Research wrongdoing among Early Career Doctors

by Ifeanyichukwu Kelvin Egbuchulem

Research misconduct in research (also referred to as ‘research wrongdoing’) remains a significant source of concern in modern biomedical research, and it casts doubts on the integrity of researchers and their work. These concerns have grown in recent times, as the rewards from research have increased. There are also concerns about research wrongdoing in biomedical research in developing countries, where research ethics training and research regulatory systems are just emerging.

Research misconduct is commonly understood to include falsification (altering research processes, or recording or reporting wrong results), fabrication (inventing and recording or reporting results), and plagiarism (taking the words, ideas, or data of others or self and reporting them without giving due credit). The U.S. White House National Science and Technology Council (Office of Science and Technology Policy) and Well come trust defines research misconduct as “fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, reviewing research, or in reporting research results”.(1,2)

In a study in Africa, medical researchers were interviewed on a wide range of research wrongdoings and potential predictors. About 22% admitted to at least one of fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism; the predictors of which were knowledge gaps in research ethics which was a predictor of admitting wrongdoing, as well as pressure to publish enough papers for promotion. (3)

Cases of research wrongdoing are often unreported. However, in the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, plagiarism by any early-career doctor is a serious offence when caught, and such an individual could be de-registered from the college. In one of the first empirical studies published in this field in this century, 5.7% of newly appointed medical consultants in the United Kingdom admitted past personal research misconduct. (4)

The criteria for sound ethical research has been stated in Nigeria’s National Code of Health Research Ethics. (5) In order to prevent the pitfalls of research wrongdoing among early-career doctors (ECDs), it is recommended that they acquire adequate knowledge of research ethics and methodology. This knowledge will not only provide a sound research footing for the ECDs but also ensure that they are spared the consequences of research wrongdoing which could be injurious to their entire career.


  1. Office of Science and Technology Policy. Federal policy on research misconduct; Preamble for research misconduct policy: Notification of final policy. Fed. Reg. 2000; 65:76260–76264.
  2. Well come Trust. [Retrieved July 1, 2011] Statement on the handling of allegations of research misconduct. 2005. from position statements/ WTD002756.
  3. Omokhoa A.A, Clement A.A. 2012. Factors Associated with Research Wrongdoing in Nigeria. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics. 2012 December; 7(5): 15–24. doi:10.1525/jer.2012.7.5.15.
  4. Geggie G. A survey of newly appointed consultants’ attitudes towards research fraud. Journal of Medical Ethics. 2001; 27(5):344–346. [PubMed: 11579193
  5. Federal Ministry of Health/National Health Research Ethics Committee of Nigeria. National Code of Health Research Ethics. FMOH/NHREC; Abuja, Nigeria: 2007.

Dr Ifeanyichukwu Kelvin Egbuchulem is a Senior Registrar in Pediatric Surgery at the University College Hospital, Ibadan. He is an active member of the Research Collaboration Network(RCN).

Dr IK Egbuchulem

Personal Unique Experience With Research

by Vivian Ifeoma OGBONNA

Research is defined as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge“. (1) This broad definition may include biomedical research, epidemiological studies, health services research, and public health research. (1) My research experience started about 12 years ago, in the final year at medical school. However, it was merely for the purpose of fulfilling the requirement for graduation. It was only until four years ago when I commenced residency training in community medicine/public health that my interest in research was aroused. I then engaged in online training courses on research skill development and writing which gave me a good overview and knowledge base on research and its’ communication.

However, it was only two years ago when my colleague in medical school who was in a university in North Carolina as at then drew my attention to our research work in the university. We had to write it up, and it was published as a conference paper in a conference in Benin Republic. Little did I know that it would be of great use and an added advantage to me while applying to study for a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH). Soon after I completed my MPH postgraduate degree at the University of Port Harcourt, I was able to present the findings from the masters’ dissertation as a conference paper and subsequently as a manuscript for publication in a reputable journal with the help of 2 Senior lecturers from my department.
Residency training could not have giving me the experience, as my trainers were willing but too busy to help. However, being a member of the Association of Residents Doctors both locally and nationally opened a huge window of opportunity for research collaboration for me as I joined the Research Collaboration Network (RCN) which is a creative initiative of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD). (2) This involvement sparked up my enthusiasms for research writing, which has become a delight and has made research publication much easier. Before this, my research experience could best be described as an “orphan or a lone ranger.”

