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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 Practise:

  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.

The Concordat to Support Research Integrity defines research integrity as a set of individual and collective behaviours that define good research practice:

Principles

  • Honesty in all aspects of research including gathering data, reporting findings, and acknowledging the work of others.
  • Rigour in using appropriate research methods in line with prevailing disciplinary norms and standards, adhering to an agreed protocol, drawing interpretations from the research, and communicating the results.
  • Transparency and open communication in declaring potential competing interests, the analysis and interpretation of data and making research findings widely available.
  • Care and respect for all research subjects, users, and beneficiaries; including humans, animals, the environment, and cultural objects. Those engaged with research must also show care and respect for the integrity of the research record.
  • Accountability of funders, employers, and researchers to collectively create a positive and inclusive research environment.

As a signatory of the Concordat, we publish the Annual Statement on Research Integrity.  This statement forms part of the University of Suffolk’s commitment to outline the actions and initiatives to sustain and enhance the integrity of the University’s research. The University of Suffolk is committed to maintaining the highest standards of research excellence and integrity. This statement sets out the actions and initiatives we have undertaken to sustain and further enhance integrity in our research during the academic year 2021-2022. The University of Suffolk fully upholds the principles outlined in the updated version of The Concordat to Support Research Integrity (Universities UK, October 2019) and this statement outlines our progress towards these principles. 

University of Suffolk has been a subscriber to the UK Research Integrity Office since 2021

What is the UK Research Integrity Office UKRIO?  

The UK Research Integrity Office is an independent advisory body, offering support to the public, researchers, and organisations to further good practise in research. A registered charity, it was created in response to long-standing and growing concerns about the reliability of research.  UKRIO is the UK’s most experienced research integrity organisation. Since 2006, it has provided independent and expert support across all disciplines of research, from the arts and humanities to the life sciences. It works to enhance good research practise, address mistakes, questionable practises and fraud, and improve the culture and systems of UK research.

What is research integrity?  Research integrity is another name for ‘good research practise. It’s the conduct of research in ways that promote trust and confidence in all aspects of the research process.  Research integrity covers all research and the whole lifecycle, from the initial idea and design of the project through the conduct of the research and its dissemination. It also covers making sure that environments and systems for research safeguard and enhance good research practise, rather than hinder it – often described as 'research culture'.  See here for more about research integrity.

In 2021, the University of Suffolk conducted a comprehensive, institution-wide research integrity review. The University of Suffolk Research Ethics Committee are overseeing the implementation of the recommendations from the review.

What can UKRIO offer researchers?

Education – guidance and support through publications on research practice, training activities and a comprehensive events programme.

Sharing best practise – clear and honest development for the research community through facilitated discussions about key issues, informing national and international initiatives, and working to improve research culture.

Expert guidance – confidential and expert advice and guidance, as a proactive service for both institutions and individual researchers, as well as in response to requests for assistance.

First Point of Contact Regarding Research Integrity - In the event of any enquiries or concerns regarding issues of research integrity, please contact the Head of Research Development, Andreea Tocca at researchoffice@uos.ac.uk