Peer review in scientific publications - Science and Technology Committee Contents

Supplementary written evidence submitted by the Research Councils UK (PR 67a)


1.  This supplementary memorandum is submitted, at the request of the Committee, in support of previously submitted written evidence by RCUK and represents its independent views. It does not include, or necessarily reflect the views of the Knowledge and Innovation Group in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

2.  In July 2010 RCUK wrote to organisations represented on the Research Integrity Futures Working Group to share the final decision of the RCUK Executive Group (RCUKEG) regarding the recommendations made in the Working Group report. One of the strands of activity proposed by RCUK, in discussion with UUK and HEFCE, was the idea of a "Concordat" style document setting out principles on research integrity to which research funders can all sign up.

3.  Research funders have a range of priorities and perspectives, but there are a number of core principles upon which most funders would agree. It was considered that a concordat would be useful to set out for the community these shared views, perspectives and expectations. RCUK, together with all funders, recognises the importance of this agenda and the concordat is just one strand of work being taken forward in this area.

4.  Since then, Universities UK (UUK) has taken the lead on work in this area, working closely with RCUK, the UK Funding Councils, the Wellcome Trust and the Department of Health. UUK is the representative organisation for the UK's universities and is also not a funder of research itself, which makes it the ideal organisation to lead on the development of this Concordat from a neutral and informed position.

5.  UUK is planning a discussion to decide details of the Concordat to take place during the next few months. Depending on progress made by UUK, RCUK is hopeful that a working draft will be produced by late autumn. Once a working draft is in place, funders will be invited to sign up to the Concordat and agree to abide by the principles set out within. Following this, UUK will lead on developing a mechanism for implementation.

6.  The Concordat is separate from the work of the new UK Research Integrity Office Ltd (UKRIO), which is an independent company limited by guarantee offering an advice and guidance service.[15] The Concordat will, however, be designed to be complementary to the various documents produced by not only UKRIO in its previous incarnation but other bodies which produce guidance and codes of practice for research integrity.

June 2011

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