Dr Martin Turner is the senior member of staff responsible for overseeing research integrity and is the Institute’s first point of contact for anyone wanting more information. 67
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.
The Institute’s Research Integrity Steering Group (RISG) reports to the Babraham Executive Committee (BEC). RISG is chaired by the Associate Institute Director Dr Turner and includes the following roles as members:
The RISG has the remit to:
The Institute has in place a comprehensive overarching Research Integrity policy (based on grant awarding body, UK and worldwide research integrity standards) underpinned by a suite of Institute policies supporting research integrity, including a Code of Conduct; Research Misconduct; Authorship; Whistleblowing; Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; Use of animals in Research; Open Access; Data Protect and Research data protection. These are available to all staff on the Institute’s intranet and with some policies available externally on the Institute’s website. To put this into practice within the framework of the Research Integrity assurance review, the following actions are in place to ensure open, ethical, rigorous and reproducible research.
The Institute has in place policies, processes and activities to foster and support integrity in research practices, and these are reviewed regularly and developed to reflect changing needs. Progress in this area from 2021-2022 includes:
The following activities aim to embed awareness of research integrity, develop required skills and create a safe, positive and supportive working environment:
From last year:
ethics and integrity upon lab induction.
The Institute’s Research Misconduct Policy is published on its website 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 Steering Group 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.
Investigations of research misconduct
There have been no formal investigations of research misconduct in 2022.
The Institute received a single expression of concern for consideration, and this underwent preliminary evaluation but was determined to be poor academic practice and did not proceed to a formal investigation. The individual concerned undertook training.
This incident reinforced the importance of training for researchers in good data management practices.
The Institute has a variety of forums to enable researchers to communicate their concerns in confidence, including procedures for reporting concerns of misconduct by a third-party employee at either Institute premises, or the premises of their employer. Such procedures can be found in the Institute’s Research Misconduct policy.
Awareness of how to express concerns and respond to poor behavior is being facilitated by participation in an ‘active bystander’ training programme. More than 200 staff attended this training at the Institute. There will then be an ongoing annual session of active bystander training for new Institute members and refresher training for existing staff. Staff also attended a relaunched Dignity at Work training.