UKRIO contributes to national discussions on research integrity and the development of initiatives to support and sustain good research practice, such as the Concordat to Support Research Integrity. We use our unique experience, expertise and data to inform these processes, to help ensure the promotion of high quality research and the protection of participants and patients.
Research has come under the spotlight in recent years. The Research Assessment Exercise links money to quality. Scrutiny is routine in both academic and, increasingly, mainstream media. At the same time, studies have gathered evidence that inappropriate practices are more common than many would like to think. Dishonest research damages the scientific record and betrays the public’s trust. It wastes public funds. Most seriously, misconduct risks harm to research participants, patients and the public.
It is important to keep a sense of perspective. The UK is not rife with research fraud. Guidance for researchers should encourage the strong professional ethos which, thankfully, drives most research here. UKRIO’s aim is the more systematic and visible promotion and demonstration of integrity in research.
The Concordat to Support Research Integrity and the Consensus Statement on Research Misconduct in the UK show that the research community is uniting to do more. We will work with others to implement their conclusions for the public benefit, to help safeguard research integrity and enhance the UK’s world-class reputation for conducting exceptional and innovative research.
For further information on our work in this area, please contact us.
House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into research integrity
In July 2018, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published the report of its inquiry into research integrity. It explores the scope and impact of problems arising from mistakes, questionable behaviours and misconduct in research, and what might be done to address these issues. The report, along with further information on the inquiry into research integrity, is available on the Committee’s website.
As part of the inquiry, Sir Bernard Silverman, Chair of UKRIO’s Trustees, and James Parry, Chief Executive of UKRIO, gave evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in January 2018. A transcript of the session is available on the Committee’s website.
The Committee’s report
We welcome the Committee’s report, which recognises the important role UKRIO has played, and will continue to play, in supporting and safeguarding good research practice across all academic disciplines.
The UK research community has certainly made considerable progress on research integrity in recent years, but, as this excellent report shows, there is no room for complacency. UKRIO strongly supports the report’s conclusions and we are looking forward to playing a leading role in the implementation of its recommendations.
Response from Government and UK Research & Innovation
In September 2018, the UK Government and UK Research & Innovation published their formal responses to the Science and Technology Committee’s report on research integrity.
The Government’s response recognises the importance of excellent research and the work of UKRIO in supporting and safeguarding good research practice:
“The Government recognises the important role that UKRIO play in promoting engagement and making clear that public funds should be used with integrity wherever possible to ensure that research is reproducible and reliable. Not all Higher Education Institutions are in receipt of public funding for research but where universities do receive public funding, we will explore with Universities UK (UUK) and UKRIO how we can promote the work of UKRIO as an organisation that furthers good practice in academic, scientific and medical research.”
We welcome the Government’s recognition of the work of the UK Research Integrity Office. UKRIO has been working with the Government, UK Research & Innovation and others to explore how the Committee’s recommendations might be implemented. We will continue to use our unique expertise to inform UK policy and practice on research integrity.