The University of Bath is a leading research institution committed to maintaining the highest standards of research excellence and integrity. This is the sixth University statement setting out the actions and initiatives we have undertaken to sustain and further enhance integrity in our research.
The University of Bath fully upholds the principles outlined in the updated version of The Concordat to Support Research Integrity (Universities UK, October 2019).
We have a long-standing commitment to high standards in research ethics and integrity, which is reflected in our University Strategies and Code of Ethics. As a part of our commitment we have drawn upon the Leiden Manifesto and the Metric Tide to develop our own set of principles outlining our approach to research assessment and management, including the responsible use of quantitative indicators.
The current Research Strategy 2016-21 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’.
We are committed to providing an appropriate framework to support a research culture that is underpinned by research integrity. This involves, in part, providing clear guidance about policies, procedures and responsibilities, training and supporting researchers according to their responsibilities, and monitoring the implementation of such policies and procedures.
At our University, Research Integrity is supported by the following groups: the University Ethics Committee, the University Research Committee, the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body, the Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee, the Psychology Ethics Committee and the Research Ethics Approval Committee for Health.
At a School/Department level the DREOs (Departmental Research Ethics Officers) and the Sponsorship Facilitators provide help and advice on specific projects. The Deans of each Faculty (or School where applicable), work with the Heads of Department/Division, and have the overall responsibility for the performance of academics and researchers in their respective Faculties/School.
The Department of Policy, Planning and Compliance monitor compliance with our policies and together with the Vice- Chancellor’s Office ensure that guidance is accessible and up to date.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research is the contact for any research integrity queries including research misconduct.
The Library supports open research and delivers a host of workshops and guidance, for staff and students, on research data management; preventing fraud; handling sensitive data; gaining consent for data sharing; citing data sources; responsible use of bibliometrics; and avoiding ‘predatory’ publishers.
We have continued to support our staff and students by providing guidance and tools to ensure compliance and facilitate informed decisions. These included:
- direct communications via the blog by the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research)
- a refresh of our website to include better sign posting
- a dedicated guide for Doctoral Students – ‘Ethics: a guide for Doctoral Students’
- a session, delivered by our Research & Innovation Services, on ‘Responsible Innovation’
- the development of a session on ‘Research Ethics and Research Integrity’ to be included on the ‘Bath Course in Enhancing Academic Practice’ which is mandatory for all probationary Lecturers
- the launching of the ‘Ethical Scholar Toolkit’ which is designed to provide an engaging method of educating students through all levels of their journey through higher education.
We have hosted a one day conference ‘ Addressing the Reproducibility crisis: improving research design, data analysis and reporting’ led by Dr Kate Button, Department of Psychology
We have taken positive steps to ensure that the Information Security Awareness e-learning module is completed by all members of staff. This module, recommended for all research students, builds on best practice guidance from Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association and includes a section specifically designed for Research Staff.
We have also deployed the web application REDCap to support researchers in the secure capture of online survey data from research participants, allowing enhanced reproducibility and comparison of datasets between studies.
We have monitored that there is an annual slot for research integrity discussions at Departmental staff meetings.
We have continued to work with the Chair to the University Ethics Committee, Professor Christopher Eccleston, Department for Health to review our governance model and have started to work on a gap analysis to ensure compliance with the expectations detailed on the revised Concordat for Research Integrity.
The Electronic Environment Project, which is a fully automated and electronic environment to support an improved research proposal and award management process, has been extended to include student projects. We have concluded the options appraisal phase of the project to re-build the online forms with the view to improve user experience, reporting and monitoring. Our intention is to start developing a new environment in the next academic year.
We have concluded our light touch review of the current processes and governance underpinning the management of research integrity (including research ethics and research misconduct) at the University. The review focused on 3 main areas: compliance, communications and governance. The review is informing the design of a new governance model to be launched in parallel to the new digital environment.
We have been named a Leader in Openness around our use of animals in research “in recognition for committing considerable resource and energy to following best practice, embedding openness within the organisation, and making the aims of the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK a reality”.
There was one formal investigation in research misconduct during this academic year. This investigation concluded that there was no evidence of malpractice. There is an annual report to the Ethics Committee in October on any allegations during the previous academic year.
The University is a subscriber to the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO).
Version number: 6
Approval date: 23 July 2020
Approved by: Council