Statement on Research Integrity

Advice & guidance

Dr Martin Turner is the senior member of staff responsible for overseeing research integrity.

Dr Cheryl Smythe is the Institute’s first point of contact for anyone wanting more information on matters of research integrity.

Mr. Simon Jones is the confidential liaison for whistle-blowers or any other person wishing to raise concerns about the integrity of research being conducted under the auspices of The Babraham Institute.

Policies & procedures

The Institute has in place policies, processes and activities to foster and support integrity in research practices and these are regularly reviewed and developed to reflect changing needs.

These include:

  • Staff Code of Conduct
  • Research Misconduct Policy
  • Quality Assurance of Research
  • Whistleblowing Policy
  • Disciplinary Policy
  • Authorship Policy

The Institute’s Research Misconduct Policy is published on this website (https://www.babraham.ac.uk/about-us/governance-and-funding/research-misconduct-policy) and describes the processes in place for managing an allegation of research misconduct against an individual or individuals working under the auspices of the Babraham Institute. The Policy describes processes for both initial and full investigations and refers to disciplinary action(s) that might follow from the investigations if it is determined that research misconduct has occurred. Timescales are included to ensure timely investigation of allegations. Consequent to the recent establishment of the Institute’s Research Integrity Committee this policy is under review in order to ensure that it meets all current needs and a future iteration will include details of an appeals process. 

Actions & activities

Actions and activities in place that contribute to open, ethical, rigorous and reproducible research include:

  • The Institute has convened a Research Integrity Committee (RIC), as a sub-committee of the Babraham Executive Committee (BEC), chaired by the Associate Institute Director Dr Turner and whose membership is:
    • Associate Institute Director (Chair)
    • Deputy Director of Science
    • Head of Epigenetics Programme
    • Deputy Director for Operations and Chief Information Officer
    • Head of Strategic Research Development
    • Head of Research Operations
    • Head of Human Resources
    • Head of Finance
    • Graduate Tutor
    • Head of Bioinformatics
    • Chair of Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB)
    • Chair of Human Ethics Advisory Group
    • Tenured Group Leader
    • Tenure Track Group Leader
    • Communications Manager
    • Contracts Manager
    • Head of Health & Safety, Safeguarding and Quality Assurance of Research
    • Deputy Head of Health & Safety, Safeguarding, Quality Assurance of Research
  • The RIC has the remit to:
    • Play a leading role in building an inclusive and open culture which promotes rigorous and reproducible research
    • Promote awareness and reflection on the challenges of trust faced by scientists and to help identify ways of supporting colleagues to meet these challenges
    • Provide support for resolving disagreements between colleagues over the use of data before they escalate into allegations of misconduct
    • Coordinate formal investigations into allegations of misconduct
  • The institute has written policies in place that support the remit of the committee and are available on the intranet to all staff
  • A guide on good scientific practice written by UKRI-BBSRC is provided to all new scientific staff
  • All new students participate in a talk on research ethics and integrity
  • A checklist is provided to all student supervisors to ensure they discuss research ethics and integrity upon lab induction
  • Research integrity and data integrity is highlighted on bioinformatics training courses
  • The staff induction includes a section on ethics
  • The Institute conducts regular quality assurance reviews which include considerations of ethics
  • The Institute maintains an Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB) for the Babraham Research Campus that scrutinises its animal research. The AWERB invites lay observers to attend its meetings and to participate
  • Staff complete declaration of interests’ information
  • The contract of employment for all scientific staff includes an agreement to the UKRI-BBSRC policy ‘Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice’
  • The Institute has commissioned a series of lectures, open to all, to be given by external speakers with expertise in Research Integrity
  • We promote safe and inclusive working environments and actively promote equality and diversity
  • The Institute is a partner of the Horizon 2020 Open Responsible research and Innovation to further Outstanding kNowledge (ORION) project on open science

 

Investigations of research misconduct
There have been no formal investigations of research misconduct in the academic year 2019/2020.

Research environment
The institute is nurturing a culture in which staff at all levels feel empowered to raise issues of misconduct without reprisal. Furthermore, for those accused but innocent of misconduct our processes are designed to avoid reputational damage.