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The Concordat to Support Research Integrity

The Concordat to Support Research Integrity is the UK’s national policy statement on research integrity. Devised by a broad group of Signatories, with expert assistance from UKRIO, the Concordat sets out five commitments that those engaged in research must make to help ensure that the highest standards of rigour and integrity are maintained. These key commitments apply to researchers, their employers and funding bodies alike, and are a condition of grants from many research funders, including UK Research & Innovation.

The Concordat was developed with the assistance of UKRIO and it recognises us as a key part of the architecture for the future. We have long championed many of its commitments and are pleased to be part of the powerful consensus that it documents. The Concordat is an important step in the journey towards improving research integrity and enhancing the UK’s world-class reputation for conducting exceptional and innovative research.

 

2019 revision of the Concordat

On 25 October, the revised Concordat to Support Research Integrity was published. UKRIO sees the revision of the Concordat as an important step in safeguarding and improving standards in UK research, as research quality is inextricably linked to research integrity.

Responding to an inquiry by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, the revised Concordat clarifies what is required from researchers, employers of researchers and funders of research to help ensure that the highest standards of rigour and integrity are maintained.

UKRIO holds an Observer role on the Concordat Signatories Group and the updated Concordat was developed with the assistance of our unique expertise and experience. We will continue to work with the signatories of the Concordat to help implement its requirements and provide feedback to inform its future development.

Responding to the publication of the revised Concordat, James Parry, Chief Executive of UKRIO, said: “We welcome the publication of the revised Concordat to Support Research Integrity and the ongoing focus on research integrity in the UK. This new document needs to be followed by work to further embed its standards in UK research and we look forward to supporting researchers, research organisations and funders in achieving this. UKRIO will continue to use its unique expertise to inform further work on the Concordat.”

The revised Concordat can be downloaded from the Universities UK website: The Concordat to Support Research Integrity (2019)

 

Concordat Self-Assessment Tool for UKRIO subscribers

Our Self-Assessment Tool has been developed to help institutions identify practices, systems and issues that may need revision in order to comply with the Concordat. It also goes further than helping with compliance, allowing institutions to consider how they might carry out a broad implementation of the Concordat, building on their existing activities.

The Self-Assessment Tool was written for the 2012 version of the Concordat and is being updated to reflect the new requirements of the revised 2019 edition.

Given that the 2019 Concordat retains the five core commitments of the 2012 version, the current version of our Self-Assessment Tool is very much applicable to the new edition of the Concordat. However, it will not reflect every single revision and therefore additional advice should be sought from UKRIO when using this document with the 2019 version of the Concordat.

It poses self-assessment questions for institutions, each mapped onto one or more commitments of the Concordat, and introduces practical ways in which they might be met . An annex discusses what might be included in an annual institutional statement on research integrity, a key recommendation of the Concordat.

Guidance is given on every aspect of the Concordat but particular attention has been paid to areas where UKRIO has most often been approached for guidance. Use of the self-assessment questions will not only help with the implementation of the Concordat, but also enhance an institution’s overall approach to research integrity and help ensure that important issues have not been overlooked.

Our aim is not to suggest a ‘one size fits all’ approach or impose inflexible solutions. Rather, we hope that this self-assessment tool will help institutions consider how the Concordat can best be implemented in their particular settings, and how it might be used to promote and sustain research integrity.

The Self-Assessment Tool is available here.

 

Help with implementing the Concordat

UKRIO is helping to maintain the current momentum by supporting and enhancing the implementation of the Consensus Statement and the Concordat. We have considerable experience in helping organisations put into operation the principles and standards of new research guidance and will support the UK research community in meeting the requirements of the revised Concordat.

We will continue working with our subscribers to revise and improve their systems and practices. UKRIO does not offer a prescriptive approach but helps researchers and institutions determine what would best meet their particular needs.

A 2016 progress report on the Concordat by Universities UK praised our work in this area:

“…the most oft-cited resources that institutional leads on research integrity drew on were those provided by the UK Research Integrity Office, with both the ‘hard’ guidance available through UKRIO (such as model policies and processes) and the ‘soft’ support (such as informal advice and the annual conference) being highly valued.”

The same inquiry by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee that called for the Concordat to be revised, praised the work of UKRIO on research integrity in the UK, stating: “We recommend that the Government and Universities UK write jointly to all universities to encourage them to engage with UKRIO and consider subscribing to its services.”

If you would like our support in embedding the revised Concordat in the systems and practices of your research or your organisation, please contact us.

 

 

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