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Research Integrity

 

This checklist has been designed to assist supervisors of research students at the University of Cambridge to address issues of research integrity and good research practice as part of the supervision process. A PDF version is available here.

All those involved in research need to be aware of and abide by the principles of research integrity set out by the University, funders, regulators, professional association and the law. This checklist seeks to provide an introduction to these principles and encourage broader dialogue between supervisors and students about research integrity and good research practice. Supervisors may also wish to encourage their students to undertake the University’s ‘Introduction to Research Integrity’ training session.

Research Integrity and Good Research Practice Checklist
Background Suggested action Resources and further guidance

Research Integrity

The University and its major funders support the Universities UK’s Concordat to Support Research Integrity.

The Concordat requires all researchers to conduct their research according to high standards of:

  • Honesty
  • Rigour
  • Transparency and open communication
  • Care and respect for all participants and subjects of research

Introduce the Concordat and the University’s own research integrity resources.

Discuss research integrity, providing a personal and discipline-specific perspective.

Discuss the challenges researchers face when working to live up to these standards.

UUK, The Concordat to Support Research Integrity

University research integrity website

Research integrity leaflet – sets out the principles to which all research at the University should adhere and provides guidance on where to seek further information.

Code of Practice for Research Students

The Code of Practice for Research Students sets out what students should expect during their study in terms of supervision, support and assessment, as well as what the University expects of research students.

Highlight the code and discuss its contents, noting that research students are expected to undertake their research with integrity.

Code of Practice for Research Students

Good Research Practice

The University’s guidelines on good research practice provide an introduction to key issues of research integrity at Cambridge.

Discuss the guidelines on good research practice.

University guidelines on good research practice

Subject-specific and local policies and guidelines

Individual departments and faculties will often have subject-specific policies and guidelines that they expect their members to abide by.

Additionally, there are a wide range of codes and guidelines developed by professional or subject-specific groups that researchers should be aware of.

Discuss any local or subject-specific policies and guidelines with the student and how they might affect their research.

Visit your department’s website for details of relevant policies and guidelines.

Funder expectations

Researchers should also be aware of codes of conduct or guidelines developed by individual funders.

Compliance with such codes is often a requirement of funding.

Introduce any relevant funder codes of conduct or guidelines. Discuss what these mean in practice.

Provide any relevant external funding terms and conditions.

RCUK, Policy and Guidelines on Good Research Conduct

MRC, Good research practice: principles and guidelines

Wellcome Trust, Guidelines on good research practice

ESRC, Framework for Research Ethics

For further examples see the research integrity website or contact your department or faculty.

Plagiarism

The University provides extensive central and local guidance on plagiarism.

It is the responsibility of all students to read and understand the University-wide statement on plagiarism.

Provide links to University guidance on plagiarism and the University-wide statement.

Discuss any queries the student may have.

Good Academic Practice and Plagiarism website

University-wide statement on plagiarism

Authorship

 

 

Authorship provides credit for an individual’s contributions to a study and carries accountability.

It is important that researchers are aware of the authorship practices within their own disciplines and any guidelines set by the journals in which they hope to publish.

It is recommended that arrangements and responsibilities for the publication of results should be taken into account when planning a project and reviewed at appropriate points during the lifecycle of the study.

Introduce the University’s guidelines on authorship.

Discuss any discipline specific requirements and guidance for authorship relevant to the student’s area of research.

Discuss any plans for publication during the student’s studies, including how authorship will be handled.

University Guidelines on Authorship

School of Clinical Medicine Code of Practice on Authorship

Conflict of Interest

 

 

Researchers should declare and manage any real or potential conflicts of interest

Discuss the concept of conflict of interest and how any potential conflicts might be declared.

The University's Good Research Practice Guidelines and Financial Regulations contain further information on the declaration of personal interests.

Ethical and Legal requirements

Some research, including all research involving human participants, personal data, human tissue and the use of animals, will necessitate compliance with particular ethical and legal requirements.

Discuss whether the student’s research will fall under any ethical or legal requirements.

If the student’s research will use animals, discuss the University’s procedures for ethical review of such work and the support provided by the University Biomedical Support Services.

If the student’s research involves human participants, personal data or human tissue, introduce central and local guidance and particularly the University’s procedures for ethical review and the Human Tissue Act.