“…being a member of the Association of Resident Doctors both locally and nationally opened a huge window of opportunity for research collaboration…”

Key learning points
At every opportunity, there is a need to improve one’s knowledge base as it is commonly said: “knowledge is power”.
Waiting for lecturer/student or mentor/mentee to spur you to the ‘next level’ may be at a snail speed as lectures and mentors may be willing but very busy.
Research collaboration networks are of great help.


  1. IOM (Institute of Medicine). Beyond the HIPAA Privacy Rule: Enhancing Privacy, Improving Health Through Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2009. 19–21 p.
  2. Adebayo O, Oluwaseyi O, Olaopa O, Kpuduwei S, Oluwafemi E, Omotayo FF, Aigbomian E, Ibiyo M, Buowari DY, Wasinda UF, Ibrahim YA. Trainees collaboratively investigating early career doctors’ themes: a NARD initiative in Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Medicine. 2019;28(1):93-7.

Dr Vivian Ifeoma OGBONNA is a Senior Registrar(Community Medicine) in University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port- Harcourt, Nigeria. She is an active member of the Research Collaboration Network(RCN).

Barriers to Multi-centre Researches among Early Career Doctors in Nigeria

Musliu Adetola Tolani, Ahmadu Bello University / Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria

According to Dashevsky et al. (1), multi-centre studies, in the context of health researches, are defined as “collaborative efforts between three or more medical centres”. It is attractive because of its capacity to explore a large study population for sample collection and its potential to harness multidimensional skills from different focal points to produce a high-quality research output that will be more acceptable for publication in high impact journals.

Early Career Doctors (ECDs) in Nigeria mostly work in clinical settings, either public or private hospitals, with little or no drive for research engagements due to the non-existence of experienced mentors to direct them on available opportunities for multi-centre research works.(2) This leaves interested doctors in the lurk on the search for a potential network of like-minds, which in some instances only occurs by serendipity, especially in the absence of a referral or a professional organization advert.

Even in the presence of excellent ideas that require multi-centre collaborations, local institutional grants or external funding to drive key aspects of this big project might be lacking. This finance could go a long way in creating a robust infrastructure for data collection & management and offset payment of the expensive article submission fee and or article processing charge in journals with high impact factors.

Another problem that might be encountered during the initiation of multi-centre research is a delay in obtaining the health research ethics committee’s approval. This could occur in cases where the committee has a huge workload. It could also be related to a delay in effecting protocol revisions based on the committee’s recommendations. Even if ECDs within identified research sites have the interest, absent co-operation from their colleagues, who believe that their efforts must be compensated in one form or the other, could frustrate their resolve to provide meaningful data contribution to the global project. Furthermore, the non-existence or poor functionality of local research network offices dampens the promotion of collaboration meetings and research works in a serene environment free from logistic hassles and distractions.(2)

As a result of the decentralized distribution of collaborators across a large geographical divide, efficient communication in the form of face-to-face meetings and informal discussions could be a challenge.(3) However, virtual technologies, such as the android conference call application and real-time google doc-based manuscript drafting used by the Research Collaboration Network in Nigeria, could promote a seamless exchange of ideas among collaborators. Nonetheless, the existence of a slow and sometimes unreliable internet network in some areas of the nation could stall the effective integration of these technologies into multi-centre projects.(4)

Finally, non-commitment to shared responsibilities and timelines could occur in the presence of other competing priorities and could lead to a halt of the execution of the research project. A strong leader is thus needed to pivot the process of enlisting highly motivated collaborators, provide solutions for the barriers encountered, and paddle the multi-centre research process to completion.


