What is Research Integrity?

What is Research Integrity?

Research integrity is another name for ‘good research practice’. It’s the conduct of research in ways that promote trust and confidence in all aspects of the research process.

Research integrity covers all research and the whole lifecycle, from the initial idea and design of the project through the conduct of the research and its dissemination. It also covers making sure that environments and systems for research safeguard and enhance good research practice, rather than hinder it – often described as ‘research culture‘.

What is research integrity? Honesty, rigour, transparency, respect, accountability.

Graphical representation of research integrity based on the core areas described in The Concordat to Support Research Integrity 2019, created by UKRIO.

The Singapore Statement agreed at the 2010 World Conference on Research Integrity (WCRI) sets out four principles:

  • Honesty in all aspects of research
  • Accountability in the conduct of research
  • Professional courtesy and fairness in working with others
  • Good stewardship of research on behalf of others

The UK Concordat to support Research Integrity sets out these core areas:

Honesty in all aspects of research, including in the presentation of research goals, intentions and findings; in reporting on research methods and procedures; in gathering data; in using and acknowledging the work of other researchers; and in conveying valid interpretations and making justifiable claims based on research findings.

Rigour, in line with prevailing disciplinary norms and standards, and in performing research and using appropriate methods; in adhering to an agreed protocol where appropriate; in drawing interpretations and conclusions from the research; and in communicating the results.

Transparency and open communication in declaring potential competing interests; in the reporting of research data collection methods; in the analysis and interpretation of data; in making research findings widely available, which includes publishing or otherwise sharing negative or null results to recognise their value as part of the research process; and in presenting the work to other researchers and to the public.

Care and respect for all participants in research, and for the subjects, users and beneficiaries of research, including humans, animals, the environment and cultural objects. Those engaged with research must also show care and respect for the integrity of the research record.

Accountability of funders, employers and researchers to collectively create a research environment in which individuals and organisations are empowered and enabled to own the research process. Those engaged with research must also ensure that individuals and organisations are held to account when behaviour falls short of the standards set by this concordat.