July 19, 2018

New Report From UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Looks at Research Integrity Issues

From the UK House of Commons Website:

2018-07-11_15-30-37The Science and Technology Committee report looks at what is known about problems arising from errors, questionable practices, and fraud in research, and what can be done to ensure that problems are handled appropriately.

As part of its inquiry, the Committee wrote to 136 universities to ask them whether they publish information on the number of misconduct investigations undertaken each year.

The Committee’s report found that:

  • Despite a commitment in the 2012 Concordat to Support Research Integrity, a quarter of universities are not producing an annual report on research integrity.
  • This lack of consistent transparency in reporting data on the number of misconduct investigations, and inconsistency in the way the information is recorded, means it is difficult to calculate the scale of research misconduct in the UK.
  • While compliance with Concordat is technically a prerequisite for receiving research and higher education council funding, non-compliance has not led to any funding actions against institutions.
  • There has been a lack of co-ordinated leadership in implementing the Concordat’s recommendations in universities.

Due to the potential weaknesses in the UK’s approach to research integrity, the Committee is recommending that:

  • A tightened Concordat on Research Integrity should be produced, with a timetabled roadmap to 100% compliance.
  • The Government should establish a national Research Integrity Committee to provide a means of verifying that university investigations into research misconduct are handled appropriately. The primary responsibility for investigating misconduct should remain with the employer, but the new committee would improve confidence in the existing system of self-regulation and would be alert to the potential conflict of interest of universities ‘self-policing’ research misconduct.
  • The new committee should publish an annual report on the state of research integrity in the UK.

Resources

Direct to Summary

Direct to Conclusion and Recommendations

Direct to Full Text Report

Direct to Full Text Report
82 pages; PDF.

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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