Research integrity

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.

Council policies

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.

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.

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.

From April 2018, the Research and Knowledge Exchange functions of HEFCE from will transfer to Research England; current HEFCE policies around research integrity will continue to apply under Research England.

Contacts within each policy-holding council concerning matters of research integrity or research conduct are:

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 expects to unify signatory obligations of the Concordat in due course, on behalf of its councils. 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. Research England will also continue to monitor compliance with the Concordat. The inclusion of the assessment of research integrity in the environment section of REF2021 is currently under development.

As a signatory to the Concordat, RCUK committed to producing an annual narrative statements on research integrity. These are available below:

Background

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.