Inter- American Encounter on Scientific Integrity

Sponsored by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity, Grant # 1 ORIIR160022-01-00 (period of perfomance from September 2016 to October 2017)

The overarching goal of this initiative supported by a U.S. Office of Research Integrity grant, was to foster a culture of research integrity in academic research institutions in Mexico through a conference entitled Inter-American Encounter on Scientific Integrity, co-hosted by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City, Mexico.

The grant’s Principal Investigator, Sergio Litewka, MD, and Study Coordinator, Elizabeth Heitman, PhD, organized a 20-member working group of researchers, educators, and administrators from UNAM and several other Mexican universities, to plan the meeting and undertake post-conference activities in research integrity.  In late Fall 2016, the members of the working group, together with fourteen other senior academics and university officials who expressed interest in the conference, were invited to respond to a brief anonymous planning questionnaire, approved by the University of Miami’s IRB, that sought to identify key topics for discussion at the conference.  The questionnaire was intended both to provide an inventory of available institutional resources across the universities involved in the project and to set the tone for an in-person planning meeting at which the larger conference agenda would be developed.

The planning meeting took place on March 1st 2017 at UNAM’s Graduate School.  Following an introductory presentation by Dr. Mark Frankel, former Director of the AAAS Program on Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law, and a report on the results of the planning questionnaire, the participants discussed a number of issues in research integrity as they affect Mexican universities.

There was a general agreement among the meeting’s participants that a successful conference and overall approach to promoting research integrity should address policies, infrastructure, and education.  Of these three elements, the group emphasized the need to focus on institutional policies relevant to research integrity.  The meeting participants determined that a conference date in late April or early May would fit within the academic calendar, and eight of the working group members agreed to be speakers on specific topics during that conference.

The formal conference “Integridad y Política Científica: Un Problema de Interés Global (“Integrity and Science Policy: A Problem of Global Interest”) was held on May 3rd  2017 at UNAM’s Institute for Biomedical Research in Mexico City.  70 participants from UNAM, nine other academic institutions, and three governmental agencies attended the conference, together with twelve presenters from Mexican nationwide universities, research funding agencies and scholars on scientific integrity.

Click here for the Final Report | Final Report Annex

The main topics addressed and their presenters:

Integridad Científica en la UNAM: Nuestra Experiencia.
Scientific Integrity at UNAM: Our Experience.
Dra. Patricia Ostrosky Shejet, Universidad Nacional de México.

El Sistema Nacional de Investigadores del CONACyT. Contexto y Experiencias con Casos de Deshonestidad Académica.
CONACyT’s National Researchers System. Context and Experience with Cases of Academic Dishonesty.
Dr. Luis Godínez, Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).

El Principio de Precaución y el Bien Común en Investigaciones Científicas.
The Precautionary Principle and the Common Good in Scientific Research.
Martha Tarasco, Universidad Anáhuac.

Análisis de Resultados de la Encuesta sobre la Existencia de Herramientas para Promover la Integridad Científica en el ámbito Académico.
Analysis of the Results of the Questionnaire on Tools to Promote Scientific Integrity in the Academic Environment.
Dra. Elizabeth Heitman. Program in Ethics in Science and Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Gobernanza, Políticas Públicas e Integridad Científica.
Governance, Public Policy, and Scientific Integrity.
Dr. Bernardo García Camino, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro.

Del Código Ético del Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, hacia un Código Ético para el Posgrado de la UNAM.
From the Code of Ethics at the Institute of Biomedical Research towards a Code of Ethics for the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Dr. Juan Pedro Laclette, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, UNAM.

Políticas institucionales sobre conflictos de Interés financiero y de compromiso
Institutional Policies on Financial Conflicts of Interest and Conflicts of Commitment
Dr. Sergio Litewka, Universidad de Miami.

Science, Research Ethics and Policy The Roles and Responsibilities of Key Actors
Dr. Mark S. Frankel, American Association for the Advancement of Science