Research misconduct

The University of Oxford expects all its members to observe the highest standards in the conduct of their research, as set out in its Academic Integrity in Research: Code of Practice and Procedure

Not upholding such standards, either intentionally or through lack of knowledge, damages the scientific process and may harm research participants, colleagues, the University and society as a whole. The University's code also defines the procedure for handling allegations, investigations, and the reporting of research misconduct. Allegations are taken very seriously and the University is committed to ensuring that these are investigated thoroughly and robustly.

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Misconduct for the purpose of the University’s Code and Procedure means fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or deception in proposing, carrying out, or reporting results of research, and deliberate, dangerous or negligent deviations from accepted practice in carrying out research.

It includes failure to follow an agreed protocol if this results in unreasonable risk or harm to humans, other vertebrates or the environment, and facilitating of misconduct in research by collusion in, or concealment of, such actions by others. It also includes any plan or conspiracy or attempt to do any of these things. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretation or judgement in evaluating research methods or results, or misconduct (including gross misconduct) unrelated to research processes.
 

When suspected research misconduct involves external funding, the University must comply with any additional regulations, policies and reporting obligations required by the funder.

Misconduct or poor practice in research should be challenged and sources of advice and support for University members include:

  • fellow students and colleagues
  • supervisors
  • mentors
  • senior tutors
  • directors of graduate studies
  • heads of department
  • research ethics committees
  • Research Services
  • Clinical Trials and Research Governance team
  • UK Research Integrity Office

Initial queries from students or researchers regarding research ethics and integrity should therefore be raised within your department or faculty as appropriate.

Contact details of central sources of advice include:

Kathryn Dally, Senior Assistant Registrar, Research Services: Kathryn.dally@admin.ox.ac.uk
Clinical Trials and Research Governance Team: ctrg@admin.ox.ac.uk  

As set out in the Procedure in the event of suspected misconduct in research, formal allegations of misconduct in research should be made in writing to the Registrar (Professor Ewan McKendrick).

Third parties (eg representatives of research funders, research journals, professional bodies) wishing to raise concerns, in confidence, about the integrity of research at the University of Oxford are invited, in the first instance, to contact Kathryn Dally, Research Services, University of Oxford.

As set out in the Procedure in the event of suspected misconduct in research, formal allegations of misconduct in research should be made in writing to the Registrar (Professor Ewan McKendrick).

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