Research Integrity Office
While the SickKids Research Institute (RI) grows and diversifies, integrity in research continues to be a focus. The SickKids Research Integrity Office (RIO) actively promotes the Hospital’s longstanding culture of research integrity, assisting the Chief of Research and the RI’s Senior Management Team in providing integrity education and resources to the organization.
The Research Integrity Advisor oversees inquiries and investigations, including appointing expert members to inquiry and investigation committees.
The Research Integrity Office aligns with the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research, which outlines the policies and requirements related to grant application and management process, performing research, and disseminating results, as well as the processes that institutions must follow if there’s a breach in of one of the Tri-Councils’ policies.
Complaints and inquiries of responsible conduct of research
The SickKids Research Integrity Advisor (RIA) accepts and acts on all expressions of concern about a potential emerging breach and on allegations of an actual breach of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). An initial verbal conversation is encouraged with the Complainant to determine whether mediation with the Respondent can solve the issue (for example, with manuscripts prior to final acceptance, or grant applications prior to submission). This proactive approach routinely resolves such expressions of concern without proceeding to an Inquiry.
If the potential breach is already in the research record, then the verbal conversation with the Complainant helps to define the specific breach, and explains the requirement for facts as evidence for the breach. When the Complainant chooses to submit a written allegation supported by facts, an Inquiry is automatically triggered that follows the process described in the TriAgency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research.
The Inquirer must have no conflicts of interest, and is usually the RIA or a delegate with more field-specific expertise. The Inquirer will evaluate the supporting facts and seek additional information and explanations from the Respondent and Complainant. The Inquiry Report outlines for the Chief of Research whether a breach is found and recommends potential recourse and mitigation measures, or the need for an Investigation. The Chief’s recourse decision is confidential. The Table below lists all Inquiries performed over three-year periods in an effort to protect the privacy of all those involved.
Complaints Received and Inquiries Conducted
|Cases with Confirmed RCR Breaches
|Nature of the RCR Breaches
|Research approvals (REB), record keeping
|Lack of rigour, record keeping
Authorship, research approvals (REB, TCPS2)Research approvals (REB, TCPS2)
Research Data Management
The SickKids Institutional Research Data Management (RDM) strategy outlines our commitment to fostering sound RDM practices and supporting researchers in following the FAIR principles to make data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.