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Vol 39  No 1
Aug. 10, 2006


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Physician to review research integrity issues

By Peter Morris

Memorial University has appointed Dr. Paul Pencharz, a researcher and physician from Ontario, to undertake an examination of research integrity pertaining to the university. The examination includes, but is not restricted to, policies, processes and initiatives relevant to the research of Dr. Ranjit Chandra.

Dr. Pencharz is a staff physician with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where he also serves as a senior scientist in the hospital’s Research Institute. He is also a professor of pediatrics and nutritional sciences with the University of Toronto.

His examination will be in two parts.

In part one, Dr. Pencharz will examine Memorial University’s policies, processes and initiatives regarding research integrity for the period of the early 1990s to the present. It will provide a high-level comparison with policies and processes for the same period in place at other research-active universities in Canada. This examination will also include policies, processes and initiatives relevant to the research of Dr. Chandra.

In part two, Dr. Pencharz is being asked to make recommendations on measures that should be taken by Memorial University to strengthen research integrity and to make recommendations for action at the national level, particularly joint actions by the major research funding organizations and research-active universities in Canada.

The university expects to receive the report before the end of the calendar year.

“We remain committed to integrity in the research we undertake at Memorial University,” said Dr. Christopher Loomis, Memorial’s vice-president (research) to whom Dr. Pencharz will report.

“This investigation should provide us with guidelines to ensure that we have appropriate mechanisms in place to deal with any issues that arise concerning the integrity of the research being undertaken at Memorial,” he said. “Dr. Pencharz’s work will also help us lead an effort nationally to ensure that there are mechanisms in place to address these kinds of concerns that may arise elsewhere in the country. Other jurisdictions like the United States and Germany have such mechanisms and it is appropriate for Canada to consider developing similar protections to ensure the veracity of research.”

The university will address the results of Dr. Pencharz’s investigation with the university community and others.

More information on this issue, including Memorial’s Policy Statement on Integrity in Scholarly Research, can be found at www.mun.ca/marcomm/home/chandra.php.

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