Press release

Concordat aims to strengthen UK research integrity

The Wellcome Trust has signed an agreement to promote the highest standards in research, which launches today at Universities UK.

The 'Concordat to support research integrity' aims to provide a comprehensive national framework for good research conduct and has been signed by Universities UK, research councils, the Wellcome Trust and government departments.

Launching the Concordat, Professor Eric Thomas, President of Universities UK, said: "The UK enjoys a world-class reputation for research. We have less than 1 per cent of the world's population, yet we undertake 5 per cent of global research and produce about 14 per cent of the most highly cited papers.

"Our universities carry out a substantial amount of the UK's research and they play a central part in ensuring it is of the highest quality. In a hugely competitive and global knowledge-based economy, the integrity of research is key to the UK's wider success.

"Research in the UK is already subject to rigorous safeguards and the Concordat represents a shared commitment to research founded on integrity, rigour and excellence. Universities take their research responsibilities very seriously and we recognise that any misconduct must be dealt with robustly and transparently. However, it is equally important that we focus on the positive work being done to enable researchers to work in a supportive environment which nurtures integrity and rigour, lessening the chances of misconduct in the first place.

"The Concordat's broad principles promote transparency and better ways of working, complementing existing systems. It represents a commitment from across the UK's research communities to strengthen our approaches to ensuring rigour and integrity for all aspects of research."

Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "We welcome the launch of the Research Integrity Concordat. Excellent research can only happen where there are the highest standards of rigour and integrity.

"It is right that the Concordat emphasises the importance of developing a culture of best practice, rather than focusing only on what happens when things go wrong, to ensure continued public trust in the research enterprise. As far as we know, there is not a crisis that we need to solve, but we do believe it is important to provide clearer guidance of our expectations and to increase transparency.

"The Concordat clearly sets out the different responsibilities of researchers, employers and funders, and we hope that it will provide a focus for efforts to continue to strengthen research integrity across the UK. The Wellcome Trust has been pleased to be part of the working group and to be a signatory to the Concordat."