Research integrity

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. 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.

Overall responsibility for maintaining the highest standards of research integrity at the University rests with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Chris Greer chris.greer@essex.ac.uk. The first point of contact for anyone wanting more information in relation to research integrity is the Research Governance and Planning Manager (Sarah Manning-Press, sarahm@essex.ac.uk).

All research involving human participants and animals, whether undertaken by the University's staff or students, must undergo an ethics review and ethical approval must be obtained before it commences.

Policies and Codes

University Code of Good Research Practice

The University Code of Good Research Practice provides a framework for the highest standards of personal conduct in research.  The Code of Good Research Practice sets out these minimum standards of conduct applicable to all staff, students and others associated with the University who are engaged in research.

The Code expects Researchers to always:

  1. Demonstrate integrity, professionalism, honesty, rigour, transparency and open communication.
  2. Observe fairness and equity.
  3. Avoid, or declare and manage, actual or potential conflicts of interest.
  4. Show care and respect for all participants in, subjects, users and beneficiaries of research including humans, animals, the environment and cultural objects (those associated with or involved in the research).
  5. Observe all legal, regulatory and ethical requirements laid down by the University or other statutory bodies.

Any breach of the Code or of related policies as applied to research will be investigated on a case by case basis under the University’s Procedure for the Investigation of Allegations of Misconduct in Research or the Academic Offences Procedures for students, as appropriate.

External resources

Concordat to Support Research Integrity

The Concordat to Support Research Integrity (.pdf) is a national framework for good research conduct and its governance.  It comprises five commitments that apply to researchers, employers of researchers and funders of research.  The commitments are:

  • 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.

Research Integrity Annual Report

As part of the its commitment to the Concordat to Support Research Integrity, the University produces and publishes a Research Integrity Annual Report to Senate and Council, which is made public.

Research Misconduct

What is research misconduct?

The University’s Procedure for the Investigation of Allegations of Research Misconduct in Research defines misconduct in research as any breach of the University’s Code of Good Research Practice or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted.  Misconduct in research includes:

  • Fabrication, including the creation of false data or other aspects of research, including documentation and participant consent.
  • Falsification, including the inappropriate manipulation and/ or selection of data, imagery and/ or consents.
  • Misrepresentation of data and/ or interests and/ or involvement and/ or qualifications, experience or credentials and/ or publication history.
  • Plagiarism, including the general misappropriation or use of others’ ideas, intellectual property or work (written or otherwise), without acknowledgement or permission.
  • Failure to follow required legal, regulatory or professional obligations or processes.
  • Failure to declare actual or potential conflicts of interest to line manager or others as required.
  • Failure to follow accepted procedures or to exercise due care in carrying out responsibilities for avoiding unreasonable risk or harm to humans, animals used in research or the environment.
  • Any breach of data protection legislation or failure to follow accepted procedures or to exercise due care in carrying out responsibilities for the proper handling of privileged or private information on individuals or organisations collected during the research.
  • Improper conduct in peer review (or equivalent) of research proposals, results, manuscripts or other processes.
  • Intentional damage to, or removal of, the research-related property of another.
  • Improper dealing with allegations of misconduct.
  • Intentional non-compliance with the terms and conditions governing the award of external funding for research; the University’s policies and procedures relating to research, including accounting requirements, ethics, and health and safety regulations; or any other legal or ethical requirements for the conduct of research.

Allegations relating to the research undertake by University students will be investigated using the Academic Offences Procedures.

How to report research misconduct

Concerns regarding the conduct of the University’s research should be raised with the Registrar and Secretary, Bryn Morris via misconduct@essex.ac.uk

Use of Animals in Research

The University of Essex does not proscribe animal research.  However, as a matter of current practice, invasive animal research and research requiring a Home Office Licence is not conducted on University premises. Members of staff who conduct animal testing which is deemed invasive or requires a Home Office Licence will do so in collaboration with another institution or organisation. Read the University policy statement on the use of animals in research for further details. 

Ethical Concerns about Research Funding

There may be circumstances in which ethical issues can arise when considering whether or not to apply for or accept external funding for research.  Similar considerations might apply to collaborative arrangements with an organisation or individual. It is important that the interests of all staff and the interests and the reputation of the University as a whole are safeguarded when seeking and accepting external funding or collaborating.

The University Policy Statement on Funding from Ethically Difficult External Sources or in Ethically Difficult Cases provide guidance on such situations.

Responsible Use of Metrics

We are committed to using metric indicators responsibly and sensibly. We have used the ten principles of the Leiden Manifesto to produce eight principles to guide the responsible use of research metrics at the University of Essex. Read The Responsible Use of Research Metrics at the University of Essex for further details.  

Open Research Position Statement

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. The University is committed to disseminating its research and scholarship as widely as possible to contribute to society as well as to academic advancement. Read our Open Research Position Statement for further details.
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Contact us
Sarah Manning-Press Research Governance and Planning Manager
Telephone: 01206 873561