From principles to practice: a mixed-methods study on research integrity and research fairness in global health research

Frequently asked question


Over the past decade, the ideals of research integrity and research fairness have gained considerable momentum in the global health research arena. Research integrity emerged in the late 2000’s as a response to the reproducibility crisis in science. Research fairness initiatives aim to ensure increased ownership of research agendas and research outputs where the research involves partners with unequal powers, decision making and resource capacities, thereby maximising on the local health research priorities. While both areas have been the subject of intense academic debate, there is little empirical data on practices related to integrity and fairness specific to global health.

This study, employing mixed-methods, sought to assess the prevalence and determinants of practices associated with research integrity and research fairness in both the Global North and the Global South. Overall, the results indicate that there is large variation in the frequency of practices related to research integrity and research fairness, but with little geographic variation. Our study also identified several structural, institutional and individual factors associated with these patterns, such as an inflexible donor landscape, research institutions’ investments in relationship building, guidelines and mentoring, as well power differentials and competition between researchers.


  • Sandra Alba, KIT Royal Tropical Institute