research data. However, universities must
do more than “ask [themselves] tough
questions” such as “[w]hat incentives
may influence or impede research integrity and reduce research quality and reproducibility of results?” Universities
must encourage their scholars to address
these questions rigorously and scientifically and take time to review what others
To introduce greater rigor into the
study of research integrity and the factors that foster or discourage responsible
behavior, the participants at the Fifth
World Conference on Research Integrity
endorsed the “Amsterdam Agenda” (1).
Under this Agenda, the newly created
World Conferences on Research Integrity
Foundation plans to establish a registry
for research on research integrity. The
registry will ask researchers to describe
the integrity problem they are addressing, how the problem affects research,
the intervention they are introducing to
address the problem, why they hypothesize
that the intervention will work, how they
will assess the outcome, and their plans for
The premise behind this effort is that
universities should practice what they
preach by supporting the development
and adoption of evidence-based policies
aimed at improving integrity in research.
Such an effort will require support from
funders, publishers, and professional
organizations, but we agree with Schrag
and Purdy that universities must take
Tony Mayer,1,4 Lex Bouter,2,4
1Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
639798, Singapore. 2Vrije Universiteit, 1081 HV
Amsterdam, , Netherlands. 3University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. 4Co-Chair, Fifth World
Conference on Research Integrity.
1. Fifth World Conference on Research Integrity,
Amsterdam Agenda ( www.wcri2017.org/program/
North Korea ban
In his ScienceInsider news story “North
Korea travel ban would hit Pyongyang
University hard” (21 July; http://scim.ag/
koreaban), R. Stone discusses the impacts
that the ban on U.S. travel to North Korea
would have on Pyongyang University.
In the 25 August Letter “Korean physicians’ bond defies borders” (p. 764), K.
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B. Park adds that the ban would disrupt
collaboration between U.S. and Korean
physicians. The ban would represent a
major setback to humanitarian programs
in North Korea as well.
The ban would, at best, substantially
aggravate the suffering of the most vulnerable and, at worst, lead to senseless
deaths. As an example, DoDaum is a U.S.-based organization working to improve
public health in North Korea. We have
worked for years to develop trust and rapport with agencies in the isolated nation
to gain access to rural civilians suffering from communicable diseases. In the
coming weeks, we were to begin directly
observing treatment procedures for
HIV/AIDS patients with a team of U.S.
health professionals. The ban, at least
in the short term, has thwarted such
efforts and will prevent the treatment
of many Koreans (1).
Humanitarian work in North Korea
is already fraught with logistical and
administrative obstacles. Reliably and
efficiently communicating with agencies
inside North Korea is difficult. American
personnel must be cleared by the North
Korean government to diagnose and treat
civilians. Recent political developments
will therefore severely limit the already
strained humanitarian channels between
the two countries.
If there is a silver lining to the ban,
and one must look very hard to find one,
it is that it may encourage innovative
initiatives that do not require on-the-ground personnel. Recently, Pyongyang
University of Sciences and Technology
has partnered with DoDaum to develop
and deploy an online medical education
program, which supplies medical trainees
with online educational resources. This
type of work is only a salve, not a solution, but a ban in the near term may
make it the only viable option.
DoDaum, New York, N Y, 11356, USA.
1. C. Sang-Hun, “U.S. deadline forces American aid workers
to leave North Korea,” The New York Times (2017); www.
Erratum for the Report “A nontoxic pain
killer designed by modeling of pathological
receptor conformations” by V. Spahn et al.,
Science 356, eaao0278 (2017). Published
online 9 June 2017; 10.1126/science.aao0278