1. It is proposed that higher education institutions (HEIs) eligible to receive public funding for research through HEFCE should comply with a research integrity concordat published earlier this year. This consultation invites comments on whether compliance should become a mandatory requirement for HEIs, and how this might best be monitored.
2. Research integrity refers to carrying out research to the highest standards of professionalism and rigour. It is secured when individual researchers, institutions and funding bodies work together to create effective systems and processes for ensuring that all the research for which they are responsible is conducted to such standards, and that any shortcomings in process or practice are identified and dealt with.
3. The UK research base enjoys a very high reputation for the excellence and integrity of its activity and outputs. Research integrity is fundamental to maintaining this, and to ensuring that these outputs can confidently be used to contribute to economic growth and national wellbeing.
4. On 11 July 2012, Universities UK (UUK) published a concordat to support research integrity. This was developed in collaboration with HEFCE, Research Councils UK, the Wellcome Trust and Government, and in consultation with HEIs and other bodies with an interest in research. The concordat coexists with and supports the mechanisms that some funders of research already have in place to promote best practice.
5. This consultation sets out how the Council’s current accountability framework provides for the investigation of cases of reported research misconduct, and invites comments on the following proposals:
- That HEFCE should require compliance with the research integrity concordat by all HEIs eligible to receive our grant for research, and that this requirement should be set out in HEFCE’s Financial Memorandum among the terms and conditions of HEFCE funding.
- That institutions in receipt of HEFCE research funding should provide assurance of compliance with the concordat, through the Council’s established assurance mechanisms including the annual assurance return.
As these proposals are straightforward, this consultation consists of only two questions.
6. Responses to this consultation should be made online by noon on Friday 8 March 2013,using the electronic response form which can be accessed alongside this document.