University Research Ethics Website

Clinical School Research Governance website

Animal Research at Cambridge

University Biomedical Support Services

University policy on the ethics of research involving human participants and personal data

Licences, permissions and agreements

Some projects will require licences, permissions or agreements before they can commence. This might include, for example:

  • Import licences for materials
  • Licences to use certain materials
  • Material Transfer Agreements
  • Permissions from communities or government agencies
  • Export control licences

Discuss whether the student’s work may require any licences, permissions or agreements and how these should be obtained.

University Material Transfer Agreement guidance

University export control webpage

Research data and records management

All research data should be managed and curated effectively throughout its lifecycle in accordance with the University of Cambridge Research Data Management Policy Framework. This includes archiving, to ensure integrity, security and quality and where possible to support new research and research data sharing.

Introduce and discuss the University of Cambridge Research Data Management Policy Framework.

Discuss how research data and records generated during the research project will be collected, stored and managed.

Discuss how data and records will be kept secure, issues of confidentiality and privacy, and compliance with the Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act.

Discuss plans for archiving and, where applicable, how data will be made accessible to others.

Discuss any relevant funder terms and conditions relating to data collection, storage, and sharing.

Where applicable, discuss requirements for collecting data from human participants and keeping laboratory notebooks.

University of Cambridge Research Data Management Policy Framework

University Data Management Website

University Records Management guidance

Clinical School Information Governance website

University data protection guidance for staff and students

University Freedom of Information Guidance

Funders’ policies for sharing research data

Intellectual property

It is important that researchers consider whether Intellectual Property may generated by their project and that they are aware of the University policy on Intellectual Property Rights.

Discuss whether it is likely that intellectual property will be generated by the project.

Introduce the University’s guidance on Intellectual Property and the support provided by Cambridge Enterprise and the Research Office.

Discuss any third party agreements in place that will govern arrangements for IP generated during the project.

Intellectual Property Guidance for Research Students

Research Operations Office, Intellectual Property Rights Guidance

Cambridge Enterprise, Intellectual Property Guidance

Health and safety

It is essential that research students are aware of the health and safety issues raised by their research.

The University provides training, help and advice to support researchers in effectively managing health and safety.

Ensure that the student completes any local health and safety induction and any further training relevant to their research.

Discuss local health and safety procedures, including the identity of local health and safety representatives.

Ensure that the student is aware of emergency procedures and incident reporting.

Discuss any specific health and safety issues raised by the research project.

University Health and Safety Office

University Graduate Safety Course – intended for all new graduate students in science based Departments and Institutions

Health and Safety training – details of other health and safety courses.

Risk Assessment

Research misconduct

All members of the University have a responsibility to report to the Head of the relevant institution any incident of research misconduct.

Guidance is available from the University’s Research Misconduct policy.

Introduce the misconduct policy and discuss any queries they may have regarding research misconduct.

Research Misconduct – University policy and guidance

Training and professional development

Training is an important part of ensuring that researchers are able to understand and adopt best practice as quickly as possible.

The University offers many courses at local and School-level as well as centrally.

Discuss with the student any training needs relating to their research and professional development or to developing their understanding of issues of good practice and integrity.

Office of Personal and Professional Development – offers training across a broad range of topics.

Research integrity training.

Acknowledgements and further reading

BBSRC, Statement on Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice

Cambridge Enterprise website

RCUK, Policy and Guidelines on Governance of Good Research Conduct

MRC, Good research practice: principles and guidelines

Wellcome Trust, Guidelines on good research practice

Universities UK, The Concordat to Support Research Integrity

University of Cambridge, Biomedical Support Services website

University of Cambridge, Code of Practice for Graduate Students

University of Cambridge, Financial Regulations

University of Cambridge, Good Academic Practice and Plagiarism website

University of Cambridge, Health and Safety Office website

University of Cambridge, Information Compliance Office website

University of Cambridge, Personal and Professional Development website

University of Cambridge, Animal Research website

University of Cambridge, Research Data Management website

University of Cambridge, Research Integrity website

University of Cambridge, Research Operations Office website

University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine Information Governance website

University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine Research Governance website

University of Oxford, Research Integrity and the Responsible Conduct of Research – Checklist for Research Students and their Supervisors at the University of Oxford