Annual Statement on Research Integrity
The University of Stirling is an international university with pioneering spirit and a global reputation for high-quality teaching and research. We aim to be recognised across the world as a university that addresses the needs of society through innovative and interdisciplinary research, learning and teaching of the highest quality, and by sharing our knowledge with the world.
The University of Stirling is strongly committed to ensuring the highest standards of research integrity in all aspects of its research activities and expects its researchers to maintain a similar commitment. The University of Stirling welcomes the Concordat to Support Research Integrity and is committed to fulfilling its five commitments.
- Upholding the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research.
- Ensuring that research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal, and professional frameworks, obligations and standards.
- Supporting 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.
- Using transparent, timely, robust, and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct when they arise.
- Working together to strengthen the integrity of research and to reviewing progress regularly and openly.
Commitment 5 of the Concordat to Support Research Integrity requires employers of researchers to provide a short annual statement that includes:
- A summary of actions and activities that have been undertaken to support and strengthen understanding and the application of research integrity issues.
- A statement to provide assurance that the processes the institution has in place for dealing with allegations of misconduct are transparent, timely, robust, and fair, and that they continue to be appropriate to the needs of the organisation.
- A high-level statement on any formal investigations of research misconduct that have been undertaken, which will include data on the number of investigations. If no formal investigations have been undertaken this should also be noted.
- A statement on what the institution has learned from any formal investigations of research misconduct that have been undertaken, including what lessons have been learned to prevent the same type of incident re-occurring.
- A statement on how the institution creates and embeds a research environment in which all staff, researchers and students feel comfortable to report instances of misconduct.
This report summarises the activities undertaken at the University of Stirling to promote a culture of research integrity. This Annual Statement summarises the actions and activities undertaken during the 2021/22 Academic Year to strengthen research integrity.
Named Person in accordance with the Concordat
The Named Person in accordance with the Concordat to Support Research Integrity is Professor Judith Phillips OBE, Deputy Principal (Research).
Queries or concerns about research integrity and/or reports of research misconduct should be made through Ms Rachel Beaton, Research Integrity and Governance Manager.
- In November 2021 the University Research Ethics Committee approved a revised version of the panel appointment arrangements to University Research Ethics Committee.
- In May 2022 the University Research Ethics Committee approved a revised version of the University’s guidance document on ethical considerations for visual researchers.
- The University’s electronic ethics review system, launched in November 2020, continues to be used by all staff and students undertaking research activities.
- In September 2021 University Court approved the University’s action plan for the implementation of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. The action plan focuses on the 3 core principles of the Concordat: Environment and Culture, Employment and Professional and Career Development. Research Integrity is embedded throughout the Researcher Development Concordat.
- During 2021/22 the University’s Research Environment Group met regularly to consider and develop our research environment and culture. The Research Environment Group is responsible for coordinating the delivery of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the HR Excellence in Research Award action plans as well as the biennial benchmarking survey Culture, Employment and Development of Academic Researchers (CEDARS).
- In May 2022 the University ran our annual Research Culture Awards to celebrate people and groups who contribute towards a positive and vibrant research environment.
- In November 2021 the Institute for Advanced Studies Executive Committee agreed a set of principles governing professional development for postgraduate research student supervisors. The principles mean that postgraduate research student supervisors are now expected to engage with ongoing professional development as a mandatory requirement with effect from January 2022.
- All Faculty Research Committee meetings have Research Ethics and Integrity as a standing agenda item.
- The University’s REF 2021 results underline the positive impact the University’s research has in tackling real world challenges. Between 2014 and 2021, the University has improved in each of the three pillars of REF assessment. The University’s research environment – incorporating strategy, culture, facilities and interdisciplinary collaboration improved over the period, scoring 85% in the world leading or internationally excellent categories.
- During 2021/22 two new roles have been created within the University’s Research, Innovation and Business Engagement Directorate. Our Contracts and Publications Licences Officer provides support and advice to our research community on the contractual obligations and requirements for both research activity and support for our growth in an open science research environment, delivering the University’s commitment to open science and open access. The Contracts, Risk and Due Diligence Administrator provides operational and administrative aspects of our research contracts and due diligence processes.
- The University of Stirling continues to be a member organisation of the UK Research Integrity Office and we have regularly engaged with their online webinars, annual conference and training offered by them. We also continue to engage with the Association for Research Managers and Administrators Special Interest Groups on research ethics and integrity.
- During 2021/22 the University’s Research Integrity and Governance Manager has been an active participant in several sector wide conferences including, UK Research Integrity Office annual conference, the virtual World Conference on Research Integrity, the OECD Global Anti-Corruption & Integrity Forum and the Higher Education Export Control Association Annual Conference.
- In January 2022 the University of Stirling joined the Young European Research University Network (YERUN), a cluster of highly-ranked young universities in Europe that strengthens and facilitates cooperation in the areas of scientific research, academic education and services which benefit society.
Training and development
Training on research integrity are available to all of the University community through the University’s online learning environment on topics including Introduction to Research Integrity and the responsible and ethical conduct of research; plagiarism and research outputs; authorship; collaborative research and data management and integrity; and peer review and publication ethics.
The Research Integrity and Governance Manager delivers on demand ethics and Research Integrity training to specific groups/ Divisions of researchers.
To ensure that the University keeps up to date of best practice related to research integrity it is a member of a number of external bodies including:
- UK Research Integrity Office
- Association for Research Managers and Administrators
- Understanding Animal Research
- The University regularly attends meetings of the Scottish AWERB Hub
- The University is also a member of the Scottish Research Integrity NetworkResearch misconduct
The University has guidelines for handling allegations of misconduct in research which are administered by the Research Integrity and Governance Manager and includes clear principles and mechanisms to ensure that investigations are conducted in a transparent, timely, robust and fair manner.
Research misconduct investigations
The table below sets out the high level details of investigations and findings on any formal investigations of research misconduct that have been undertaken, including data on the number of investigations.
|Number of formal investigations completed||Number of allegations upheld (in whole or part)|
|Type of misconduct||2021/22||2021/22|
|Failure to meet legal, ethical and professional obligations||0||0|
|Breach of duty of care||0||0|
|Improper dealing with allegations of misconduct||0||0|
The University has not conducted any formal investigations of research misconduct during this period.
Preparation of this Annual Statement
This Annual Statement was prepared by the University’s Research Integrity and Governance Manager, Research, Innovation and Business Engagement. The Annual Statement was approved by the University’s Research Ethics Committee.
Ms Rachel Beaton
Research Integrity and Governance Manager