SCIENTISTS must be ethical when conducting research if they want their work to be valued.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said having a code of conduct for research will promote responsible research integrity and practices.
“The scientists must have the ethics and integrity to pursue science for the betterment of society’s wellbeing and not just for monetary gains at the expense of human destruction,” he said during the launch of the Malaysian Educational Module on Responsible Conduct of Research yesterday.
Idris’ speech text was read by his deputy, Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching, who represented him at the event.
Idris said scientists should know the difference between right and wrong practices.
“With this (module), the code of conduct serves as the guidelines to facilitate check and balance in conducting research,” he added.
He said the code of conduct is hoped to boost and safeguard Malaysia’s scientific research work.
He added that the code will enhance the quality and credibility of Malaysian research, and promote efficient policy and strategy implementation through transparency and accountability.
“It is crucial that our researchers and research entities - universities, research institutes, laboratories and research programmes - accept and embrace the code of conduct in ensuring that vigorous research efforts are conducted with propriety.
“It will help to avoid unacceptable behaviour in research and minimise the misuse of funds,” he said.
At the same event, Academy of Sciences Malaysia president Prof Datuk Dr Asma Ismail said the science community should not sacrifice ethics and integrity for the sake of meeting their key performance index (KPI).
Prof Asma who is also Universiti Sains Malaysia vice-chancellor, said scientists and academics are expected to produce a certain number of publications per year as part of their KPI and this has led to some questionable research quality.
“Research has to be done with integrity so that trust and trustworthiness is there in the data you produce,” she added.
Prof Asma said the module is a significant statement by the Government towards strengthening integrity and accountability in science.
Sunway University pro-chancellor Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said: “We believe that science should not serve the purpose of scientists, but instead, scientists should better serve humanity, with humility.”
“All this can only happen within a research and development ecosystem, that encourages scientific growth that is ethical, safe and sustainable,” he said.
The module, the first of its kind in Malaysia, is a reference material to promote awareness, increase knowledge, and enculture scientific integrity and ethics among researchers.
Science Adviser to the Prime Minister of Malaysia Prof Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid and Young Sciences Network-Academy of Sciences Malaysia chairman Prof Dr Abhi Veerakumarasivam were also at the launch.
Meanwhile at another event, Idris congratulated Kolej Universiti Insaniah (KUIN) for fulfilling the ministry’s requirements to achieve full university status.
It is now known as Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Sultan Abdul Halim Mua’dzam Shah.
Idris said the ministry will not compromise on the quality of education.
“It is to ensure that the quality of our education will continue to soar upwards.
“We (ministry) made sure KUIN met our requirements, which included having accreditated programmes and hiring enough PhD holders as lecturers, among others, before they were given the status,” he told reporters after the recognition certificate was handed over to KUIN.
Higher Education director-general Datin Paduka Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir presented the recognition certificate to KUIN’s rector Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Fakhrudin Abdul Mukti, with Idris as the witness.
Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah and Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim were also present at the event.