What kind of culture do you want your research environment to have? Do you want to promote a culture of fear and intimidation? Growth and support? Effort and credit? Competition or cooperation and joint efforts? Acting safely or breaking the boundaries of innovation?
How do you keep your focus on the purpose of the research-answering key questions and pursuing the truth-while also caring about the well-being of research team members?
Our work in the National Principled Leadership and Research Ethics Center has always focused on the intersection of how individuals interact in the field of research ethics standards: plagiarism, falsification of data, abuse of research subjects, the consequences of hasty research or record keeping, etc. In recent years, through cooperation with our partners, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the American Geophysical Union, we have become more explicit about the tolerance and leadership ethics of the research team itself.
Research that promotes excellence not only includes what The research is complete.It also helps how is it The research has been completed, how the research team works and who is involved. The research team not only produces results, but also replicates and sustains itself as an effective ongoing partner. We believe that the goal is to create a culture of excellence in which certain values, assumptions, and beliefs become habits that promote ethics and effective interpersonal relationships, creative thinking, and production science.
For us, a culture of excellence means rigorously and ethically conducting excellent research in a way that supports team members in establishing a productive and meaningful research career in an inclusive work environment with positive interpersonal relationships. Leadership—whether it is the main investigator of the research team or other leaders who have come forward within the group—plays a vital role here, whether it is in setting the right example or in focusing The group dynamics of the growth of members feel respected and tolerated—or not.
my country is undergoing major generational and demographic changes. To be most effective, today’s research must welcome and develop all available talents. As the research team strives to recruit and support the development of talents from different groups of people, and when they encounter generational differences, we understand what can inspire and attract members’ best abilities and insights, and what makes them feel the group culture Part of what promotes their professional growth—and the factors that help keep them as active participants—must adapt. An excellent research culture means expanding our talent pool, adjusting our operating methods to suit the needs of participants, and using their different perspectives and insights to improve the research productivity of the team. All this must be done while maintaining the rigor of repeatable, evidence-based knowledge discovery.
Many of the attributes of creating a culture of excellence are not intuitive, especially when it comes to using authority. Powerful people do not understand the impact of their words and deeds on others, especially those who do not like them, and may inadvertently silence or hurt people with less power. Closely related to this dynamic is that doctoral students and early researchers often enter this competitive environment with a high degree of anxiety and insecurity, perhaps when they are different from the main composition of team members and must face persistent prejudice and stereotypes. This is especially true for impressions. The combination of power dynamics and the fear of failure may influence each other, thereby reducing the level of trust among team members. In some cases, people simply withdraw, depriving the field of talent and potential. In the worst case, this situation can lead to serious mental health problems and their effects.
Build a culture of excellence
Culture is the embodiment of individual behavior, so it is not fixed or established, but is created by the group and can be changed. Ed Schein, author Organizational culture and leadership, Defines culture as “a model that a group learns to share basic assumptions when solving external adaptation and internal integration problems.” Informally, culture is often described as “this is the way things are done here.” At work, this includes the communication style and tone set by the leader, as well as people’s expectations of how to perform tasks-including interpersonal relationships, working hours, and team processes.
Building a culture of excellence requires acknowledging these power dynamics, establishing trust relationships between individuals and teams, and developing habits that help build a career. It also includes fundamentally embedding the concept of research integrity. For decades, our community has been committed to educating individuals about responsible research behavior as a way to improve research results. This focus on individuals-mainly graduate students and interns-without considering the larger environment and culture, has led to online standards or training focused on compliance, or one-off efforts.It generally does not help establish the habits and behaviors necessary to maintain these standards, nor does it help encourage Healthy research group culture Promote excellence.
Specifically, we define excellent research as the process of establishing the habits required for creative, productive, and repeatable research in an ethical manner through positive interpersonal dynamics in a team environment. Excellent research does not only refer to the purpose (that is, research results); it includes the means (that is, the process of conducting and disseminating the research).
