In June 2020, Senate approved updates to the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Policy. This policy, which is applicable to all staff and students based at or affiliated to UCT, now includes provision for training and education in RCR. Section 4.1 states:
”Ethical and responsible conduct of research is critical for excellence, as well as public trust, in research. Consequently, education in the responsible and ethical conduct of research is considered essential in the preparation of academic, research staff, research ethics committee members and post-graduate students.”
The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) is tasked with developing and delivering appropriate RCR training activities to the UCT research community across a variety of platforms including face-to-face workshops, written communication, online training initiatives and webinars. We have spent the past few years carefully developing a series of online training modules. These modules are currently available only to staff members (T1, T2 and permanent) but, we are working with stakeholders to make the modules available to post-graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and other ‘categories’ of staff who do not currently have access.
Each module consists of online content and a self-contained knowledge check, followed by a final assessment on the Learning Management System. Once you have completed the final assessment (and achieved more than 80%), you will be directed to a course evaluation. A certificate of attendance (for individual modules) will be triggered once the course evaluation has been submitted.
Research Integrity: Introduction to Research Integrity (Module 1)
In this module you will be introduced to the concepts and background of Research Integrity and Research Ethics. You will also be introduced to the broad range of topics covered by Research Integrity, and some of the international and institutional standards and policies which guide and govern practices. We hope you will leave this module with an understanding of why fostering research integrity is beneficial to you personally and to the research enterprise in general.
Research Integrity: Misconduct and Questionable Research Practices (Module 2)
This module outlines practices and policies that govern research misconduct at the institution and internationally. You will be introduced to questionable research practices and be given some tips for avoiding them. We hope you will leave this module understanding why research misconduct and questionable research practices are problematic, how they can impact you personally and professionally, and what this means for research in general.
Research Integrity: Authorship and Publication Practices (Module 3)
In this module, you will be introduced to responsible authorship practices, including some strategies for avoiding authorship disputes. The module will also cover problematic publication practices and tips for avoiding predatory publications. We hope you will leave this module with ideas to tackle authorship conversations, before they turn into problems and strategies for avoiding predatory publications.
Research Integrity: Research Involving Human Participants (Module 4)
Note: Module 4 has 2 learning packages which need to be completed, part 1 and part 2. The learning packages need to be completed sequentially in order to progress to the next step. You may take a break (i.e. log out and return at a later stage) between part 1 and part 2.
Will briefly introduce the concept of research ethics and take you through principles and benchmarks. You will be introduced to ethical violations of the past, role players, informative case studies and, tips to avoid ‘ethics dumping’. We hope you will leave this module with an understanding of the key benchmarks which should be considered when conducting research studies. There is no final assessment associated with Part 1. Once you have completed part 1 you will need to progress to part 2 to complete the module. Part 2 contains a knowledge check which will trigger the final assessment.
This module will introduce you to levels of vulnerability associated with research participants; risk assessments; and international, local and institutional resources. You will leave this module with an understanding of the research ethics landscape and, have an idea of the many topics you need to consider and address in order to be an ethical and responsible researcher.
This module consists of online content and a self-contained knowledge check, followed by a final assessment on the Learning Management System. Once you have completed the assessment (and achieved more than 80%), you will be directed to a course evaluation. Your certificate of attendance will not be issued before the course evaluation has been completed. We will also conduct a 6-month follow-up survey, which will be optional.
Research Integrity: Managing and Sharing Human Research Data (Module 5)
This course comes in 2 parts which must be completed sequentially before the final assessment is unlocked. You may take a break (i.e. log out and return at a later stage) between part 1 and part 2. The intersection of ethics and data sharing is a thread which runs through both parts. The module takes a narrative approach, following the journey of two imaginary researchers who are trying to decide whether it is appropriate to share their data openly while having to balance the values of research integrity and open scholarship.
Considers the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA); UCT's Research Data Management Policy, Data Management Plans (DMPs) and Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs). ** Note: Institutional understanding of and response to POPIA continues to grow and evolve, this module will be updated intermittently to capture this evolved understanding. An FAQ is in development and will be made available soon.
Considers ethical drivers and challenges to open data; data protection, curation, sharing and transfer and concludes the journey of the researchers as the decide: open data, or not?
You will need to obtain 80%+ for the Knowledge Check embedded in Part 2 for the Final Assessment to unlock. In order to complete the module successfully, you will need to obtain 80%+ for the Final Assessment and complete the course evaluation.
The courses have been set up so that you can take each, individually, as your schedule allows. The individual courses will result in a certificate of attendance for each course.
We have also set up an “RCR Programme” on the learning management system, which will result in a certificate of completion, once you have completed all of the courses. The courses can still be taken in any order, and as your schedule allows, however there is a ‘completion time limitation’ of 4 months, meaning that you have 4 months from the time you start the programme in order to complete it.
The modules are currently hosted on HR’s SuccessFactors (SF) Learning Management System. You can access the courses by simply logging in to the platform and searching for them. If you are having any challenges, here is a quick-start guide.
Please remember that, for the moment, only T1, T2 and permanent members of the UCT staff community have access to the courses via SF. We are working on a solution to reach a wider audience.
Our longer-term goal is to offer a blended learning experience to the UCT community, either in the form of face-to-face workshops or webinars, following the completion of the online modules. This would offer faculties, departments or research units the opportunity to:
If your faculty/department/unit is interested in exploring options, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be developing additional modules in the future to cover other topics in RCR:
(This is a dynamic list and may change to meet institutional needs. This list is not given in any particular order)