African Journal of Inter-Multidisciplinary Studies (Dec 2021)
Fostering Research Integrity in African Higher Education Institutions
African higher education institutions (HEIs) have been considering changing in the last twenty years. The realisation of knowledge synthesis as a critical driver for social-economic development, has led to countries promoting research in universities and related institutions of higher learning towards a knowledge-based economy. However, the increasing emphasis on HEIs' research productivity has raised questions of whether or not the parties involved in funding, conception, conducting, and review/reporting are upholding responsible conduct of research (RCR). Equally, concerns on adequate rules, regulations, and guidelines to foster research integrity (RI) amongst the research professionals prevail. In this paper, an in-depth understanding of the RI concept, and the strategies that the research fraternity in the African HEIs and policymakers use to foster RCR, are illuminated to address gaps that need to be filled. This is a new dawn for HEIs in Africa to strengthen their knowledge base by applying the best practices that are founded on high levels of RI to meaningfully inform, influence, and impact Africa's current and future development. This study provided a detailed literature investigation of the occurrences of irresponsible research conduct in Africa's HEIs, existing efforts to mitigate them, and the path forward to foster RCR. Unfortunately, Africa's HEIs have ineffective policies and structures in place to promote RI and research misconduct.