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Good research conduct

Code of Good Research Conduct

The University’s Code of Good Research Conduct sets out the University’s commitment to research integrity and its expectations of those who conduct research in its name.

The University expects the highest standards of research integrity from the researchers it supports, irrespective of the sources of their funding, their area of research, their experience as researchers, whether they are lone scholars or members of a research team or where the research is to be conducted. 

The University’s Commitment to Research Integrity

The University of Manchester is committed to fostering the highest standards of research integrity within a pioneering research culture that values knowledge-creation for its own sake, for the potential benefits it promises humankind and for the ways it enriches higher learning.

The University’s Expectations of good research conduct

It is the responsibility of all researchers and staff supporting research to conduct their research in accordance with the ten Principles set out in its Code of Good Research Conduct and in compliance with relevant University policies. 

PDF Version of the Code of Good Research Conduct

Research misconduct

The University of Manchester is committed to the highest standards of research integrity and takes very seriously any concerns raised about the conduct of research undertaken by any of its staff or students.  Our Code of Practice for Investigating Concerns about the Conduct of Research outlines the process that we follow when we receive any allegations of research misconduct.

Any concerns about the conduct of research or complaints about potential research misconduct should be made to the Vice President for Research via:

Mrs April Lockyer
Head of Research Governance, Ethics and Integrity
University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester
M13 9PL

April.Lockyer@Manchester.ac.uk
Tel: 0161 275 8093
Fax: 0161 275 2445

University expectations

The University expects the highest standards of research integrity from the researchers it supports.  This includes, but is not limited to, people who conduct research as employees; as an independent contractor or consultant; as a research student; as a visiting or emeritus member of staff; or as a member of staff on a joint clinical or honorary contract, irrespective of the sources of their funding, their area of research, their experience as researchers, whether they are lone scholars or members of a research team or where the research is to be conducted.  It is the responsibility of all researchers and staff supporting research to conduct their research in accordance with the ten Principles set out below and in compliance with relevant University policies. 

Principles of Good Research Conduct

i. Excellence

ii. Honesty

iii. Openness

iv. Rigour

v. Safety

vi. Ethical responsibility

vii. Responsible management

viii. Regulatory compliance

ix. Professional standards

x. Report research misconduct

The University's commitment

Researchers can expect of the University:

i. A strong commitment to research integrity from its senior management
Research Integrity is given priority in the University’s strategic plan, Manchester 2020.  Leadership in taking forward this priority is provided by the Associate Vice President for Compliance, Risk and Research Integrity.

ii. Clearly stated standards and expectations
This Code of Good Research Conduct sets out the University’s expectations of its researchers.  It is supported by a suite of policies and guidelines clarifying the standards of good research practice expected by the University. 

iii. Support to help researchers comply with standards of good research conduct
To provide administrative support to enable researchers to conduct research in accordance with the standards of good research conduct.  For researchers required to comply with regulatory standards, the University’s Research Governance, Ethics and Integrity Team provides information and support for individuals conducting research in regulated areas such as clinical trials and research involving human tissue, human or animal subjects.

iv. Support to develop excellent researchers
The University is committed to providing suitable learning, training and mentoring opportunities to encourage the development of its researchers.

v. Oversight of the implementation of the Code of Good Research Conduct
Research will be monitored or audited based on an assessment of risk so that the University can be assured of compliance with regulations and standards.  The University will report annually to its Board of Governors on the implementation of its Code of Good Research Conduct.

vi. A robust and fair approach to dealing with allegations of research misconduct
All allegations of research misconduct are received centrally and considered under the University’s Code of Practice for Investigating Concerns about the Conduct of Research.

Report research misconduct

Researchers should be aware of the extreme seriousness of research misconduct.  Staff and students of the University have an obligation to report suspected research misconduct in accordance with the University’s Code of Practice for Investigating Concerns about the Conduct of Research.

