At the request of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education’s Research and Development Office (RDO), RCP developed a new short course for early-career scientists on research ethics for international collaboration. The course competencies focus on expectations of professional ethics in STEM fields and strategies to uphold ethical standards in the areas of research misconduct (fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism), data integrity, authorship of publications and proposals, conflicts of interest, mentoring, and issues arising in research collaborations. The course was presented through hands-on learning: working group review and guided discussion of case studies that identify potential challenges, decision points, roles, responsibilities, grey areas, and real-world implications. The course provides resources to aid researchers in avoiding, responding to, and resolving ethical conflicts.
The two-day course was held in Riyadh and Jeddah during the week of 9 December 2018. Three Ph.D. scientists from RCP traveled to Saudi Arabia to implement the course in both cities, training more than 120 advanced graduate students and early-career faculty from nearly a dozen Saudi Arabian universities. Prior to implementing the course, RCP collected baseline data from the course participants. These data will be used to measure long-term impacts in 2019, including ethics policy development, change in attitude and awareness, and transfer of knowledge to other colleagues.