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Concordat to Support Research Integrity

RCUK and HEFCE were founding signatories of the Concordat to Support Research Integrity. The Concordat makes a clear statement about the responsibilities of Researchers, Employers and Funders of research in maintaining high standards in research.

The Concordat was established following a report published by the UK Research Integrity Futures Working Group, chaired by Professor Dame Janet Finch, in September 2011, which made recommendations about arrangements for good research conduct in the UK. The report concluded that the UK and its employers of research would benefit from a unified approach to issue surrounding research integrity and recommended that a new system for research integrity in the UK to be developed.

Summary of Compliance with Concordat on Research Integrity

The University of Suffolk, like all signatories, is required to make five key commitments in order to be compliant with the Concordat. These are addressed through the policies, procedures and structures of the University and are summarised here:

  1. Maintaining the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research;
  2. Ensuring that research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards;
  3. Supporting a research environment that is underpinned by a culture of integrity and based on good governance, best practice and support for the development of researchers;
  4. Using transparent, robust and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct should they arise; and
  5. Working together to strengthen the integrity of research, and reviewing progress regularly and openly.

The Code provides clear guidelines to any one conducting research for or at the University, to ensure that they are able to meet their responsibilities under the Concordat and other ethical, legal and professional standards.

All Research undertaken is completed in accordance with our Research Integrity Code of Practice:

  1. Nurtures a research environment that supports research of the highest standards of rigour and integrity.   
  2. Uses transparent, robust and fair processes to handle allegations of misconduct. 
  3. All participants give genuine informed consent being properly informed of the purpose of the nature of the research, take part without any actual or perceived coercion and are free to withdraw without giving a reason or threat of adverse effect.
  4. The involvement of participants is proportionate to the likely benefits of the research.
  5. Any harm or distress will be avoided or at least mitigated through robust precautions and be proportionate to likely benefits.
  6. The anonymity of participants must be preserved unless otherwise agreed and data properly protected.
  7. Researchers must conduct their research with integrity and transparency with regard to actual or potential conflicts of interest.

Principles of Research Integrity Excellence Researchers are expected to strive for excellence when conducting their research:

Honesty

Researchers must be honest in respect of their own actions and in their responses to the actions of others. This applies to the whole range of research activity including:

• Applying for funding;

• Generating, recording, analysing and interpreting data;

• Publishing results;

• Acknowledging the direct and indirect contributions of colleagues, collaborators and others;

• Reporting cases of suspected misconduct in a responsible and appropriate manner.

Openness

Researchers must be open when conducting and communicating their research (subject to the terms and conditions of any research contracts. the protection of intellectual property and commercial exploitation and the University’s IP Policy).

This includes:

• The disclosure of any conflicts of interest;

• The reporting of research data collection methods;

• The analysis and interpretation of data;

• Making all research findings widely available

• Disseminating research in a way that will have the widest impact;

• Promoting public engagement/involvement in research.

Rigour

Researchers must be thorough and meticulous in performing their research.

Care must be taken:

• To use the appropriate methods;

• When drawing interpretations and conclusions from the research

• When communicating the results.

Regulatory compliance

Researchers are expected to make themselves aware of, and comply with, any legislation or regulations that govern their research.

First Point of Contact Regarding Research Integrity

In the event of any enquiries or concerns regarding issues of research integrity, please contact the Chair of the University Research Ethics Committee, Professor Emma Bond, researchoffice@uos.ac.uk.