Focusing on purpose at the expense of means is part of the cause of many of the problems in doctoral research today.The pressure to release is Well documented And reward the output instead of improving the means to achieve it.It reduces time Reflection and thinkingThe focus on publication purposes, such as the number of articles published in “good” journals, has contributed to the moral failure of research to a certain extent: putting results into circulation, massaging or manipulating data and images, generating false data, etc.In addition, it helps in demanding work environments Higher levels of mental health issues.
Therefore, we hope that promoting ethics in research is not only a normative obligation, but also a way to improve research results. This is not only the correct approach, but also a wise approach. Research integrity promotes the promise of better results, better repeatability, sustainability, and greater impact.
what is your purpose?
Creating a culture of excellence in research begins with identifying the key capabilities and processes that shape daily interactions and behaviors. What is the purpose of the research work? The research team serves three purposes: influential, replicable and innovative scholarships; student learning and development; and expanding knowledge to the wider community.
Of course, the first purpose of the research group is its scholarship. But equally important is the second purpose: student learning and development. These groups are training bases for early researchers. The research team is composed of a group of people working towards a common goal. Part of the reason for the team environment—especially but not limited to in an academic environment—is as a way of apprenticeship for young researchers to learn rigorous scientific methods.
The third purpose is outreach and communication: disseminate new research results to the scholar community, and ultimately benefit mankind. Part of effective communication and outreach—especially now—includes perceived credibility and legitimacy. For example, a research group investigating diabetes that does not include African Americans—they are much more affected by diabetes—not only misses some important points and assumptions in the study design; some key externalities that might benefit from its results The group will also be skeptical. It is almost certain that the communication of these results will reveal the blind spots of researchers when talking to people affected by the disease.
The role of the leader
A healthy and productive research environment is the product of the intersection of people and culture, guided by leaders who are sensitive to these ways of interaction. This means that cultivating excellent habits requires understanding how individuals are affected by team interactions, policies, work structures, and incentives.
As with other academic and knowledge production cultures, leaders set the tone and provide an example here. Who these leaders are, how they treat and inspire others, and their own understanding and advocacy of diversity and inclusion will affect the atmosphere and dynamics of the research team they lead. Leaving room for different ways of thinking and working to achieve greater goals will only strengthen the entire enterprise.
The second aspect of research culture is also determined by the senior management. It is developing more open and effective communication channels, not only to discuss the research problem at hand, but also to review and discuss the processes and dynamics within the research group. Effective research groups will self-reflection and self-criticism when necessary, because this allows them to learn and grow. Thinking about how and where to conduct such exchanges effectively is critical to encouraging people with less power or influence to express their opinions and opinions.
The third part is going beyond the Darwinian spirit of some research groups. Some members may think that the bumps and failures of competing ideas are the right way to ensure that the best ideas exist, and many research groups take the same approach to the interaction of their researchers. There is no doubt that collaborative research requires wisdom, perseverance, and the ability to effectively debate your position based on evidence. At the creative level, we really want “survival of the fittest”. But in many cases, this is seen as the participants themselves are “strong enough” to survive-and the way this view is interpreted is often related to asymmetric power relations, stereotypes, and disproportionate exclusion of certain groups. interaction.
In order to perform well and effectively in their research, the research team must become more self-aware and self-critical of these dynamics. how is it Their research has been completed and passed WhoThese are not separate or auxiliary considerations for excellence in research. They are indispensable for the meaning of excellence.
Building a culture of excellence starts with understanding your current habits. Evaluate and observe the behaviors, values, and assumptions that currently play a role in your research environment. What pattern do you see? What prejudices are at work? What habits may not help you become part of a scientific career?
The second step is to evaluate yourself honestly and realistically and start to change your negative behavior. The cultural change begins with the leader. What values are you modeling? What role model are you setting? What word are you using?
The third is to motivate and encourage others. Take the time to build a trusting relationship with everyone in the research team-if they don’t want to contribute to the overall goal, they won’t be there. Celebrate small victories and encourage experimentation and collaboration by consciously arranging time for group work. Openly talk about the process, especially the mistakes and failures that are indispensable in research progress, and how to help everyone learn from it.
Cultural changes are slow and will accumulate over time. Today, in order to build a more active and productive culture, conduct exciting research and train healthy researchers, making small, purposeful changes, will help build a truly remarkable culture.