Image from a laboratory for illustrationResearch Misconduct can be characterised as actions or questionable research practices that fall short of the standards of ethics, research and scholarship required to ensure that the integrity of research is upheld. It can cause harm to people and the environment, wastes resources, undermines the research record and damages the credibility of research.

falsification, fabrication and plagiarism"

It is often defined by ‘falsification, fabrication and plagiarism’ and can include making up data or results, incorrectly attributing authorship, gift authorship, manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data, graphs, images or results.

Questionable research practices encompass a much wider group of misdemeanours, poor research design and other unhealthy practices. Some of these may be deployed in ignorance of the potential consequences for the integrity of the research rather than attempt to mislead – this is often referred to as ‘sloppy science’.

The Colleges Research misconduct policy details the procedures for reporting and investigation of potential research misconduct allegations.

What are the consequences of research misconduct?

The consequences of research misconduct can be severe including preventable illness or the loss of human life due to misinformation in the literature or continued citing of retracted work.  It can also result in wasted resources, both human and financial, when newer research or work is based on previous flawed or fraudulent research.

Funding agencies often require that cases of research misconduct are reported to them which can be damaging to the careers of those who commit misconduct and there is a financial cost to the institution in investigating allegations.

The retraction of papers and reputational risks of misconduct can be damaging to the research careers of those who commit misconduct