Guidance notes and position statements

To supplement our core publications – our code of practice for research and our research misconduct investigation procedure – UKRIO is publishing a series of guidance notes on specific aspects of academic, scientific and medical research. These guidance notes cover all disciplines of research but will also highlight issues relevant to particular subject areas.

As well as providing useful guidance for researchers themselves, research organisations can use our guidance notes to raise awareness of the particular topic, and as material for staff and student development and training. Our guidance notes can also be used as reference tools by organisations who wish to create specific policies on these issues, or to revise existing policies. As with all of the guidance that we provide, it is up to organisations and researchers to decide how best to implement it and in a way that suits their particular research environment.

The first three documents in this series, covering internet-mediated research, authorship in academic publications and retractions in academic journals, are available below. UKRIO will be publishing further guidance notes in 2017.

The aim is not to be prescriptive, but to highlight particular challenges involved in research and to foster discussion on what might constitute ‘good practice’ in these fundamentally important parts of the research process. Like our other publications, the guidance notes are underpinned by ‘lessons learned’ from UKRIO’s confidential Advisory Service on the conduct of research, which has operated since 2006 and covers all disciplines, from the arts and the humanities to health and biomedicine.

Good practice in internet-mediated research

This guidance note, aimed at researchers and research organisations, explores research integrity, ethical considerations and other issues applicable to internet-mediated research.

It is unsurprising that an increasing number of researchers are choosing the internet as a tool for data collection, for recruitment and as a research landscape. The ubiquitous nature of the internet and the digitisation of our lives is reflected in the number of disciplines interested in using the internet as a research tool or landscape. In turn, this new landscape requires consideration of the ethics in research practice online.

The document covers all disciplines of research but does not put forward a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. It complements existing guidance on internet-mediated research, such as provided by the Association of Internet Researchers, the British Psychological Society and the Economic and Social Research Council, and does not seek to replace them.

As internet-mediated research evolves further, good practice will continue to develop. This document will be revised periodically, to reflect such developments and highlight those new challenges which emerge. UKRIO will seek feedback from the research community to inform the revision of this document



Good practice in research: authorship

Written by Dr Elizabeth Wager, former Chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), this guidance note focuses on good practice in the authorship of research publications and covers issues relevant to all disciplines of research. Aimed at both researchers and research organisations, it highlights particular challenges relating to authorship and aims to foster discussion on what might constitute good practice in this fundamentally important part of the research process.

Research organisations will be able to use this guidance to raise awareness of the practicalities of good authorship practices, and also as material for staff and student development and training. It can also be used as a reference tool by organisations who wish to create specific policies on authorship or revise existing policies, or who need guidance on how to resolve problems and disputes.

This document will be periodically revised to reflect developments in authorship and publication ethics, new examples of good practice and additional ‘lessons learned’ from UKRIO’s Advisory Service and other work. UKRIO welcomes feedback from researchers, research organisations, editors and publishers to inform the future development of this guidance.



Guidance for researchers on retractions in academic journals

This guidance note covers good practice in relation to retractions in academic journals. As most published guidance on this topic is aimed at journal editors and publishers. UKRIO and the Committee on Publication Ethics have produced this document to help raise awareness of the proper criteria for retractions, corrections and expressions of concern in academic journals. Our aim is to help researchers understand how these important mechanisms for safeguarding the record of research should – and should not – be applied in practice.



Research Integrity – a primer on research involving animals

Written by Dr Nikki Osborne, Responsible Research in Practice this primer focuses on responsible conduct, good governance and ethical oversight of animal use in research. It complements existing UKRIO guidance referencing animal use in research, as well as the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and guidance regulating the use of animals in scientific procedures.

It is intended to provide research ethics committees, research staff, and those in research support, research integrity or governance roles with an overview of issues that need to be considered to facilitate a robust approach to good practice in the context of research involving animals. The document is relevant to all research involving the use of live animals, animal derived materials, or animal-derived data. This is because the scientific, ethical and welfare concerns that have underpinned the development of good practice guidelines and standards in this area apply irrespective of legislative requirements.

Research organisations may use this document as a reference tool to aid the review of how best to support the responsible use of animals in research, revise specific policies on animal use in research, develop training material, and/or consider how to manage or resolve potentially controversial aspects associated with research involving animals.

Version 1.0 was published in February 2019 and can be found here


Version 2.0 February 2021:

This revised edition seeks to highlight the abundance of information regarding good practice, responsible conduct and integrity that relates to animal use in research. General awareness of these across the Life Science research community is highly variable. However, many of the documents referenced offer useful tools to assist in the review of training, support and/or mentoring to equip students and staff with the necessary knowledge and skills that they will need to achieve, or work towards achieving, the expectations described.


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Position statements

In this section you can learn more about the positions adopted by UKRIO on various research-related issues. To discuss any of these issues further, please contact us.