Ethical responsibility

Researchers should have respect for all participants in, and subjects of, research including humans, animals, the environment and cultural objects. The University expects all researchers to consider the ethical implications of their research and to be aware of their responsibilities to society, the environment, their profession, the University, research participants and the organisation(s) funding the research. 

Responsible management

Established researchers are responsible for nurturing researchers of the future; fostering a constructive and supportive environment without undue pressure and ensuring that appropriate supervision, mentoring and training are provided. 

Professional standards

Researchers should observe the standards of practice set out in guidelines published by professional societies, funding agencies and other relevant bodies, where appropriate and available. They must ensure that they have the necessary skills and training to conduct the research.

Registration with professional bodies of students conducting research in a clinical setting

It is a Supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that any student undertaking a ‘clinical activity’ (e.g., history taking, evaluation or examination of patients, invasive or non-invasive procedures, tests etc.) as part of their programme of study/research is registered with the appropriate professional body in the UK, where this is required. In addition, in all instances of research in the clinical setting, specific and informed consent must be sought. The status of the researcher must be clear to a participant i.e. there should be no misconception that the person is a registered practitioner in the UK if they are not.

Brief guidance provided by some professional bodies on requirement for registration is given below. However, it is the Supervisor’s responsibility to establish whether or not the specific work undertaken by his/her student requires professional registration. If you as a Supervisor are not sure about whether registration is required or not, then it is your responsibility to contact the professional body to find out.

Any communications with the relevant professional bodies in this regard must be by email with responses retained for future reference.

Permitting a student without relevant registration with a UK professional body, to carry out any activity that requires such registration, may result in disciplinary action by the professional body and the University.

Guidance from professional bodies:

General Medical Council

Any contact and evaluation of patients would require registration. Only non-medical research e.g. questionnaires and observational studies with no patient assessments of any type can be conducted without registration.

General Dental Council 

A student can only be in a clinical setting without registration if they are en route to becoming qualified or are qualified but require registration to practise. In some cases, they can work as a trainee dentist when they complete, before their registration comes through, if they have indemnity/course clearance. Anything that constitutes the 'practice of dentistry' requires registration or training for registration.

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Students can perform tasks without registration that are considered Band 4 or below e.g. performing questionnaires. They can be in the clinical setting and observe but cannot undertake any clinical practice without registration.

Regulatory compliance

Researchers are expected to make themselves aware of, and comply with, any legislation or regulations that govern their research.  Links to areas of regulatory compliance can be found on the left hand side of this page.

Openness

Researchers must be open when conducting and communicating their research (subject to the terms and conditions of any research contracts and the protection of intellectual property and commercial exploitation). This includes:

  • The disclosure of any conflicts of interest; 
  • The reporting of research data collection methods;
  • The analysis and interpretation of data; 
  • Making all research findings widely available (including sharing negative results as appropriate);
  • Disseminating research in a way that will have the widest impact;
  • And promoting public engagement/involvement in research.

Excellence

Researchers are expected to strive for excellence when conducting their research; aiming to design, conduct, produce and disseminate work of the highest quality and ethical standards.

Honesty

Researchers must be honest in respect of their own actions and in their responses to the actions of others. This applies to the whole range of research activity including:

  • Applying for funding; 
  • Experimental and protocol design; 
  • Generating, recording, analysing and interpreting data; 
  • Publishing and exploiting results; 
  • Acknowledging the direct and indirect contributions of colleagues, collaborators and others;
  • And reporting cases of suspected misconduct in a responsible and appropriate manner.

Rigour

Researchers must be thorough and meticulous in performing their research. Care must be taken:

  • To use the appropriate methods; 
  • To adhere to an agreed protocol (where appropriate); 
  • When drawing interpretations and conclusions from the research; 
  • And when communicating the results.

Safety

All research should be conducted in a manner which, so far as is reasonably practicable, is safe for researchers, participants, the University and the environment.  Researchers must familiarise themselves, and comply with, the obligations set down by the University in its policies and guidelines, as well as relevant legislation and regulatory practice in this area.