NHMRC promotes the highest quality in the research that it funds.
NHMRC’s assessment of publications in grant applications to focus on the quality and contribution to science rather than quantity of the publications. Further details are provided in an NHMRC communique.
Research Quality Strategy
High quality research that is rigorous, transparent and reproducible contributes to scientific progress, is essential for the translation of outcomes into practical and clinical applications and evidence-based policy, delivers the highest possible value for research investment and promotes community trust in scientific findings.
The Strategy aims to ensure the highest quality of NHMRC-funded research by providing guidance and supporting good research practices throughout the research cycle.
The Strategy builds on current and previous NHMRC initiatives to foster research quality and aligns with international initiatives in this area. It applies to all types of research funded by NHMRC including basic science, clinical medicine and science, health services and public health research.
NHMRC recognises the importance of partnership with researchers and research institutions in Australia to ensure high quality research and will actively consult and engage with the sector throughout the implementation of this Strategy.
Survey of research culture
Institutional research culture is critical to the conduct of high quality research. Many institutions already have processes and initiatives in place to support the conduct of high quality research.
As part of our Research Quality Strategy, we conducted a survey to gain insight into the research culture in Australian NHMRC-funded institutions. Views were sought from researchers (senior, mid-career and junior), research students (masters and PhD students), institutional representatives and ethics committee members at NHMRC-funded institutions. The survey was conducted by ORIMA Research on behalf of NHMRC in October-November 2019.
The results from the survey were mixed about whether the research culture in NHMRC-funded institutions is supportive of responsible research practices. Participants reported on both positive and negative aspects of the research environment, barriers and enablers to excellence in research quality, behaviours that affect research quality and opportunities for change and innovation. Researchers themselves were perceived to have the greatest potential to improve research quality. In addition, institutions could make an impact by shifting industry norms within the research community and promoting an environment where high-quality research is the norm.
- For NHMRC: The results support early initiatives we are undertaking as part of the Strategy, including providing relevant guidance and support for institutions and researchers to ensure the highest quality and value of NHMRC-funded research. We will be using the survey results to inform these and other ongoing activities under the Strategy. In addition, we will use the survey results as a baseline for monitoring the effectiveness of any approaches that are implemented.
- For institutions and researchers: The survey questionnaire has already stimulated discussions amongst research groups about responsible research practices. We hope that the survey results can be used by institutions and researchers to inform current initiatives for supporting the conduct of high quality research.
Survey report and further information
- Key messages from the survey and a copy of the survey report are available below in the Download section.
- The survey is registered on the Open Science Framework (DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/CJ3A9).
- The survey data will be made available for reuse in research projects. NHMRC is continuing to develop processes for this data sharing.
Research Quality Workshop
NHMRC held a Research Quality Workshop on 30 July 2019. The workshop provided sector representatives with an opportunity to discuss NHMRC’s Research Quality Strategy and its implementation. It also assisted NHMRC to identify connections between the Strategy and existing and proposed activities and initiatives occurring in the sector to ensure research quality. Outcomes from the workshop will inform NHMRC’s ongoing activities to ensure the highest quality in NHMRC-funded research.
To assist researchers and institutions, we have brought together a number of existing resources on how to ensure the highest quality in research.
|Use of animals|
Use of Consumer and community involvement
|Statement on consumer and community involvement in health and medical research|
|Publication and reporting|
|Ensuring value in research||
The Symposium explored how we can ensure that the right questions are being chosen from the start, that studies are necessary and well-designed, and that results are reported in a fashion that is unbiased and widely useable.
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