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Good practices

Scientific integrity training

The Albert Einstein Israeli Institute for Teaching and Research has strengthened training in good research practices for its graduate students. As the research arm of Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in São Paulo, it is responsible for training resident physicians and students on specialization, master’s, and doctoral courses. At the end of 2019, it created an Office of Scientific Integrity dedicated to promoting awareness of the issue. A pilot program for a group of 20 master’s students offers a class on scientific integrity at the very beginning of their course, examining concepts such as plagiarism, forgery, and fraud, explaining methods for collecting and preserving research data and using statistical tools to interpret them. These concepts are revisited and stimulated when the students present their research projects to the exam board, with the support of their supervisors, and then checked again when they defend their dissertations.

Depending on the results of the pilot, the program may be extended to the institution’s doctoral students. “All interested researchers and students are given access to this content and supervision, even if they’re not participating in the pilot program,” explains immunologist Luiz Vicente Rizzo, head of the institute. “Scientific integrity is linked to research quality. Our goal is to improve the training of our researchers to ensure that they follow ethical standards and produce high-level results,” says Rizzo. The office also plans to launch a set of videos and an e-book on scientific integrity.

Before the office was created, the institute’s Scientific Integrity Committee, formed in 2016, was responsible for overseeing studies carried out by its researchers, teachers, and students, ensuring that they follow good practices and the recommendations of the university’s ethics committee. “We introduced a project management system capable of monitoring research, starting at the data collection stage, and alerting the researchers of any mistakes or misunderstandings,” says anthropologist Anna Davison, the office’s coordinator. “The researcher makes any necessary adjustments or corrections and then sends the project back for evaluation.” In 2020, researchers linked to Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein published 883 scientific papers, including articles, reviews, and studies presented at events.