Research Integrity

Our research ethos is about excellence, honesty, openness, accountability and integrity. We are committed to supporting our researchers to work to the highest standards, conduct responsible research, and produce robust and reproducible data. We have created an open and collaborative research environment in order to achieve this.

In addition to research policies that guide our researchers in best practice, we have appointed a dedicated Research Integrity Adviser who helps foster our culture of research integrity by:

• Providing advice on good research practices and research integrity
• Overseeing and delivering research integrity training
• Reviewing manuscripts prior to submission for publication
• Supporting researchers with publication queries or research integrity issues
• Developing research policies
• Supporting policy compliance, including data archiving
• Disseminating policy updates
• Co-ordinating the research integrity champions
• Acting as an internal and external point of contact for research misconduct concerns and allegations
• Undertaking initial research misconduct investigations and reporting to the Director
• Engaging with the sector
• Writing the annual research integrity statement

Recognising that research integrity comes into all areas of research from experimental design, collecting, analysing and managing data, reporting and publishing data to writing grant applications, we have developed policies, guidelines, peer review and training to cover a broad spectrum of working practices that underpin a healthy research environment. We also have research integrity champions embedded within each research group and each core facility team to foster grassroots good research conduct. We are subscribers to the UK Research Integrity Office and follow the principles of the Concordat to Support Research Integrity.

Policies relating to research integrity

Our policies relating to research integrity, which are in-line with Cancer Research UK's Research Integrity Policy and grant terms and conditions, include:

• Code of Good Practice in Research
• Publishing and Open Access
• Ethics
• Data Preservation
• Whistleblowing
• Misconduct in Research

CRUK Beatson Institute policies are available to our researchers on our intranet and to external researchers upon request.

Procedure concerning anonymous allegations about published data

We are committed to publishing data that are true and accurate, and to responding to and, if necessary, addressing any issues raised by the scientific community about our published data. Corresponding authors can be contacted directly, or we have a procedure, involving the Institute's Research Integrity Adviser, for when anonymous allegations of problematic data in publications are made. As a first step, the Institute's Research Integrity Adviser will informally investigate these concerns. This involves either requesting the primary data from the authors or accessing them on the Beatson server. These data will be reviewed to determine the validity and seriousness of the allegation, and a report submitted to the Institute Director.

If the Director decides, based on the report, that an error has occurred as the result of an honest mistake, then a corrected figure will be prepared using the correct original primary data and the journal concerned contacted. No further action will be taken. In particular, the Institute will not engage directly with anonymous individuals. The Institute also advises its researchers not to engage directly with anonymous individuals.

If the Director decides that an error might have occurred as the result of a deliberate intention to deceive, then a preliminary research misconduct investigation will be initiated, in accordance with the Institute's Misconduct in Research Policy [link to policy].

Where the primary data are not available to check, the data preservation policies at the time the data were generated, as well as figure preparation practices at the time, will be taken into consideration to determine whether any further action is possible or required by the Institute. In some cases, due to the length of time that has passed since the data were generated or the figures prepared, and whether the author is still an active researcher, it may not be possible to resolve the allegation. In such cases, no further action will be taken and as a rule, allegations made about data published more than 10 years ago will not be investigated.

Training

Research integrity training is mandatory for all our researchers, from PhD students to group leaders, and is delivered in-house by scientists with relevant research experience. As well as outlining our policies and expectations, our face-to-face workshops raise awareness, encourage behaviour change and offer opportunities to discuss important issues underpinning research integrity. Our bespoke training covers generic issues but course content is specific to the work being done at the Institute.

Research Integrity workshops:

• Research integrity induction
• Avoiding plagiarism
• Data management and sharing
• Responsible image processing
• Appropriate use of statistical tests and experimental design
• R for biologists

Guidelines for researchers

Guidelines for our researchers in managing and disseminating research data are available on our intranet and to external researchers upon request:

• Managing and sharing research data
• Research integrity checklist
• Publishing checklist
• Open access publishing

Peer review

Data in research papers and funding applications are peer-reviewed informally at lab meetings and Institute seminars, and prior to submission by authors, other members of the Institute and the Research Integrity Adviser.

Pre-submission manuscript reviews

Our primary research papers and reviews are checked for plagiarism using iThenticate. In addition, accuracy of experimental methods and statistical analyses, data descriptions, figures and figure legends in primary research papers are assessed for clear, informative and accurate reporting and for adherence to discipline standards.

Research integrity champions

The research integrity champions are selected by each Group or Team Leader for their interest and knowledge of research integrity and willingness to undertake the role. The role is voluntary and may be held by any member of a research group, ranging from Group Leader, senior technician, postdoc to PhD student. The research integrity champions’ responsibilities are:

• Point of contact within their research group for the research integrity adviser
• Reinforce the work of the research integrity adviser
• Help support and promote good research practices within their research group
• Be familiar with the Beatson’s research integrity policies
• Disseminate research integrity updates, news and policy revisions
• Aid the implementation of new or revised research integrity policies
• Facilitate archiving data associated with their group’s publications
• Attend the annual research integrity champion meeting
• Participate in research integrity projects at the Beatson

The names of the research integrity champions are available on our intranet and to external researchers upon request.

Useful links

CRUK Beatson Institute Use of Animals in Our Research
CRUK Blog: Embedding research integrity at the core of our science
Cancer Research UK's Research Integrity Policy
Cancer Research UK's Grant Terms and Conditions
Concordat to Support Research Integrity
CRUK’s Research integrity news
Give every paper a read for reproducibility
UK Research Integrity Office
UKRIO research integrity checklist

Point of contact

Catherine Winchester, Senior Research Adviser - Grants and Research Integrity
c.winchester@beatson.gla.ac.uk
Tel: 0141 330 1871

Research

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