The UK Research Integrity Office welcomes the publication today of a report on The Culture of Scientific Research in the UK by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. James Parry, Chief Executive of UKRIO, will be chairing the launch of the project’s findings on Thursday 4th December at the Palace of Westminster.
UKRIO welcomes the evidence which this inquiry found, that scientists generally have high expectations of themselves and others, that they aspire to do rigorous, ethical work, and that they value the influence of guidelines such as The Concordat to Support Research Integrity.
However, the inquiry also reported a remarkably high level of concern about the pressure that scientists experience to focus on and report positive results, and how this could lead to corners being cut. Scientists were also highly concerned about inadvertent perverse incentives to fabricate data, alter, omit or manipulate data, or ‘cherry pick’ results.
Bernard Silverman, Chair of UKRIO, said:
‘The evidence from this report confirms the view of UKRIO and others that it is essential that research institutions in the UK should provide strong leadership to build a research environment that supports researchers throughout their careers in striving for robust scientific design and high ethical standards. We look forward to exploring with the research community, funders and regulators how this might be taken forward.’
James Parry, Chief Executive of UKRIO, said:
‘UKRIO has led the way in supporting research institutions in creating a culture and environment that minimise the opportunities and incentives for scientific misconduct. While basic standards can appear to be straightforward, putting them into practice can be more challenging. Reminding researchers and institutions of their responsibilities, and of the harm that failing to meet them can cause, is a long-term exercise, requiring strong leadership within the research community.’