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UKRIO responds to Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology report on research integrity

Jan
9
2017

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology has published a note exploring current approaches to promoting integrity in research. This POSTnote :

“…considers current approaches to fostering an environment conducive to good research in the UK, and detecting and preventing practices that fall short of expected standards. It also examines the current mechanisms for supporting integrity in the UK, whether these are sufficient, or if another form of oversight, such as regulation, might be preferable.”

We welcome this valuable report, highlighting as it does the current challenges to integrity in research and also the considerable work being carried out to support and enhance a culture of good research practice. This is essential to maintain high standards in research and enhance the UK’s international reputation.

The POSTnote discusses whether a regulatory body might oversee research integrity in publicly-funded research. We note that historically those calling for statutory regulation of research are a small minority. Indeed, those commentators are balanced by an equally small minority calling for the relaxation of current measures to safeguard research integrity. UKRIO endorses neither of these viewpoints.

Regulation of research integrity should not be seen as a panacea and, as noted in the report, can have many drawbacks. While there is no room for complacency, UKRIO notes the effectiveness of the UK’s chosen approach of self-regulation by researchers and research organisations. We also endorse the views expressed in the report regarding UKRIO and regulatory powers:

“While some suggest that UKRIO should have regulatory powers, this is deemed inappropriate by many including UKRIO themselves, on the grounds that it would undermine its independence and ability to advise.”

The POSTnote provides an excellent overview of research integrity in the UK, including concerns about the impact of a so-called ‘publish or perish’ research culture. UKRIO looks forward to working with the report’s stakeholders to further good research practice in the UK, drawing on our unmatched practical experience in promoting research integrity and addressing misconduct.

The report is available on the UK Parliament website:

POSTnote: Integrity in Research

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