Good practice in research integrity
Excellence in research practice
The College expects all researchers to conduct their research according to the highest possible standards to enable public trust and transparency. Researchers should ensure that their research is conducted with thoroughness, integrity and honesty and uses appropriate methods and procedures. The process of gathering and collating data, interpreting results and reporting and presenting findings should be carried out with integrity, reliability and trustworthiness. The practices of manipulating, falsifying or misrepresenting data constitite research misconduct.
Researchers should acknowledge the contributions of colleagues or collaborators and follow the Collegs guidelines on Authorship. Researchers are expected to be honest in relation to the work of their colleagues and peers and colluding in, or concealing, the misconduct of others is not compatible with an environment which encourages intellectual honesty.
Transparency in research
Making sure that research findings are made publicly accessible enables public trust and transparency and helps to avoid duplication of effort. Researchers should ensure that data and the methods of analysis and interpretation of data used, are available and are reproducible and conflicts of interest are declared. Although research transparency guidelines vary by discipline, there are a few principles which apply to research in general. This typically includes registering research on a public database, making data and methods available to others for further research, the submission of work to Peer review and publishing open research (Open Access). This includes negative research findings, which are consistently underreported. Policy makers, regulators, doctors, other researchers, and public health professionals should have access to all the available evidence in order to make informed decisions.
Furthermore, clinical trials are required to report their results within one year of study completion (or six months for paediatric trials) on the public databases they are registered with. This is often a legal requirement and must be followed regardless of the outcome or the publication status. For further information see the page Register and report results on a public database .
It is important that conflicts of interest are considered and declared. Before engaging in an external interest, all College members must submit this new interest to their Head of Department for approval in line with the Conflicts of interest policy.
Researchers should be aware of interference in their research, from influencing the direction of the work, to limiting the ability to publish, as well as coercion that could negatively affect both your reputation and that of the College. Misuse of your work should also be considered by organisations and institutions who operate in nations whose democratic and ethical values are different from our own. Further information can be found in the trusted research section.
Legal and professional standards in research
Researchers should ensure that their research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards. This may include Obtaining ethics approval, legislation governing the use of animals in research and adhering to policies related to research governance.
Research integrity training
Training is an important part of understanding best practice and research governace requirements. A range of training programmes (face to face training and e-learning programs) are available throughout the College to support research integrity covering topics such as plagiarism, copyright, intellectual property, data management, peer review, research integrity, research ethics and more.
Staff are encouraged to consult the RGIT events webpage for a current list of upcoming workshops and events and the College’s Research integrity training opportunities for a full list of training programmes.