Research Integrity: Publication Ethics

Nature Masterclasses Research Integrity Publishing Ethics

Research integrity is a red-hot topic right now in the scientific community, and for good reason. Scientific misconduct has the potential to cause harm, even if unintentional. And unfortunately it’s all too easy for researchers with good intentions to find themselves guilty of misconduct due to a lack of awareness of good practice and professional standards.

Time invested in learning about publication ethics now will save you so much time in getting your research published quickly and will also help you to avoid being falsely accused of misconduct in the future.” Jigisha Patel, Founder, Jigisha Patel Research Integrity

The scale of the problem…

In 2002, 119 papers were retracted across the scientific literature, according to Retraction Watch. Twenty years on, this figure has leapt to an astonishing 4,600.

Every effort must be made to ensure scientific research is rigorous, reproducible and responsible.

…and the consequences for researchers

Research published today becomes the building blocks of research tomorrow. For your research to make a real contribution to the scientific record, other researchers need to trust your findings. So it’s vital to ensure your research is published to the highest ethical standards.

Not following ethical standards might result in longer publication times as you will be asked to make corrections before publication. In rare cases you might even have to correct or retract your paper after publication, which is time-intensive work and could potentially affect your career. So it makes sense to invest the time before writing, ensuring you’re aware of publication ethics from the start.

Free training on crucial skills - giving back to the research community

Nature Masterclasses is offering an on-demand course to raise awareness of good practice in publication ethics and give researchers in the natural sciences the tools they need to publish with confidence. Research Integrity: Publication Ethics is free for all to access, fostering an environment of trust within the scientific community and promoting good science.

Acknowledging the urgent need for structured guidance on publication ethics, Nature Portfolio undertook a survey to identify the most important requirements for researchers. Unsurprisingly, 96% of respondents rated the skills required to publish a paper ethically as important. Underpinning the need for training, only 29% found this task challenging, implying a potential lack of awareness of the complexities involved, which might lead to unintended errors.

The course content for Research Integrity: Publication Ethics was drawn up in the light of detailed feedback from the survey. The three main challenges identified by researchers were challenging seniority when deciding authorship (28%), ensuring the maintenance of research integrity (26%) and making raw data available (26%). Survey respondents placed emphasis on ensuring figures show full data, choosing a reputable journal, and acknowledging all contributors.

“A lot of common mistakes that happen at publication stage arise because many researchers aren’t aware of ethical standards. This course addresses all these gaps, it really gives very practical advice to researchers.” Tamara Welschot, Head of Research Integrity, Prevention, Springer Nature

The ultimate toolbox on publication ethics, for all career stages

This free course equips researchers with the necessary skills and practical strategies to navigate the process of publishing with integrity, and ultimately to publish with confidence. Whether you’re starting out in research or have years of experience, the guidance offered here will refresh your memory and ensure you avoid making vital errors.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Identify a reputable journal
  • Ensure image and data integrity
  • Re-use materials with appropriate permissions (copyright vs. open-access)
  • Handle authorship, authorship order and authorship disputes
  • Declare conflicts of interest
  • Navigate peer-review misconduct and post-submission changes to a manuscript.

Developed to international standards with expert insights

A panel of leading international experts on research integrity and publication ethics contributed their insights to develop this course for the benefit of the research community:

  • Grace Fisher-Adams, Chief Research Policy Officer, CalTech 
  • Christina Kary, Chief Editor, Nature Cell Biology 
  • Jigisha Patel, founder, Jigisha Patel Research Integrity, former Head of Programme Management, Research Integrity, Springer Nature - Elected Council Member, Committee on Publication Ethics council 
  • Tamara Welschot, Head of Research Integrity, Prevention, Springer Nature

Video interviews with further expert contributors offer additional insights: 

Key course features

Three course modules cover preparing to publish, drafting your manuscript and handling post-submission challenges. These are split into bite-sized lessons, with a course certificate on completion. Free, on-demand access allows researchers to visit the eight hours of self-study as and when it suits them, without interfering with their work commitments.

Practical advice includes real-life examples, case studies and troubleshooting tips, while

interactive activities help consolidate learning. The course also offers downloadable resources such as checklists and summaries of critical topics, for easy reference.

Supporting researchers throughout the research lifecycle

Research Integrity: Publication Ethics is an in-depth masterclass focusing on publication ethics complementing Springer Nature’s shorter, introductory companion course Research Integrity Course: an Introduction for Researchers.

Nature Masterclasses skills and training offers researchers the confidence that their work will achieve the impact it deserves, making a valuable and lasting contribution to the scientific record.

Research Integrity Publishing Ethics