UK Research and Innovation aims to help researchers and research organisations to undertake and manage research to the highest standards and provides guidance on the reporting and investigation of unacceptable research conduct.
UKRI is considering the need for new research integrity policies; policies and processes of the former RCUK and HEFCE relating to research integrity continue to apply until further notice. The policies should be considered in conjunction with the Universities UK Concordat to Support Research Integrity, to which RCUK and HEFCE were founding signatories.
Since the publication of the report into research integrity published by the Commons Science and Technology Committee in July 2018, the signatories of the concordat have met to consider how to clarify the existing principles and commitments of the concordat. The revised concordat is expected to be published in due course.
The RCUK Policy and Guidelines on the Governance of Good Research Conduct continue to apply for AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC and STFC investments, until further notice. RCUK’s Policy and Guidelines cover, principally the promotion of good research conduct, including: good conduct in peer review; the need for appropriate training and development; what constitutes unacceptable research conduct; and the investigation and reporting of unacceptable research conduct.
- RCUK Policy and Guidelines on Governance of Good Research Conduct (updated April 2017)
- RCUK Policy and Guidelines on the Governance of Good Research Conduct FAQs (January 2018)
HEFCE required institutions eligible to receive its research funding to comply with the Concordat to Support Research Integrity as a condition of grant and has produced information and guidance for institutions around compliance and advice on finding additional information.
- Memorandum of assurance and accountability between HEFCE and institutions: Terms and conditions for payment of HEFCE grants to higher education institutions
In April 2018, the Research and Knowledge Exchange functions of HEFCE transferred to Research England; current HEFCE policies around research integrity continue to apply under Research England.
Contacts within each policy-holding council concerning matters of research integrity or research conduct are:
- AHRC: Gary Grubb (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- BBSRC: Sophia Abbasi (email@example.com)
- EPSRC: Ben Ryan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- ESRC: Sara Slade (email@example.com)
- MRC: Frances Rawle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- NERC: Avril Allman (email@example.com)
- Research England: Lewis Dean (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- STFC: Maggie Wilson (email@example.com)
Current research integrity policies are overseen by the Good Research Conduct Network, which remains operational until further notice.
Concordat to Support Research Integrity
RCUK and HEFCE were founding signatories of the Concordat to Support Research Integrity. The concordat outlines five important commitments that those engaged in research can make to help ensure that the highest standards of rigour and integrity are maintained. It also makes a clear statement about the responsibilities of researchers, employers and funders of research in maintaining high standards in research.
UK Research and Innovation is a signatory to the Concordat. All employers of researchers are strongly encouraged to sign the Concordat.
UK Research and Innovation is using the Government Internal Audit and Assurance service to obtain feedback on research conduct activity across the sector, through assurance questions incorporated into the Funding Assurance Programme.
As a signatory to the Concordat, RCUK committed to producing an annual narrative statements on research integrity. These are available below:
- RCUK annual narrative statement (year to 30 June 2013)
- RCUK annual narrative statement (year to 30 June 2014)
- RCUK annual narrative statement (year to 30 June 2015)
- RCUK annual narrative statement (year to 30 June 2016)
- RCUK annual narrative statement (year to 30 June 2017)
- RCUK annual narrative statement (1 July 2017 to 31 March 2018)
The Concordat was established following a report published by the UK Research Integrity Futures Working Group, chaired by Professor Dame Janet Finch, in September 2011, which made recommendations about arrangements for good research conduct in the UK.
The report concluded that the UK and its employers of research would benefit from a unified approach to issue surrounding research integrity and recommended that a new system for research integrity in the UK to be developed.