Instances of unacceptable research practice

UK Universities need to re-double efforts to foster research integrity – further demonstrate the rigor of research outputs + safeguard reputation.

The UK Government needs to be assured that institutions and individual researchers receiving publicly-funded research are upholding high standards of research integrity.


This was a key message from the 2015 annual conference of the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO).

The continued occurrence in the UK of questionable research practices and outright research misconduct undermines the efforts of bodies like the Royal Society who are pressing the case for continued investment in UK higher education research.


We also heard from Dr Phil Campbell, Editor-in-Chief of NATURE Publishing Group, on the pressures and perils that reduce research reproducibility:

  • Number of corrections with respect to articles submitted to Nature’s journals = ~5%.
  • When an article is retracted it tends to be as a result of bad laboratory practices.
  • Phil highlighted Nature’s commentary pieces on:
    • raising standards for preclinical cancer research:

  • In May 2013 Nature tightened up its requirements relating to reporting standards –
    • eliminating length limits on research methods sections;
    • increasing the ‘scrutiny of statistics;
    • re-emphasising the importance of data and protocol sharing.

[Nature has commissioned an independent body to evaluate effectiveness of these measures]

  • Nature has started to do systematic reproducibility studies.
  • Nature is considering the establishment of a particular mechanism to enable negative results to be published.


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