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Participatory action research in support of research integrity: engaging the parties concerned

Feldmann P., Blangy S., Chevalier J.M.. 2017. In : 5th World conference on research integrity: Abstract book. Amsterdam : WCRI, p. 122-122. World Congress on Research Integrity. 5, 2017-05-28/2017-05-31, Amsterdam (Pays-Bas).

Objective: Given the mixed results obtained from conventional training and educational strategies, a PAR approach is proposed to achieve greater rigor and effectivity in addressing issues of research integrity. Method: This presentation focuses on the development and testing of a PAR methodology to support collaborative thinking and action in the field of research integrity. It has been developed in the context of meetings hosted by the GDR PARCS (Groupement de recherche Participatory Action Research and Citizen Sciences), based in Montpellier, in partnership with a Canadian-based PAR lab known as SAS2 Dialogue. It has been first applied within this network and then further tested with a population of PhD students, from different disciplines and backgrounds, in the course of Agreenium's International Research School. Results: The proposed methodology allowed participants to identify, in less than two hours, the key moral principles usually involved in addressing matters of research integrity, without any prior lecture based on received knowledge in the field, such as the ANR's Policy for ethics and research integrity. Participants also generated and discussed a list of possible misconducts, covering most of those otherwise appearing in the National Charter for Research Integrity. Interestingly, participants raised concerns not always reflected in official documents, as they relate to data theft, access and quality, for instance. The doctoral candidate population insisted on the importance of involving senior researchers in using the proposed methodology to further explore issues of research integrity in their own work. Conclusions: Our approach to research integrity assumes that improvements in this field require the authentic engagement of all those concerned. Our first experiment in using PAR shows highly promising results. Participants quickly identified the moral principles and usual forms of misconduct reported in the literature. The full methodology, to be further tested, invites participants to identify the main drivers or determinants of research integrity and develop appropriate recommendations suited to their context. Further methodological testing is also needed to ensure that the proposed methodology creates safe space for all those involved such that they may engage in group-based ethical discussions constructively.

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