Research Integrity Annual Statement 2019
This report summarises the actions and activities undertaken by the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute to promote good research practices and to embed an institutional culture of research integrity.
Actions and activities
Researchers at the Institute are supported by a dedicated research integrity adviser, who oversees training and raising awareness; helps develop and implement research policies and guidelines; conducts pre-submission manuscript reviews; and is the internal and external point of contact for matters relating to research conduct. Research integrity is absolutely fundamental to all aspects of our research and all activities undertaken by the research integrity adviser are endorsed by the Institute Director and Senior Management Team.
Face-to-face research integrity training is mandatory for all our researchers, from PhD students to group leaders and forms part of the induction process for all new researchers. In 2019, we ran 10 research integrity induction workshops, 8 scientific writing and avoiding plagiarism workshops, 9 data management workshops, one digital image processing seminar and one workshop on R for biologists. We had 98% attendance at our training, with 100% of our postgraduate researchers (PGRs) attending.
2. Research integrity champions
This year, we introduced research integrity champions to each research group and each core facility team to support our group leaders in raising awareness of research integrity and implementing research policies. Our 35 research integrity champions also interact with the Institute's research integrity adviser and act as a conduit for disseminating guidance on good research practices.
3. External engagement
Following on from our World View piece in Nature in 2018 (www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05140-x), we have continued to share best practice with external organisations, including Cancer Research UK, The Royal Society, VIRT2UE and Vitae. We attended The Royal Society's Research culture: changing expectations conference in 2018 and contributed to the conference report published in 2019 (royalsociety.org/-/media/policy/projects/changing-expectations/changing-expectations-conference-report.pdf). We have participated in the Horizon2020 funded VIRT2UE Delphi study (osf.io/pmxaf) "Development of consensus on essential virtues for ethics and research integrity training using a modified Delphi approach". We have also contributed to the Vitae research integrity landscape study (www.vitae.ac.uk/events/research-integrity-workshop).
We are subscribers to the UK Research Integrity Office and attended their 2019 annual conference. In addition, we attended the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity and presented a poster "Using training to positively reinforce best practice in research" on our research integrity training programme. We have also joined the recently formed Scottish Research Integrity Network.
Information on research integrity practices, policies and training material are shared at the Beatson Institute via Research Integrity pages on our intranet. In 2019, we launched an external facing research integrity webpage on the Beatson Institute's website (www.beatson.gla.ac.uk/About/research-integrity.html).
Processes for dealing with allegations of research misconduct
We have a Misconduct in Research Policy, which is in the Beatson Institute's Staff Handbook that is given to all new staff and PGRs. It is also available on our intranet and discussed in the research integrity induction. The policy sets out the procedure for dealing with allegations of research misconduct, including the investigation steps, timescale, team, reporting and recommendations. Subsequent actions are determined by the Institute Director and may conclude with disciplinary procedures. The process is transparent, timely, robust, fair and appropriate.
Research misconduct investigations
In 2019, there were no formal research misconduct investigations at the CRUK Beatson Institute.
Reporting research misconduct
The open and collaborative environment of the Beatson Institute facilitates the communication of research misconduct concerns and allegations. In addition, the research integrity adviser is available for staff and PGRs to have confidential discussions and to raise concerns or report research misconduct. In line with the concordat to support research integrity, our research integrity induction emphasises researchers' responsibility to report research misconduct. Staff and PGRs making such allegations are protected as described in our Misconduct in Research and Whistleblower policies.