Advisory service

UKRIO provides independent, expert and confidential advice on the conduct of academic, scientific and medical research, from promoting good practice to addressing poor practice and misconduct. We cover all subject areas and any issues relating to research practice. No other organisation in the UK has comparable expertise in providing such support, support which draws on the expertise of UKRIO’s Register of Advisers.

Our Advisory Service is open to all, including members of the public, research participants, patients, individual researchers, research students and research organisations. UKRIO welcomes enquiries on general or hypothetical topics, as well as those on specific research projects, issues and cases.

We advise on issues of good practice in research – how to get things right and what to do if you think you are having problems with your research. We also advise whistle-blowers and others with concerns about research, and help those responsible to deal effectively with problems of poor practice and allegations of misconduct. Promoting and sustaining good research practice is a worthwhile objective in its own right. It also reduces the risk of misconduct occurring.

To seek advice on good research practice or to raise concerns about possible misconduct, please use this form to contact us; the form also has additional information on our role and remit.


Advice on good practice in research

UKRIO provides guidance on all issues of good practice in research, including:

  • Help with specific research projects
  • Education and training in good research practice.
  • Issues of good practice and ethics relating to specific types of research
  • Creating or revising institutional systems for research integrity, ethics and governance
  • Practical help with promoting and sustaining a culture of good research practice within an institution
  • Help with implementing The Concordat to Support Research Integrity and other requirements for research
  • Creating or revising institutional systems to ensure good practice in research and address misconduct.
  • Disputes over authorship of research articles and guidance on other issues of publication ethics.


 Advice on fraud and misconduct in research

Misconduct in research takes many forms. It can be serious and threaten lives; it can appear trivial but still greatly harm research. Contact UKRIO for expert advice if you have concerns about:

  • Fabrication of research data, processes or results.
  • Falsification: the manipulation of research data, processes and results; also the omission of critical data or results.
  • Misrepresentation of research data or of a researcher’s interests or involvement with the research.
  • Plagiarism: the unauthorised use of or representation of another person’s material as one’s own original work.
  • Improper use or storage of human tissue, materials or personal data
  • Research that may be causing unreasonable risk or harm to humans, animals used in research or the environment.
  • Disputes about, or misrepresentation of, authorship in academic publications.


Protocol for responding to requests for assistance

Members of the public, individual researchers and research organisations trust UKRIO to provide independent, confidential and expert support. All who work for our organisation, both staff and volunteers, must adhere to the highest standards of integrity, objectivity, honesty and professionalism. Accordingly, requests for our assistance are addressed according to a standard protocol.

UKRIO draws upon its Register of Advisers when responding to questions and concerns about the conduct of research. Our volunteer Advisers agree to comply with a Code of Conduct, which includes our protocol for responding to requests for assistance.


Use of our Advisory Service: summary data

To illustrate the nature and complexity of the work that we do, UKRIO has published anonymised, high level summary data on the use of our Advisory Service 2007-2019.

UKRIO is a charity, not a regulator and there is no obligation, whether legal or otherwise, to seek our advice. Accordingly, this data should not be viewed as necessarily being representative of research integrity in the UK or of the UK research community as a whole.

However, as the only dedicated research integrity organisation in the UK, UKRIO has amassed unmatched practical experience in advising on questions of good research practice and assisting with the promotion of research integrity. Similarly, more than a decade of advisory work on issues of research misconduct gives us a unique perspective on addressing fraud in research.

We therefore present this data to provide insight into the challenges and problems faced by UK researchers and research organisations. Our aim is to encourage researchers, their institutions and related bodies to think more deeply, across all disciplines, about wider organisational and ethical issues underpinning the practice of research.



Please note: as stated above, UKRIO gives advice on how to achieve and promote good research practice, how to address problems and mistakes, and how to respond to allegations of misconduct. The summary data in this report covers all of those types of requests for assistance; the data does not apply solely to allegations or investigations of research misconduct and should not be read as such.