Our work informing policy
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.
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, Innovation and Technology Committee on Reproducibility and Research Integrity
The UK Research Integrity Office welcomes this in-depth report (published: 10 May 2023) as an important addition to the national conversation on research quality. UKRIO was created to support research integrity, which safeguards high standards and is essential to retain the public’s trust in research. Problems in research systems have been discussed for many years and it is time for concerted action from all involved in research.
James Parry, Chief Executive of UKRIO said: “There are significant tasks ahead in tackling the reproducibility challenge. We welcome that this report recognises UKRIO’s important contribution to the sector and agree that the need for reproducibility is a symptom of the broader issue of maintaining integrity in research.”
Each year our charity receives hundreds of informal and formal requests for guidance and support. We are already active in many of the areas identified in the report. UKRIO has plans to enhance our support for reproducibility through our guidance and training for researchers and organisations, and by continuing our collaborative work with UKRN.
UKRIO offers a recently revised good practice framework for investigating research misconduct that is recommended by UK Research & Innovation and other bodies. This procedure sets out the roles and expectations for key actors when cases of misconduct are identified. Our review of research misconduct in the UK, currently underway, will propose solutions for longstanding gaps in the UK’s research integrity governance architecture, essential to maintain trust in research.
We look forward to working with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, UKRN and other bodies to implement the report’s recommendations. We agree that cultural change is essential but it must be accompanied by evolution of research systems and incentives.
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
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.