RCUK publishes guidelines on the governance of good research conduct

Research Councils UK (RCUK) has published its latest policy and guidelines to help researchers and research organisations achieve the highest standards possible when carrying out research. The policy and guidelines have been updated to reflect growing national and international experience in identifying and promoting good research conduct, and in addressing unsatisfactory conduct.

The RCUK Policy and Guidelines on Governance of Good Research Conduct:

  • sets standards of good research practice, with associated guidelines
  • specifies and describes unacceptable research conduct
  • provides guidelines for reporting and investigating allegations of research misconduct
  • clarifies the respective responsibilities of the Research Councils and Research Organisations in fostering and safeguarding the highest possible standards of research conduct.

This document replaces the RCUK Policy and Code of Conduct on the Governance of Good Research Conduct, published in July 2009, and was developed after a wide consultation with partners across the higher education and research sector. It covers the promotion of good research conduct, including good conduct in peer review, the need for appropriate training and development, what constitutes unacceptable research conduct, and the investigation and reporting of unacceptable research conduct.

Professor Rick Rylance, Chair of RCUK, said: “A commitment to good research conduct lies at the heart of an effective research system. High standards of integrity underpin the quality and reliability of research outcomes and of the decisions we make about funding.

“The Research Councils have long been committed to maintaining the highest standards. As a signatory of the Universities UK Concordat to support research integrity, RCUK expects all individuals engaged in research – including researchers themselves, support staff, managers and administrators – to abide by its principles and foster a supportive and open environment.”

The Policy and Guidelines are intended to apply across the full spectrum of research and training funded by the Research Councils and should be amplified in specific disciplines by the guidance issued by individual Research Councils, other funders, professional associations and learned societies.