U21 Workshop on Dealing with Research Misconduct

A two-day “U21 Workshop on Dealing with Research Misconduct” was hosted by HKU on December 10–11, 2012. The first day was a closed-door discussion for invited Universitas 21 (U21) representatives, during which research integrity (RI) policy, processes, and promotion were considered.

The second day was open to staff and students from U21 institutions, and invited participants from local universities, government agencies and funding organisations. More than 100 people, including 19 delegates from 12 U21 member institutions, were welcomed to the event by Professor Lap-Chee Tsui, HKU Vice-Chancellor and President.

Professor Nicholas H. Steneck of the University of Michigan was the opening speaker, providing a general overview of the RI issues currently facing universities. Amongst many other achievements, Professor Steneck authored the ORI Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research, initiated and co-chaired the First World Conference on Research Integrity, and co-chaired the Second World Conference. He emphasised that evaluating the research climate, the public's expectations, as well as the impacts and consequences of research misconduct was extremely important, as it could help universities to realistically address problems, to effectively formulate policies and regulations, and to implement RI education and thus to successfully root RI in institutional culture. His speech was followed by a Q&A session chaired by Professor Frederick Leung, HKU Director of Education and Development for Research Integrity.

The ‘thresholds’ of what can and cannot be tolerated and preventive systems were then considered by Professor Des Fitzgerald of University College Dublin, Republic of Ireland. RI for research students was the focus of the pre-lunch session. Two HKU research students—Miss Jessica Peng from Dentistry and Miss Norma Wong from Social Sciences—offered their perspectives. This was followed by experience sharing from two academics: Professor Dick Strugnell of the University of Melbourne, Australia, and Dr Margaret Dowens of the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China. An open discussion was then held on existing initiatives to raise research students’ awareness of RI.

Attention shifted to policy makers in the afternoon, with Dr Ping Sun of the Office of Research Integrity, Ministry of Science and Technology of China considering RI from this perspective.

The workshop finished with a discussion, led by Dr Paul Taylor of the University of Melbourne, to explore how members could work towards a shared U21 approach to RI, including in education and training and handling misconduct investigations.

At the close, Professor Paul Tam, Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at HKU, thanked participants for contributing their experience and expertise to this important dialogue on conducting research responsibly.

U21 (Universitas 21), established in 1997, is a global network of 24 research universities. HKU joined U21 in 1997. The other member institutions are from Asia; Australia and New Zealand; Europe; and North, Central and South America.


Find out more


Invited speakers and representatives from participating U21 member institutions

Professor Nicholas H. Steneck speaks on research integrity issues facing universities today