Report by Sue O’Brien:

I recently was very fortunate to attend the third Asia Pacific Research Integrity Network meeting in Taipei hosted by the University System of Taiwan (UST).  This meeting was held for the first time in San Diego in 2016 with around 80 attendees. It was very pleasing to see the numbers expanding to approximately 170 delegates representing the majority of countries in the Asia Pacific.

The APRI Network arose out of the first meeting in San Diego, with the assistance of funding from the US National Institutes of Health, to further multi-national awareness, understanding and opportunities for collaboration by researchers in the Asia Pacific for the promotion of research integrity in the region. The intention is for APRI to be a true network rather than a purely scholarly endeavour. Its aim is to foster communication, sharing of resources and identifying opportunities for collaboration in developing educational resources and mechanisms to create environments which strongly support the good conduct of research and in which it would be difficult for research misconduct to occur.

UST coordinated an extremely well run meeting consisting of a mix of plenary speakers  from the region focussing on best practice in responsible conduct of research, short oral presentations and three breakout/discussion sessions which then reported back to the whole meeting to ensure broad sharing of outcomes. I was fortunate to have been invited to Chair an oral presentation session and two of the break out sessions – this is a great way to strengthen my and UQ’s connections to this young and energetic network. Two presentations stood out for me. Professor Chien Chou, Director of Academic Ethics and Research Integrity at National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan gave an impressive presentation of the very comprehensive research integrity program developed under her leadership for systematic education of all researchers from undergraduate to working academics in Taiwan. The program consists of interactive, scenario online modules in both Mandarin and English which can also be used for face to face discussion. Australia could well benefit from the development of a similar program rather than relying upon the import of products from the UK or the US.  Professor Ginny Barbour, Director of the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group and Advisor to the Office of Research Integrity and Ethics at QUT, spoke to the importance of developing a positive culture of online commentary and critique of research that promotes proper discussion of research outcomes rather than a negative, anonymous culture which has unfortunately arisen in spheres such as PubPeer.

The conference ‘excursion’ was to the wonderful National Palace Museum which holds the most exquisite Chinese artworks from the past 1000 years – all ‘escorted’ to Taiwan by Chiang Kai-Shek after China fell to communism. But that is another story.