The importance of research has come to the forefront during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. However, the specific needs of such an exceptional context have put a strain on the way research is conducted, as well as communicated. On the interest of research integrity, the CIR-CAT has released a statement including some points indicating a few facets of the research process that are worth strengthening in the face of adversity.
The CIR-CAT is an independent committee created within the Research Integrity in Catalunya Program. Its objectives are the consolidation of good standards in research, their promotion, as well as the observation of all the agents involved, in order to develop counselling, analize results, and try to avoid conflicts in the integrity of the field.
This recently released statement intends to specify which of these standards require special attention during a situation like the one we are living.
Some of the points mentioned are very specific, for example the speed at which research and communication are being developed in order to face SARS-CoV-2. While urgency is to be expected, it must not interfere with the proper mechanisms stablished in order to ensure correct and proper research, to maintain important quality standards.
The statement also has a focus on scientific communication, with a focus on the responsibility and ethics that are to be expected from both institutions and media. The huge amount of information being published makes it difficult to discern what is correct and what is not, as well as what is more relevant. It is the media’s responsibility to make sure the important data gets to the public.
CIR-CAT also addresses institutions, with remarks on the importance of funding and the processes through which projects get funded, which must be done, once again, within the expected standards stablished, despite the urgency of the context. On the other hand, it points out the importance of the function of researchers as consultants, which has never been more clear than in this very moment.
Finding a balance between agility and professionalism is as complex as it is important. Keeping this points in mind can allow our research to be not just in time, but also accurate.
You can learn more about the CIR-CAT in the GENCAT website and read the full statement in the document downloaded from the same GENCAT website.
Cover image: Visualization of the SARS-CoV-2