Research integrity during the COVID-19 pandemic: Perspectives of health science researchers at an Academic Health Science Center
During the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, a complex mix of political pressure, social urgency, public panic, and scientific curiosity has significantly impacted the context of research and development. The goal of this study is to understand if and how researchers are shifting their practices and adjusting norms and beliefs regarding research ethics and integrity. We have conducted 31 interviews with Health Science Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch which were then analyzed using integrated deductive and inductive coding. We categorized participant views into four main areas: 1) limitations to the research design, 2) publication, 3) duplication of studies, and 4) research pipeline. Although certain researchers were in keeping to the status quo, more were willing to modify norms to address social need and urgency. Notably, they were more likely to opt for systemic change rather than modifications within their own research practices.