Research Integrity Annual Statement 2020
This report summarises the actions and activities undertaken by the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute to promote the generation of high quality, robust and ethical research and to embed an institutional culture of research integrity in 2020.
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; supports data queries, including those on PubPeer; 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.
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 2020, we initially held face-to-face training and then moved to virtual video conferencing during the COVID-19 lockdown and requirement to work at home. We held 7 research integrity induction workshops, 5 scientific writing and avoiding plagiarism workshops, 4 data management workshops, one digital image processing seminar and one voluntary workshop on R for biologists. We had high attendance at our research integrity training (Induction – 98%, Plagiarism awareness – 96%, Data management – 100% and Digital image processing – 82%).
Promoting research integrity in publications
We endorse the core values of research integrity in our publications; honesty, ethics, rigour, openness and transparency and accountability. As an institute we are fully committed to open access publishing and as such all our papers are published under the CC BY 4.0 licence to maximise readership and use. We are encouraging researchers to use the CRedIT taxonomy to define authors’ precise contributions to ensure appropriate credit is given and authors are accountable for their data. To promote transparency and reproducibility in our papers we are encouraging the use of unique resource IDs obtained from the Research Resource Identifiers Portal (RRID), appropriate data presentation, such as the use of SuperPlots, and clear descriptions of data and methodology. To disseminate changes in practice, we have revised our publication checklist, which was developed to support researchers to adhere to the publishing requirements of journal publishers and CRUK.
Research Integrity Champions
Our 35 research integrity champions, embedded within each research group and each core facility team, have played an invaluable role in promoting research integrity and implementing research policies and the revised Concordat to support research integrity. They have facilitated the archiving of published data and participated in an Institute-wide data management survey. The annual meeting of the research integrity champions and the research integrity adviser was held via virtual video conferencing in 2020.
We are subscribers to the UK Research Integrity Office and attended their 2020 virtual annual conference sessions. We have also engaged with external organisations to share practice, including Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, the Scottish Research Integrity Network, the University of Glasgow, the Path2Integrity project, the European Commission and the Japan Agency for Medical Research. We participated in a reproducibility hackathon at the University of Glasgow’s 2020 Research Staff Conference and the Wellcome Trust’s Reimagine Research Culture Café, hosted by the University of Glasgow. We contributed to the European Commission’s scoping meeting and report on the need for scientific reproducibility.
Information on research integrity practices, policies and training material are shared at the Beatson Institute via Research Integrity pages on our intranet, email communication and by dissemination through the Research Integrity Champions.
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 workshop. 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 2020, 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. In 2020, no allegations of research misconduct were made against researchers at the CRUK Beatson Institute.
Concordat to support research integrity
European Commission Reproducibility of scientific results in the EU
Research Resource Identifiers Portal
Samuel J. Lord, Katrina B. Velle, R. Dyche Mullins, Lillian K. Fritz-Laylin; SuperPlots: Communicating reproducibility and variability in cell biology. J Cell Biol 1 June 2020; 219 (6): e202001064.
UK Research Integrity Office
University of Glasgow Research Staff Conference Reproducibility Hackathon (video)