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Expanding concepts

Reflecting systematically on research responsibility is a recent phenomenon in terms of the history of science. It was only at the end of the twentieth century that organized efforts to understand the problem of scientific misconduct began, focusing mainly on plagiarism, fraud, and unethical conduct in experiments on human beings, as well as on how these issues manifest in different fields. The agenda has evolved towards transparent systems capable of adequately addressing these problems, with an emphasis on the responsibilities of the individuals involved in the research environment.

The growing field of scientific integrity encompasses issues such as the reproducibility of research results, the rewards system for researchers, and the advancement of open access to scientific publications and the implications for all parties involved.

A new topic of analysis relates to collaborations between developed and developing nations that can result in misconduct. Examples include removing artifacts, such as fossils, to study them without the participation of local communities and collecting human samples for clinical trials without establishing respectful partnerships with peers.

The subject was the theme of the 7th World Conference on Research Integrity, held in Cape Town, South Africa, at the end of May, which highlighted the importance of promoting more equitable, balanced, and diverse international collaborations. This issue’s cover story discusses this type of misconduct and reconstructs the topic’s evolution since the 1st World Conference on Research Integrity was held in 2007 (page 24).

As the Brazilian elections approach, incentives to spread disinformation about the voting process are increasing. One recurring target is the equipment used to record and count votes: the electronic ballot box. Developed in Brazil 26 years ago at the request of the country’s Superior Electoral Court, the device, which is subject to external tests before every election, has helped create a robust and efficient electoral system. We spoke to Osvaldo Catsumi Imamura, an engineer who was part of the team behind the first electronic voting machine as the main person responsible for its security system, about the development process and what makes it so reliable (page 72).

To mark 200 years since the Independence of Brazil, this issue provides an insight into the Brasilianas. Originally defined as collections of works about Brazil from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, the concept is once more under discussion. Researchers argue that to contribute to efforts to understand the country, Brasilianas should be expanded to also encompass collections of documents related to these works and Brazilian culture in general, as well as indigenous records and literature (page 76).

In another article on the theme, we present studies on female involvement in Brazil’s independence process, exemplified by political manifestos and participation in revolutions, taking care of fighters and even fighting on the front line, as was the case with Maria Quitéria, whose name was later given to a central street in the Ipanema neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. During the nineteenth century, her image was cultivated as a heroine in the War for Independence (page 86).