Governance and strategy

Research integrity

Scientist looking at a glass slide

University of Essex
Research Integrity Statement
November 2022

  1. The mission of the University is one of excellence in education and research, for the benefit of individuals and communities. Our aim is to produce new knowledge from research that is open and conducted with integrity, carried out by researchers who are ambitious creative and collaborative.
  2. The University is committed to undertaking high quality research in an environment of high standards of research integrity, governance and good practice. We seek to operate an open research environment, enabling access to, and sharing and replication of our research.
  3. The purpose of the University’s research governance is to ensure that all research, undertaken by staff, students or any others acting on behalf of or under the aegis of the University, is carried out to the highest standards and that all researchers uphold the principles set out in the 2019 Concordat to Support Research Integrity:
    • Upholding the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research.
    • Ensuring that research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards.
    • Supporting a research environment that is underpinned by a culture of integrity and based on good governance, best practice and support for the development of researchers.
    • Using transparent, robust, and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct should they arise.
    • Working together to strengthen the integrity of research and to reviewing progress regularly and openly.
  4. As part of the University's commitment to this Concordat, the University produces an Annual Research Integrity Report to Senate and Council, which is also made public.
  5. Overall responsibility for maintaining the highest standards of research integrity at the University rests with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Chris Greer,
  6. Our Code of Good Research Practice (.pdf) provides a framework for the highest standards of personal conduct in research. These minimum standards are applicable to all researchers and those who support research in addition to their professional or funding body requirements and legislation. The Code also includes commitments that the University will:
    1. Maintain a research environment that develops good research practice and embeds a culture of research integrity, enabling researchers to act according to the expected standards, values and behaviours.
    2. Provide training on research ethics and research integrity with suitable learning, training and mentoring opportunities to support the development of researchers’ skills throughout their careers.
    3. Seek to ensure sustainability of its research, be that economic, environmental, academic, human, animal, physical or digital.
    4. Publish an annual statement on research integrity.
    5. Publish an annual statement on research integrity.
    6. Periodically review research practice and culture to ensure that practice remains fit for purpose.


University of Essex
Research Integrity Annual Report
November 2022

A. Actions and Activities Related to Research Integrity

  1. The University has updated the University’s Code of Good Research Practice (.pdf) and Procedure for the Investigation of Allegations of Misconduct in Research (.pdf) in 2020 to ensure these policies reflected current best practice and the requirements of The Concordat for Research Integrity. This involved a University-wide consultation and feedback was incorporated.
  2. In addition, the format of the Research Integrity Annual Report has been revised to provide increased transparency in relation to research integrity.
  3. The University now subscribes to the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) to access the support provided by the UKRIO and to demonstrate its commitment to the principle of integrity in research.
  4. The University developed and implemented an online Ethics Review Application and Management System (ERAMS) which has improved transparency of the review process, reduced burden, improved efficiency and created an institutional archive of applications and approvals. In August 2020, the three Ethics Sub-Committees of the University Ethics Committee were restructured so that the membership is no longer based on faculties but is cross-University and each is chaired by a Faculty Dean Research. The changes were made to enable the sharing of best practice across the University. It was felt that a mix of disciplines would be likely to encourage debate about ethical issues and practices which was often missing in the previous structure of ESCs based on faculties.
  5. During the last year research integrity and research ethics training was provided to doctoral students and ECRs as part of the NEWCOMERS programme of training events. The University is continuing to trial the use of online research ethics training developed by an external provider which is available to all staff and students in addition to the one-to-one support ordinarily provided. A new introductory video about research ethics and the University’s approach to ethics review has been produced for staff and students which will be launched at the start of the academic year.
  6. All staff are required to undertake the University’s essential training programme, ‘How We Work at Essex’, within three months of employment which incorporates elements from a number of different topics to ensure that all employees are aware and capable of meeting their statutory obligations, professional standards, and legal requirements relating to: Equality Diversity and Inclusion; Health and Safety; Information Security; Safeguarding; and Financial Regulations. As part of the essential training package, all staff are expected to complete ‘How We Work at Essex Annual Booster’. Each year, a new booster is developed to keep colleagues informed of key changes across the University and ensure they are compliant with legislation and regulations. There are also essential training modules for specific roles, for reporting managers and for supervisors. As an example, the information security essentials module focuses on the requirements of data protection legislation and what this means for employees in their job. It sets out specific roles and responsibilities for all individuals involved in the creation, supply and use of data and information. The essential training modules support staff in fulfilling their responsibilities in relation to the Concordat for Research Integrity. In addition, the first two modules of the externally provided on-line research integrity course, ‘The Responsible Conduct of Research’ and ‘Irresponsible Research Practices’, are now mandatory for all research staff.
  7. Training has been rolled-out as part of the University’s Researcher Development Framework which aims to engage researchers throughout their career, enhance research and improve the research environment. This covers topics under the headings: professional practice; research planning and publishing; creating an inclusive research environment; career development and resilience.
  8. The University’s Open Research Position Statement was published in May 2022. The Statement summarises the University’s commitment and approach to Open Research, explaining what it is and why it is important. It is informed by external frameworks, including the YERUN Statement on Open Science and the Concordat on Open Research Data, and is underpinned by more detailed University policies on Open Access, Publications, Research Data Management and Research Integrity.

