Promoting research integrity across the UK

Diverse Group in a Successful Business Meeting

Following engagement with the research sector, UKRI has reaffirmed its commitment to host the new UK Committee on Research Integrity (UK CORI).

UK CORI is being established with a commitment to ongoing dialogue across the sector. Also a partnership working with key bodies, notably: the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) and the Concordat to Support Research Integrity Signatories Group.

Dr Helen Munn, Interim Chair of UK CORI, said:

Having spoken with many individuals invested in maintaining high integrity in research, it’s clear that over the next three years we have an opportunity to bring a focus to promoting and supporting research integrity across the research sector.

Working closely with the UK Research Integrity Office, the Concordat to Support Research Integrity Signatories Group and others, the new committee will help accelerate national progress and send a strong international signal of the UK’s commitment to a high integrity research culture.

An open recruitment for the chair and members will launch in the coming months and we hope the community will help to promote the information to the broadest selection of candidates.

UK CORI will be consulting on its priorities in autumn 2021.

A free-standing committee

UK CORI is being hosted by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) for three years as a free-standing committee.

Following wide engagement across the research and development sector, UK CORI will seek to:

  • promote research integrity across the UK and internationally
  • create opportunities for discussion, build consensus and develop co-ownership of integrity issues across the sector
  • build and communicate the evidence base around UK research integrity
  • identify how systemic pressures affect research integrity, and harness opportunities for change and improvement
  • work with partners to enhance progress through the Concordat to Support Research Integrity, and advise on how oversight of UK research integrity should operate over the long term.

The committee will comprise independently appointed experts, drawn from a range of:

  • research disciplines and roles
  • types of organisations
  • career stages.

UK CORI is not being established with the authority to independently verify whether a research institution has followed appropriate processes to investigate misconduct.

UK CORI will nevertheless provide a forum to discuss how standards and expectations for such processes can be set across the sector, and what assurance might be appropriate in the future.

Commitment to research integrity

UKRI is committed to improving research integrity in the UK. In addition to hosting UK CORI, UKRI is:

Last year, UKRI published a landscape study (PDF, 5MB), which looked at the effects of incentives in the research system on researcher behaviour. The study found that:

  • researchers are intrinsically motivated towards high levels of research integrity. Almost all (99%) survey respondents agreed that their personal integrity drives their research integrity
  • local culture can have a strong influence on behaviour. Over 80% of researchers agree that their immediate research environment drives them to achieve high levels of research integrity, highlighting the importance of local culture, management, and support from peers.

The creation of a research integrity committee was first recommended by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in 2018. UKRI hoped to launch UK CORI in 2020, however in response to the pandemic key decisions required to progress the committee were delayed.

Further information

UKRIO is an independent charity, offering support to the public, researchers and organisations to further good practice in research. They pursue these aims through publications on research practice, the support and services they provide to organisations, education and training activities, and by providing expert guidance in response to requests for assistance.

Since 2006, UKRIO has provided independent, expert and confidential support across all research disciplines, from the arts and humanities to the life sciences. They cover all research sectors: higher education, the NHS, private sector and charities.

The Concordat to Support Research Integrity sets out five commitments as a national framework for ensuring good research conduct and governance underpinned by high standards. The Concordat to Support Research Integrity Signatories Group is a group of 10 organisations working together to support, promote and uphold the commitments within the concordat.

Top image:  Credit: SolStock / Getty Images

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