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This page provides information about the Research Integrity Advisory Panel. If you have any further questions, you are welcome to contact the research governance and integrity team at


Q. What is the Research Integrity Advisory Panel?

The Research Integrity Advisory Panel was developed as a means to offer informal and discipline-specific advice and support for University of Cambridge researchers and students with questions or concerns regarding research integrity issues, including good research practice, and to support those who may be considering whether to make an allegation of research misconduct. Issues may include best practice and responsible conduct in research, research ethics concerns and questions regarding research misconduct and questionable research practices.

Q. What type of concerns or issues are considered to be ‘research integrity’?

Conducting research with integrity means doing research in a way which allows others to trust and have confidence in your methods, your findings and any publications based on your research. It also includes acting fairly in relationships with others throughout the research process. As such, you can approach the Panel with any issues or concerns that relate to best practice and responsible conduct in research, research ethics concerns, questions regarding research misconduct and questionable research practices and how best to promote good practice in research.

Q. Who are the Research Integrity Advisory Panel Members?

Research Integrity Advisory Panel Members are current University of Cambridge researchers (and some specialist administrative staff) who have agreed to be available to provide advice based on their own research experience, familiarity with the accepted practices in their discipline, and knowledge of the University’s policies and procedures. Panel members may be early or late career stage researchers and represent all schools.


The research governance and integrity team, based in the Cambridge Research Office, provide administrative support for the Research Integrity Advisory Panel and help direct queries from staff/students to the relevant Panel Member for consideration. More information about the team may be found here.


The identities of Panel Members are not being made publically available. If you speak to a Panel member, you will be asked not to publically share this information. However, Panel members are free to disclose their role publically should they wis

Q. Who can approach the Research Integrity Advisory Panel for guidance?

All researchers, research-related staff members and research students (undergraduate and graduate) at the University of Cambridge are welcome to contact the research integrity panel with their research integrity concern. 


The term ‘research-related staff members’ includes all categories of staff who contribute to research activities e.g. research supervisors, principal investigators, adjunct professors, postdoctoral researchers, research assistants, lab managers, research technicians, study coordinators, research administrators etc.  Affiliates, such as collaborating researchers or visiting research students, may also approach the Panel for guidance for concerns regarding any research being undertaken at the University of Cambridge.


An individual is welcome to approach the Panel more than once if he or she has multiple queries but should do so through the research governance and integrity team at rather than approach the same Panel member directly

Q. How to contact the Research Integrity Advisory Panel?

If you would like to talk to a Research Integrity Panel Member, you should email from your university email or private email including your name and contact details. You may wish to provide some brief details about your query in the email body. Your message will be received by the research governance and integrity team who will answer straightforward queries or put you in touch with a relevant panel member, ensuring that there is no conflict of interest. The Panel member will then email or call you to arrange a meeting.

Q. Is it possible to contact the Research Integrity Panel anonymously?

Name and contact details have to be provided to the research governance and integrity team. Although not anonymous, all queries will be treated with discretion to ensure your privacy. Upon request, the research governance and integrity team can provide only non-identifying information to the Panel Member and the query could then be discussed by phone.


In most cases, it is expected that the Panel Member and enquirer will both be aware of the identity of the other person, but will treat this information in confidence. 

Q. What if there is a conflict of interest?

If any potential or actual conflicts of interest are raised regarding a query, please tell the research governance and integrity team who will refer the query to another Panel member. The Panel member who had the conflict of interest would not be involved in the query any further and would not be made aware of any further information. Either the Panel member or enquirer may highlight a conflict of interest. While it cannot be guaranteed that conflicts of interest will always be avoided, all reasonable attempts will be made to ensure this the enquirer is paired with an appropriate Panel member to avoid conflicts. 

Q. Role of the Research Integrity Panel Member

A Panel member provides informal guidance to a staff member or student with their research integrity concern. Typically, a Panel Member might discuss the matter, signpost the relevant policies and procedures of the university or discipline-specific guidance, explain the options for next steps and suggest other sources of support as relevant (e.g. counselling services if part of the situation involves mental health concerns).

