1. The University of Bath is a leading research university committed to maintaining the highest standards of research excellence and integrity. This is the second University statement setting out the actions and initiatives we have undertaken to sustain and further enhance integrity in our research.
2. The University of Bath fully upholds the principles outlined in The Concordat to Support Research Integrity (Universities UK, July 2012).
3. We have a long-standing commitment to high standards in research ethics and integrity, which is reflected in our Corporate Plans and University Strategies. The current Research Strategy includes a key objective: ‘To maintain the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research and to have appropriate policies, systems and procedures in place to ensure compliance with the Concordat to support research integrity’.
4. This year’s Internal Audit into Research Integrity has been with a specific reference to the compliance requirements of the Concordat with a focus on UKRIO’s Self-Assessment Tool for the Concordat to Support Research Integrity. The Audit report has provided us with assurance that the key areas of research integrity are functioning well. The report also includes a follow up plan of actions to further enhance and strengthen our arrangements and research culture in this area.
5. Activities that we have undertaken to support and raise awareness of research integrity in 2015/16 include:
- We have continued our programme of annual development days for Departmental Research Ethics Officers with an increased emphasis on research integrity in addition to research ethics
- We have introduced an annual slot for research integrity discussions at all Departmental staff meetings, often preceded by a presentation by the Chair of the University Ethics Committee
- In October 2015 we established a Task and Finish Group, Chaired by the PVC, Research, to advise the Electronic Environment Project which will include an online ethics form and a reporting tool
- The ethics form and its guidance notes have been revised to enable more comprehensive monitoring of research projects in advance of the introduction of an electronic system for ethical review which is due in academic year 2016/17
- The ethics form and guidance have also been updated in response to the introduction of the Prevent Duty to ensure researchers have particular regard for security sensitive research and consider carefully whether the material they intend to access is relevant and necessary to their research
- From an annual system of monitoring the ethical review of research project applications, we have moved to a quarterly system to allow for an immediate remedial action to be taken in case any issues arise
- In addition, we have revisited the status of all current research projects across the University to ensure they have had an appropriate ethical review
6. During 2015/16 two allegations were made of research misconduct against the same actions of a member of the University. The Dean of the relevant Faculty considered these allegations under our Procedure for inquiring into allegations of misconduct in research and scholarship and determined that no investigation was warranted, which was not appealed.
7. In addition to the actions listed above, our continued review and monitoring of processes, policies and training in particular through the University Research Committee, the Ethics Committee and the Post-Audit action plan, will ensure our ongoing commitment to high quality and ethical research.
Approval date: 7 July 2016
Date of last review:
Approved by: Council