Teach integrity and responsibility in research

From left: Zakri, Mary, Asma and YSN President Dr Abhimanyu Veerakumarasivam.

BANDAR SUNWAY: Minister of Higher Education, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, represented by Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching, called for research in Malaysia to be pursued with integrity and responsibility.

He said researchers should adhere to the Malaysian Code of Responsible Conduct in Research which involves awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all scientific research activities in Malaysia.

It also promotes efficient implementation of policies and strategies through transparency and accountability, avoid unacceptable behavior in research and development, and minimise the misuse of funds.

“The Code is important to raise compatibility and reliability of our research efforts and innovation initiatives, and I am glad to report that it has been endorsed under the National Science Council chaired by the Prime Minister”, he said.

Globally, developed countries such as United States have their own code of conduct for responsible research practices and to promote research integrity.

The Minister added that having highly skilled science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talents with the right mindset is an integral component of Malaysia’s transformational progress.

“These talents must not only be knowledgeable, but also have the right ‘soul’ to differentiate right and wrong, to pursue science for improving society well-being and not for personal gain”.

Mary was delivering a speech on behalf of the Higher Education Minister at the launching of Malaysian Educational Module on Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) developed by Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) and Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT).

The Module, the first of its kind in Malaysia, is a reference material to promote awareness, increase knowledge, and enculture scientific integrity and ethics among researchers.

ASM, through its Young Scientists Network (YSN), and AKEPT conducted workshops with more than 1000 Malaysian young scientists since 2013 and found the need to have a structured module to educate and practice responsible science among our researchers.

President of ASM, Prof Datuk Asma Ismail said launching of the Module is a significant statement by the government towards strengthening integrity and accountability in science.

“Responsible practices and ethics must be applied to prevent misuse and abuse of technology in the society. We hope for the RCR Module to be integrated in universities’
curriculum to educate these practices”, she said.

Launching of the Module was held in conjunction with Conference to Promote Safe and Secure Science in the Middle East / North Africa and South / Southeast Asia at
Sunway University.

The conference was organised by ASM and US National Academies of Science, Engineering
and Medicine (NASEM) to discuss best practices in promoting safe and secure science
in the regions.

With a focus on biological science topics, the conference gathers more than 100 subject
matter experts from the three regions plus UK and USA.