B. Handling of Allegations of Research Misconduct

  1. The University has in place a Procedure for the Investigation of Allegations of Misconduct in Research (.pdf). The Procedure is based on the guidance produced by the UK Research Integrity Office.  The Procedure was reviewed and revised during 2019-20 and is scheduled to be reviewed in November 2023.
  2. The Named Person for allegations of research misconduct is the Registrar and Secretary ( Advice in relation to research policies, integrity and research misconduct is available from the Research Governance and Planning Manager (
  3. The University commits to engage constructively with other relevant organisations in their investigation of an allegation of research misconduct, and to alert other relevant organisations to potential cases of research misconduct of which it becomes aware.

C. Formal Investigations of Allegations of Research Misconduct

  1. During the year, five allegations of research misconduct were received. Their progress is shown in the table below.
    Status of allegation 19/20 20/21 21/22 
    Total number received, of which: 0 5 7
    Currently under initial consideration 0 0 0
    Referred to a different policy / process after initial consideration 0 1
    Dismissed as not being research misconduct 0 2
    Currently under Preliminary Investigation 0 1
    Addressed through education and training after the Preliminary Investigation 1 0
    Referred to a different policy / process after the Preliminary Investigation 0 0
    Dismissed after the Preliminary Investigation 2 0
    Currently under Formal Investigation 1 0
    Completed the Formal Investigation 0 1 1
  2. During 2020/21, one formal investigation was completed and upheld in full or in part. The table below provides data for this year and the preceding two years.

    Number of formal investigations completed (academic years*)

    Type 19/20 20/21 21/22 
    Fabrication 0 0
    Falsification 0 0
    Plagiarism 0 0
    Misrepresentation 0 0
    Breach of duty of care 0 0
    Improper dealing with allegations of misconduct 0 0
    Other (Breach of ethical approval) 0 1
    Details of any allegations upheld in part 0 0
    Total 0 1 1 

    *Academic year - 1 August to 31 July.

    Number of allegations upheld - in full or in part (academic years*)

    Type of investigation 19/20 20/21 21/22 
    Fabrication 0 0
    Falsification 0 0 0
    Plagiarism 0 0
    Misrepresentation 0 0
    Breach of duty of care 0 0
    Improper dealing with allegations of misconduct 0 0 0
    Other (Breach of ethical information) 0 1
    Details of any allegations upheld in part 0 0
    Total 0 1

    *Academic year - 1 August to 31 July.

D. Lessons from Formal Investigations of Allegations of Research Misconduct

  1. The University seeks to learn from any and all parts of the process for handling allegations of misconduct. We also, where relevant, draw on public information of the experience of other institutions and on activities or events where research integrity is discussed, such as the World Congress on Research Integrity.
  2. Over the past years lessons learnt from formal investigations have resulted in improved tracking of final reports, reporting of adverse events and governance control of activities undertaken with Health Research Authority and NHS Research Ethics Committee approval.
  3. The updated Procedure for the Investigation of Allegations of Misconduct in Research will ensure appropriate communication between relevant parts of the University when allegations of research misconduct are received and investigated..
  4. Communications with staff and students in relation to requirements have been improved and the training provided to departmental Ethics Officers, staff and students has been expanded.

E. Environment to Support Good Research Practice and for Reporting of Allegations of Research Misconduct

  1. The research at the University takes place in the context of its academic structure of Faculties, Departments, Institutes and Centres. The governance of the research uses this structure along with that of the formal committee structure, in particular the Research Committee and the Ethics Committee, reporting to Senate and Council.
  2. The Code of Good Research Practice provides a framework for the highest standards of personal conduct in research. These minimum standards are applicable to all researchers and those who support research in addition to their professional or funding body requirements and legislation.
  3. The University’s policies and guidance relevant to research, its governance and its integrity are available from the University's Research Integrity and Research Governance web pages. University policies applicable to wider matters of institutional governance are available from the Governance and Strategy web page. The key policies and guidance, and the date of issue / adoption of the current version are:
  4. Staff and research students are made aware of these policies and relevant processes when they join the University as part of their induction, and updates are communicated through Faculty Deans for Research and Departmental Directors of Research, as well as through general communication mechanisms, where relevant.  Specific aspects of research governance, good practice or other requirements are highlighted on a project-by-project basis as needed, so that they can be actively addressed in the research design or delivery, as appropriate.
  5. As already noted, the University has a Procedure for the Investigation of Allegations of Misconduct in Research, with a senior member of staff being responsible for the Procedure.  This serves to ensure institutional attention and that relevant actions can be taken.  The Procedure provides some flexibility in the way in which an allegation might initially be raised, in order to allow staff, researchers, students and others to feel comfortable in reporting potential instances of misconduct.  Whilst providing this flexibility, the Procedure requires a full written statement of the allegation to be received by the senior member of staff in order to ensure that the process is transparent, timely, robust and fair.
  6. The environment for research is created and sustained by the culture and behaviours of our researchers, those who support them, and the wider institution.  Whilst seeking excellence and applicability in what we do we are also conscious of the need to enable and encourage good practice in research, as embodied in the Code of Good Research Practice.  We seek to ensure that our research vision, strategy, operational plans, resource deployment and performance monitoring all take account of our commitment to research integrity and do not introduce inappropriate or perverse incentives.
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Phineas Wenlock Research Governance and Planning Manager
Research and Enterprise Office