UKRIO established standards for reporting the outcomes of misconduct investigations in our Procedure for the Investigation of Misconduct in Research (2008). A central component of the Procedure is how to make appropriate disclosures to regulators, funders, professional bodies, partner organisations, journals and participants.
The Procedure recommends when a case generates wider interest and media coverage, the organisation should make a publically accessible statement on the investigation’s outcomes. When applicable, this restores the reputations of ‘whistle blowers’ and exonerated researchers. It can also encourage transparency through inviting external scrutiny.
There is an increased emphasis upon improving transparency and accountability, with openness becoming the expected norm. UKRIO consistently advocates for institutions to go beyond basic standards, balancing the requirements of employment law and data protection with the increasing interest in research integrity. This is necessary to retain the public trust and promote excellent standards in research.
UKRIO is exploring this issue in consultation with our subscribers, service users and Concordat stakeholders. We will develop best practice guidance for the research community in 2014, accessible on our website.
For advice on this issue, please contact us.