Research misconduct

The University has a responsibility to investigate allegations of research misconduct fully and expeditiously. It also has a responsibility to protect researchers from malicious, mischievous, or frivolous allegations. 

Anyone suspecting misconduct by a researcher is obligated to report this in accordance with the procedures described in the Code of Good Research Practice, section 4. Such whistleblowers must not investigate or take action on their own account but follow appropriate procedures. 

If you suspect a case of research misconduct, please, refer to the Code of Good Research Practice and our whistleblowers policies, and contact the relevant Head of Department/School, Faculty Dean or Dr John Martin, the Secretary of the University Research Ethics Committee, for advice. 

No one reporting suspicions of research misconduct shall suffer any disadvantage or action for doing so. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 provides protection for the whistleblower against subsequent victimisation by an employer. This protection does not extend to malicious acts of whistleblowing. The University is wholly committed to the protection of all bona fide whistleblowers irrespective of their status and will regard any subsequent victimisation as a disciplinary offence.

Where a whistleblower has a genuine concern about disclosing their own identity, a confidential approach may be made directly to the UREIC Secretary, who will then consider whether to refer the case on through the normal procedures. Where allegations concern or involve the UREIC Secretary, an approach may be made to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise. Allegations raised anonymously will be considered only at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor.

Research misconduct may include any of the following, whether deliberate, reckless or negligent:

  • Failure to obtain appropriate permission to conduct research.
  • Deceptive research proposals.
  • Unethical behaviour in the conduct of research (the University’s Research Ethics policy and Code of Good Research Practice apply, but other ethical issues may also be involved).
  • Unauthorised use of confidential information.
  • Deviation from good research practice that causes unreasonable risk of harm to humans, other animals, or the environment.
  • Fabrication, falsification, or corruption of research data.
  • Distortion of research outcomes, through distortion or omission of data that do not fit expected results.

  • Dishonest (i.e. deliberate) misinterpretation of results.
  • Publication of data known or believed to be false or misleading.
  • Plagiarism, or dishonest use of unacknowledged sources.
  • Misquotation or misrepresentation of other authors’ work.
  • Inappropriate attribution of authorship.
  • Fraud or other misuse of research funds or equipment.
  • Attempting, planning, or conspiring to be involved in research misconduct.
  • Inciting others to be involved in research misconduct.
  • Collusion in or concealment of research misconduct by others.
  • Failure to comply with relevant legislation, including that relating to health and safety, data protection, intellectual property and animal experimentation.

The above list is not exhaustive and other misconduct specifically related to research activity may be dealt with under this procedure.