we continue advancing, we need a stable basis. This can only be achieved when research results are reliable. However, as we see an increase in retractions of publications, conducting research on an genuine base is not as obvious as it seems. The worst part of the spectrum of research integrity is fraud, falsification and plagiarism and people conducting research on such a way are often aware of their cheating. However, there are a lot of questionable research practices, that are not so evident to classify as cheating or acceptable behavior.

Education on conducting genuine research plays a major role in gaining understanding about what is research integrity and which research practices are not allowed. This education is lacking in a lot of medical curricula worldwide, but the overall state of the problem was never investigated. Therefore, the Small Working Group on Medical Science & Research is conducting a study to assess the current status of research within the medical curriculum in universities worldwide.

Hence, we kindly invite you to fill our survey, in order to improve medical education worldwide and as such the reliability of research. We will be very thankful if you would also spread our word within your country, making the results of our survey more profound.

The IFMSA recognizes the importance of Research skills within the Federation and our NMOs, both for our medical studies and for our future career of physicians. Research is indeed a fundamental component of Medicine and impacts our studies, our discoveries and our patients. Unfortunately, many universities fail to offer a proper training related to methodology and integrity. A call to action is paramount as we witness a rising number of research misconduct worldwide. Within the federation it is not only useful as baseline for research exchanges but it plays a role in all of the Standing Committees.

This is the reason why we have decided to design a study in order to assess the current status of research within the Medical Curriculum in universities covered by National Member Organizations (NMO). This will allow us to draw conclusions about the overall state of the problem. We encourage you to take part in the study, this is the link of the survey:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Ga7gYKzh-GzuFaSvNWmB9xIg0fQfR8MOg7BVnvX12VM/viewform

You can also take active part spreading it in your NMO and organize related sessions to discuss this issue during your local or national meetings.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at lorma@ifmsa.org if you have questions regarding our study.

Entry written by Koen Demaegd (SCORE Development Assistant on Academic Quality and Recognition) and Ivana Di Salvo (IFMSA Liaison Officer for Research and Medical Associations). 

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