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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 250-258

A proposed research misconduct policy for universities and postgraduate colleges in developing countries

Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Lagos; Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba; Journal Unit, National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, Ijanikin, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Adedoyin Adekunle Adesanya
Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Lagos and Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_51_20

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Research misconduct policy (RMP) is a legal document that shows the definitions of the various types of misconduct, describes the inquiry and investigation of allegations, and the appropriate penalties that should be imposed. The presence of the adopted RMP on the website of a university or postgraduate college is an indication of the level of commitment to promote the proper handling of misconduct cases. Perusal of the websites of top universities in developing countries revealed that many do not have RMP on their websites. The probable starting point for combating research misconduct at the national or institutional level is by acquisition of RMP. The purpose of this article is to propose a modern, structured and cost-effective RMP for universities and postgraduate colleges in developing countries. The bibliographic database, PubMed, was searched using the terms 'research misconduct' and 'research misconduct policy'. All relevant articles from the search and some RMPs of universities, national agencies and global health organisations available on the Internet were carefully studied. A formulated RMP, based on the Final Rule of the United States, Public Health Services Policies on Research Misconduct of 2005 and the Regulations of the University Grants Commission of India of 2018, is hereby presented. In the proposed RMP, plagiarism was stratified into four levels in ascending order of severity so that imposed penalties are commensurate with the seriousness of misconduct. The zero tolerance for plagiarism in the core work areas was adopted. The proposed RMP was designed to act as a template. It should be modified as required based on the prevailing local circumstances and made fit for purpose. Universities, postgraduate colleges and journals should have RMP on the homepage of their websites.

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