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Research Integrity


The following statement has been approved by the General Board of the Faculties.

A message from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research

The University of Cambridge is committed to achieving excellence in research and scholarship. The pursuit of excellent research and the fulfilment of our responsibilities to participants in research, research users and the wider community require the maintenance of the highest standards of integrity and ethics.

To maintain the high standards of research practice at Cambridge, the University will uphold the commitments outlined in Universities UK’s Concordat to Support Research Integrity. The information below sets out the principles to which all research and scholarship at the University of Cambridge should adhere and provides guidance on where to seek further advice on specific research integrity issues.

The University expects all researchers, be they staff, students or visitors to the University, to abide by national, European and international standards of research integrity. [1] This includes:

  • Honesty in all aspects of research, including:
    • presentation of research goals, intentions and findings
    • reporting on research methods and procedures
    • gathering data
    • using and acknowledging the work of other researchers
    • conveying valid interpretations and making justifiable claims based on research findings
  • Scrupulous care, thoroughness and excellence in research practice:
    • in performing research and using appropriate methods
    • in adhering to an agreed protocol where appropriate
    • in drawing interpretations and conclusions from the research
    • in communicating the results
  • Transparency and open communication:
    • in declaring conflicts of interest
    • in the reporting of research data collection methods
    • in the analysis and interpretation of data
    • in making research findings widely available, including sharing negative results as appropriate
    • in presenting the work to other researchers and to the general public
  • Care and respect for:
    • all participants in and subjects of research, including humans, animals, the environment and cultural objects
    • the stewardship of research and scholarship for future generations.
  • Accountability through:
    • taking personal responsibility for the integrity of one's own research and empowering other to own the research process
    • holding others to account, according to University processes and policies, where behaviour falls short of the standards set by the University and the Concordat to Support Research Integrity

In addition to these core principles, researchers should ensure that their research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards. This includes seeking ethical approval for research where appropriate. Researchers are also expected to treat colleagues with integrity, honesty and collegiality, including the fair provision of references and peer review.

As part of its commitment to the principles of the Concordat, the University will support researchers to maintain the highest standards of integrity in research by:

  • providing clear policies and procedures, as well as training and guidance to help researchers better understand how to maintain high standards of research integrity
  • provide appropriate sources of support, advise and guidance for researchers in need of assistance in relation to ethical, legal and professional obligations and best practice in research
  • having suitable mechanisms for reviewing ethical issues raised by research
  • using transparent, robust and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct
  • defending researchers who live up to high standards in difficult circumstances and any individual who, in good faith, reports research misconduct at the University
  • continuing to work to strengthen the integrity of its research through regular review and monitoring of its support, policies and procedures.

The University has a number of policies that relate to research integrity issues. These include:

Anyone with comments, concerns or questions regarding research integrity at the University of Cambridge should contact the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research through the Research Strategy Office.

[1] The definition of research integrity used in this document is adapted from Universities UK, The concordat to support research integrity (July, 2012). For guidance provided at the European and global level see: European Science Foundation, The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (March, 2011); 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, Singapore Statement on Research Integrity (July, 2010)