Reporting misconduct in research

Information about how research misconduct may be reported, protections for whistleblowers and related policies.

We can only ensure that the excellent reputation of the research conducted within the University is maintained by taking misconduct seriously. For the University, this means using robust, transparent and fair processes for dealing with allegations of misconduct, having clear and confidential mechanisms for reporting allegations of misconduct, and providing protection to people who make allegations in good faith. For researchers, this means not only ensuring that your own research is conducted properly, but telling the University when you discover that others have not met our high standards.

Reporting misconduct

If you believe that someone is acting inappropriately in their research, is using questionable research practices or is in breach of  legal, ethical or professional standards, then you should contact the Chair of the Research Strategy, Policy and Performance Committee to make a complaint. The Chair of is Professor Iain Gillespie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise.

It is important that you bring concerns to the University’s attention at the earliest opportunity. It is not necessary to provide, or to wait for, ‘proof’ of malpractice. The disclosure should, however, contain as much detail as possible of the grounds for concern, including the names of individuals and significant dates, locations or events, where applicable.

Allegations of misconduct will be handled in a confidential manner wherever possible, and the University’s Whistleblowing Policy establishes protections for anyone who makes an allegation of misconduct to an appropriate body in good faith. For further information, please see the Misconduct policies and procedures section below.

Misconduct policies and procedures

Research Code of Conduct

Complaints of misconduct in research are handled in section 6 of the Research Code of Conduct. The Code explains how complaints should be made and investigated, that the identities of people who report misconduct will be kept confidential wherever possible, amongst other rules. If you are not sure whether an activity constitutes misconduct, some examples of common kinds of misconduct may be found in the above section 6 and also in section 3 of Research Councils UK's Policy and Guidelines on Governance of Good Research Conduct.

Whistleblowing Policy

The University’s Whistleblowing Policy also applies to complaints of misconduct in research, and is designed to assist and protect people who report malpractice and impropriety of all kinds within the University. The Whistleblowing Policy stipulates that reports of fraud or financial impropriety should be made directly to the Director of Finance, and that other complaints of misconduct or impropriety (those not related to research) should be made directly to the Registrar.

Procedure for the Investigation of Misconduct in Research

The University uses the UK Research Integrity Office’s Procedure for the Investigation of Misconduct in Research to investigate complaints of misconduct in research, as recommended in the Research Code of Conduct and the Discipline Ordinance Policy. This document outlines the procedures which will be taken once a complaint has been received by the Chair of the Research Policy Committee.

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Who to contact

Research Support Services Contact details

Tel - (0116) 252 2437 or (0116) 229 7763

Fax - (0116) 252 2028

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