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Research governance

The University has an obligation to ensure that public funds are used effectively and without wastage, and that our actions are open and transparent. Key to this is promoting and facilitating best practice in research, with an emphasis on good data management and ensuring the dignity, safety and well-being of researchers and participants, both human and animal. To meet these obligations, the following structure has been put in place.

Governance structure

The University is responsible for:

  • Articulating and publicising applicable standards
  • Training new and existing staff
  • Acting as the accountable guarantor to external bodies

Deans of Faculty are responsible for:

  • Assurance and enhancement of the quality of the research supervision provided by Faculty
  • Establishment and maintenance of academic standards in both teaching and research
  • Ensuring arrangements are in place for the effective management of staff and their performance

Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring that:

  • Each member of the research team conducts research to the highest professional standards
  • Each member of the research team receives sufficient training and information to perform the tasks allocated
  • Resources available for the project are efficiently utilised
  • Research outputs are of the best quality

The primary responsibility for ensuring good governance and ethical practice does, however, rest with the individual researcher. Staff and students can find helpful information about key considerations for their research on our pages.

Allegations of research misconduct

Research that fails to comply with our principles of good conduct may give rise to a complaint of misconduct. Although a rare occurrence, research misconduct is handled very seriously by the University, and we're committed to ensuring that any such complaints are investigated with thoroughness and rigour.

Research misconduct includes, but may not be restricted to, the following:

  • Fraud – the manipulation/invention/selective use of data/findings with an intention to deceive (including the misquotation/misrepresentation of other authors)
  • Plagiarism – the deliberate copying of data/text without permission or acknowledgement
  • Collusion – the deliberate participation in the research misconduct of another person
  • Persecution – retaliation against a person who brings charges of misconduct in good faith
  • Malicious accusation – bringing a charge of misconduct against another person in bad faith
  • Denigration – the deprecation of the worth of another person's work (including failure to give fair and appropriate credit for the work done by junior staff)
  • Interference – damage to/removal of another person's research-related property
  • Negligence – the culpable departure from legal, administrative and ethical practices in research that involves human or animal subjects
  • Non-compliance – the failure to adhere to terms and conditions that have been entered into in order to receive funding (including failure to get ethics committee approval and disobeying the University's, funder's or legal requirements)

We address allegations of misconduct with the following legal requirements in mind:

Human Rights Act 1998

Freedom of Information Law in Scotland

Data Protection Act 1998

Please refer to the University Procedure for Handling Allegations of Research Misconduct  for further details.

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