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Research Code of Practice

INTRODUCTION

The University recognises its responsibility to researchers and the wider community to ensure the highest standards of integrity and professionalism are observed in the conduct of research.

This Research Code of Practice(PDF Document) provides guiding principles and standards of good practice in research across all subject disciplines and fields of study in the University. It applies to all those undertaking research on the University’s premises using its facilities, or on behalf of the University, including staff, students, visiting or emeritus staff, associates, honorary or clinical contract holders, contractors and consultants.

These principles of good practice underpin the University’s commitment to effective research governance, the pursuit of excellence and the highest quality research. In addition, further detailed advice and guidance, legislative and regulatory requirements, related University policies and procedures, external codes of practice, for example, from associated professional bodies, are provided in web-based resources which are updated regularly; see Research Integrity.

The Code draws on a number of sources of guidance and good practice available to the research sector in the UK and internationally, including:

UKRIO Code of Practice for Research: Promoting good practice and preventing misconduct (2009)

RCUK Policy and Guidelines on Governance of Good Research Conduct (Feb 2013) (updated April 2017)

and it will continue to be reviewed regularly in line with updated sector-wide guidance and any new legislative and regulatory requirements.

Failure to comply with the Code or any actions that may be deemed to constitute research misconduct, under the University’s Code of Practice for the Investigation of Research Misconduct, may be grounds for instigating disciplinary proceedings.

PRINCIPLES

It is the responsibility of all engaged in research to adhere to the following principles, to:

Excellence

  • Strive for excellence when conducting research.
  • Aim to design, produce and disseminate work of the highest quality and ethical standards.
  • Promote and support good research practice.

Integrity

  • Observe and comply with all legal, regulatory and ethical requirements in the UK and in countries where research is conducted or participants are from, relevant to the field of study and any collaborative partner organisations.
  • Maintain knowledge and awareness of relevant and up-to-date legislative and regulatory requirements, professional body codes of practice, University policies and procedures, accessing support and guidance provided by the Research Integrity pages.
  • Ensure research has been appropriately reviewed, and necessary regulatory, funding and ethical approvals, internally to the University and externally, have been obtained.
  • Recognise and declare any actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest relating to research and seek advice and/or to take steps to resolve them.

Honesty and Openness

  • Foster and support honesty in research, in relation to your own research and that of others.
  • Ensure research designs, methodologies, data, findings and results are open to scrutiny (subject to appropriate confidentiality applicable to personal or commercially protected data),
  • Ensure the accuracy, security, accessibility and completeness of data and results, appropriately acknowledge the contributions of others, and neither engage in misconduct nor conceal it.
  • Ensure data and results are retained and deleted/destroyed in accordance with all legal, ethical, funding body and University requirements.
  • Consider the wider consequences of their work and to engage critically with the practical, ethical and intellectual challenges that are inherent in the conduct of high quality research.

Co-operation

Contribute to and promote the open exchange of ideas, research methods, data and results and their discussion, scrutiny and debate, subject to any considerations of confidentiality.

Accountability

Recognise that in and through their work they are ultimately accountable to the general public and should act accordingly. They should ensure that any research undertaken complies with any agreements, terms and conditions relating to the project, and allows for proper governance and transparency. This should include ensuring there are fully auditable records of, for example, timesheets, participants’ consent, where required, all relevant approvals, and have access to and understanding of any associated legal agreements, grant terms and conditions, etc. Researchers should follow the requirements and guidance of any professional bodies in their field of research and those who are members of a regulated profession must follow the requirements and guidance of the body regulating their profession.

Training and skills

The University provides training and opportunities for development for researchers, and resources to enable them to conduct research to the required standards. Researchers are supported in identifying unmet needs for training and development, for example through the Annual Review and student progress monitoring processes. Researchers should ensure that they have the necessary skills, training and utilise the related resources to carry out research, in the proposed research team or through collaboration with specialists in relevant fields, and identify and undertake appropriate training and development to carry out their research.

Safety

Ensure the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of all involved in research and avoid unreasonable risk or harm to research subjects, participants, patients, animals, researchers and others.

Risk assess, report and address any concerns relating to the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of those involved in research. Research should be initiated and continued only if the anticipated benefits justify the risks involved.

Ensure that all research projects comply with appropriate health and safety legislation and regulation, and have sufficient insurance and indemnity prior to the research being conducted.

Staff should note that the complete Research Code of Practice comprises the Introduction, Principles and all the sub pages on the right-hand side. Staff should read and familarise themselves with the Research Code of Practice prior to undertaking any research at the University.