  1. Dashevsky BZ, Bercu ZL, Bhosale PR, Burton KR, Chatterjee AR, Frigini LAR, et al. Multicenter research studies in radiology. Acad Radiol. 2018;25(1):18–25.
  2. Lewis LS, McNett M, Aucoin J, Riemen K, Yeager S, Olson DM. Barriers to conducting multicenter nursing research. J Nurs Care. 2014;3(2):1–7.
  3. Hagen NA, Stiles CR, Biondo PD, Cummings GG, Fainsinger RL, Moulin DE, et al. Establishing a multi-centre clinical research network: lessons learned. Curr Oncol. 2011;18(5):e243–9.
  4. Adebayo O, Ogunsuji O, Olaopa O, Kpuduwei S, Efuntoye O, Fagbule OF, et al. Trainees collaboratively investigating early career doctors’ themes: a NARD initiative in Nigeria. Niger J Med. 2019;28(1):93–7.


Submitted to the NARD Ordinary General meeting at Bauchi between 26th and 30th May 2020

The committee was inaugurated on 31st January 2020 with the following members

  1. Dr Oladimeji Adebayo-Chairman
  2. Dr Shehu Umar-Secretary
  3. Dr Onubogu Ifeanyi-Member
  4. Dr Cyril Jomusu-Member
  5. Dr James Hendris- Member
  6. Dr Efam Okonta- Member
  7. Dr Okorie John- Member

Key attainments

  1. Expansion of Research Collaboration Network (RCN)
    The trainee led research collaboration currently has 143 members which make it the largest of such collaboration in sub-Saharan African. The collaborators are from more than 30 NARD centres.
  2. COVID 19 publications
    NARD COVID 19 fact sheet, NARD COVID 19 research update (3 issues so far), articles of COVID 19 related themes for peer-review journals (2 reviews, I letter to the editor) have been developed.
  3. RSC/RCN website The website has been updated, and there would be regular exciting articles from the blog section.
  1. CHARTING study I
    This year alone over eight articles derived from a survey of about 900 participants are in various stage of production mainly in international peer-reviewed journals. The participants form part of the most extensive investigation of early-career doctors in Nigeria.
  2. CHARTING study II
    This second phase of CHARTING study is in the advanced stage of design, and it is poised to recruit 2000 participants from more than 32centres. CHARTING II is designed to be bigger than CHARTING I.
  3. NARD Statistical Update
    The 2020 database of NARD has reached an advanced stage. The committee is working with the Secretary-General to ensure rapid acquisition from all NARD centres.
  4. Robust research engagement
    The RCN has been a veritable source of research engagement and promotion of scholarship among NARDites since inception.

Dr Oladimeji Adebayo Dr Shehu Umar
Chairman Secretary



The following NARD members were inaugurated at National Executive Council meeting held at Abuja as members of the Research & Statistics Committee(RSC) on 31st January 2020.

  1. Dr Oladimeji Adebayo(University College Hospital, Ibadan)-Chairman
  2. Dr Shehu Umar(Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital, Zaria)-Secretary
  3. Dr Onubogu Ifeanyi(Federal Medical Centre, Keffi)-Member
  4. Dr Cyril Jomusu(Federal Medical Centre, Yola)-Member
  5. Dr James Hendris Izibewule(Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Balyesa)- Member
  6. Dr Efam Okonta(Federal Medical Centre, Katsina)- Member
  7. Dr Okorie John(National Orthopedic Hospital Enugu)- Member

Digital data in ARD administrative processes

Digital data in ARD administrative processes

The Research & Statistics Committee (RSC) carried out one of the proposed workshops she intended carrying out for the year 2018/19 on Friday 10th May 2019 at the Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) of National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD). The workshop was titled “Digital data in ARD administrative processes? Making it simple and doable” and facilitated by Dr Oladimeji Adebayo, Chairman of RSC and Dr OluwaseyiOgunsuji, member of Research Collaboration Network (RCN). The slides are available at

1: The two facilitators: Dr Oladimeji Adebayo(R) and Dr OluwaseyiOgunsuji(L)

