Published: 30 October 2019
The NIHR has reaffirmed its commitment to rigorous standards in health and care research by signing up to the revised Concordat to Support Research Integrity.
The Concordat to Support Research Integrity, first published in 2012, provides a national framework for good research conduct and its governance, outlining the standards expected of researchers, employers of researchers and funders of research.
Signatories to the concordat - which include the NIHR, UK Research and Innovation, the Wellcome Trust and other research funders - and members of the research community are expected to:
- uphold the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research
- ensure that research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards
- support a research environment that is underpinned by a culture of integrity and based on good governance, best practice, and support for the development of researchers
- use transparent, timely, robust and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct should they arise
- work together to strengthen the integrity of research and to review progress regularly and openly.
NIHR-funded researchers are required to abide by the principles of the concordat.
The earlier version of the concordat has now been revised to respond to recommendations from an inquiry on research integrity led by Science and Technology Select Committee in 2018.
Changes introduced to this revised Concordat to Support Research Integrity include:
- individual research funders will put sanctions in place that will be enforced if the conditions of the concordat are not met
- ‘expectations’ have been replaced by ‘commitments’ or ‘requirements’, to make it easier for research organisations to understand what is required of them
- research organisations must send a link to their annual statement to the concordat secretariat, which will mean that the sector is better able to demonstrate its commitment to the concordat.
An annual forum will convene to assess progress and work on good practice for the sector, from which a statement will be made publicly available. In addition, the signatories have committed to regularly reviewing the concordat's principles every five years to ensure its commitments are met.