Researchers acting in their role as a Panel Member do so in a guidance capacity. They are unable to take the following actions:

  1. Provide a decision or view as to whether research misconduct has been committed in a particular case;  
  2. Give legal or HR advice;
  3. Offer ongoing emotional support;
  4. Acting on the individual’s behalf or attending meetings with them;
  5. Participate in any subsequent investigation or in the resolution of an allegation if they were involved in the query.


Q. How should I prepare for the meeting?

It is not necessary to specifically prepare anything for the meeting. However, you may wish to better familiarise yourself with University polices and guidance. In some instances, it may be helpful to bring manuscripts, raw data or other evidence that is related to your concern. You are not obliged to collect evidence, but if you have any relevant information this may assist your discussion with the Panel Member.


You may also wish to consider in advance whether you would like to describe a situation hypothetically or discuss a specific research project, issue or case. This is at your discretion. If you would prefer to discuss something hypothetically, you should try to give sufficient information so that you can still be provided with guidance about the best next steps.


Q. What should I expect when meeting a Panel Member?

The Panel member will contact you to arrange an in-person or video meeting. In some cases, both parties may prefer to discuss the query by phone or e-mail rather than meeting in person. Typically, a face-to-face meeting might take up to approximately sixty minutes to sufficiently explore the concern, but the timing will depend on the specific nature of the query. Some queries may take longer to discuss or require a second meeting. 

The Panel member will listen to you and ask questions to fully explore your concern so that he or she has enough information to offer guidance and explain the options for taking action.  Their guidance will be based upon their expertise and experience, university policies and procedures, relevant legislation, ethical standards, discipline norms and guidelines from funders, regulatory, professional bodies or journals. Should the initial query appear to involve a complex matter or matters relating to research misconduct, the Panel member might ask a member of the research governance and integrity team attend the meeting in a note‐taking capacity. The role of note‐taker would be to ensure an accurate record of the meeting and how the query was handled. You will be notified should a notetaker be present. 


Q. Are queries confidential?

In order to safeguard the individuals involved, Panel members are generally expected to keep all queries and discussions private. Although confidentiality is respected, there are some instances where the Panel Member may need to share some information.


Such situations include:

  • Serious research misconduct allegation;
  • Risk or harm to people and/or animals;
  • Evidence of improper storage or handling of human tissue or personal data;
  • Criminal activity;
  • A conflict of interest requiring the panel member to recuse him or herself.


In exceptional cases, if the Panel member believes they have a legal or professional obligation, the Panel member may report information to, or seek advice from, appropriate external authorities or relevant internal parties (e.g. research ethics committee, legal team, HR, research governance and integrity team, Head of Department). Before doing so, the Panel member will inform you of the actions being taken and why.


In most cases, the Panel member will ask your permission to share information in confidence with other persons or relevant organisations (e.g. to seek an expert opinion on the matter). If so, any subsequent discussions would be kept discreet and information would be limited to those who have a need to know and only to the extent necessary. If you are not content to give permission, the Panel member will not share any information unless the query involves one of the exceptional situations listed above.


At their discretion, Panel members may report some aggregated data or generalised information about queries to the research governance and integrity team. To preserve privacy of the individuals, this information will be reported anonymously via an optional Microsoft Teams survey. As such, the research governance and integrity team will not be aware of which Panel member has reported information and will not able to relate the reported information to specific queries.


Q. Can I bring someone with me to the meeting?

You may bring a work colleague to the meeting, if you wish. You should notify the Panel member prior to the meeting that you wish to bring a third party.  

Q. What happens after the meeting?

The actions after the meeting will depend very much upon the specific query and how you wish to take your concerns forward (or not). The guidance suggested by the Panel member is not mandatory.


In some instances, the enquiry may be resolved quickly and you won’t need any further assistance after the meeting.  In other instances, you may wish to contact another source of support suggested by the Panel member (e.g. if your research integrity concern also involved harassment or bullying, you could get in touch with Dignity at Work for support). Some enquires may require more long-term guidance; if so, the Panel member may suggest a second meeting – though it is up to you if you wish to follow-up.


You will be offered an opportunity to provide short confidential feedback to the research governance and integrity team. To preserve your privacy, there will be a delay between your query and the opportunity to give feedback so the two events cannot be readily linked.