2: The Facilitators with some members of the RSC and RCN. From Left to Right: Drs SelekeoweiKpuduwei,
OluwaseyiOgunsuji, Joshua Agbogidi, Francis Fagbule, Oladimeji Adebayo and OlutobiOlaopa


ResearchGate: Snippet on the social media for you

ResearchGate is one of the biggest and popular social media platforms for researchers, scientists and academicians where they can connect with top researchers and academicians. 1,2 It was created by the trio- Ijad Madisch, Sören Hofmayer & Horst Fickenscher and launched on May 2008. Bill Gates is one of the top identifiable seed investors after putting $35million with Tenaya Capital in the firm headquartered in Berlin, Germany.2 The site is

In the last 8 years, it has garnered 11million users worldwide, currently ranked 576 on Alexa and deemed the largest academic social network in terms of active users.1 The New York Times in 2012 in an article by Thomas Lin, he described the site as a combination of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.3 A blogging opportunity to write review on shared articles on the site, ask questions and be answered by experts, in addition to engaging in private discussions of various topics with other researchers.1,3

Figure 1: Map showing others institution researchers UCH member have collaborated with. Source: ResearchGate UCH page

The site currently allows you as a researcher to share papers, ask and answer questions, view job listings and find collaborators.3 It serves as a great place to showcase your research endevours & outputs and get inspired in a research career path. Currently, it has many of our trainers and teachers on the site. It serves as a good avenue to follow their good works and alternative opportunity to be exposed to their research outputs. There are probably a few faculties that do not have a member that is a performer on the platform due to their prolific output.

It serves as a site to get many full journal articles which are otherwise not available openly on other sites websites such as Google Scholar or PubWeb. Currently, there are not less than 350,000 full articles self-reposited on the site.3 This is no doubt a big opportunity to get a rich cache of full article for your research, especially for post-part one candidates.

The alternative social media for researchers include and Mendeley although may not be popular as a social media platform for researchers. Mendeley is much popular here in Nigeria as a reference manager rather than a social media platform for researchers.

And as Thomas Lin quoted Maxine Clarke, executive editor of the commercial journal Nature “a unit to award grants or assess jobs and tenure.” regarding research publications, it may be about time getting on the train since a resident post fellowship academic career depends on research.3  So getting into a “cyber-research place” for inspiration may be a way to go.

Written and modified by

Dr. Oladimeji Adebayo ( )

**First published by the author in Secretariat bulletin of the Association of Resident doctors, UCH, Ibadan. Vol 1 no 3(March issue, 2017)


1.       ResearchGate. Wikepedia 2017 (2017).at <>

2.       ResearchGate. CrunchBase (2017).at <>

3.       Lin, T. Cracking Open the Scientific Process. New York Times (2012).

Research Collaboration Network (RCN)

Research Collaboration Network (RCN)
A creative initiative of National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD)
Residency training programme in Nigeria is faced with many challenges that border on funding, manpower, overall job satisfaction, quality of training, and standard of training institutions. One of the greatest albatross to solving many of these perennial problems is lack of data that concretize these formidable issues as well as its reporting and proffering evidence based solutions.
In line with the objectives of our Association to promote healthcare delivery and to express views on different government policies on residency training and Nigerian healthcare system, we consider it critical to examine some of the main sources of these challenges and other related issues upon which a premise for policies that would restructure the programme so that better output can be established.
Burnout, conflict ideologies, doctors’ migration, leadership capacities, practice dissatisfaction and quality of life amongst doctors, research attitudes and research gaps, skill acquisition challenges and working conditions are some of the many issues that we hope to address, by way of policy framework and implementation, working together with the government through the Research and Statistics Committee of NARD and her Collaboration Network.
I am confident in the capacity of our human resources led by Dr Oladimeji Adebayo to develop working documents that will guide both the doctors in this advanced specialist programs and the government, in order to bridge the gap and fix all broken links.
It is my hope that the product of this work would remain relevant to successive administrations in NARD as well as all stakeholders of medical education.
Thank you.

Segun Olaopa
National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria