Good research conduct

The University of Manchester’s Code of Good Research Conduct sets out our commitment to research integrity and our expectations of those who conduct research in our name.

We expect the highest standards of research integrity from the researchers we support, irrespective of the sources of their funding, their area of research, their experience as researchers, whether they are lone scholars or members of a research team or where the research is to be conducted. 

Our commitment to research integrity

We’re committed to fostering the highest standards of research integrity within a pioneering research culture that values knowledge creation for its own sake, for the potential benefits it promises humankind and for the ways it enriches higher learning.

Researchers can expect of the University:

1. A strong commitment to research integrity from its senior management

Research integrity is given priority in the University’s Research Strategy. Leadership for this priority is provided by the Academic Director for Research Governance, Ethics and Integrity.

2. Clearly stated standards and expectations

This Code of Good Research Conduct sets out our expectations of our researchers (people who conduct research, including but not limited to: as an employee; as an independent contractor or consultant; as a research student; as a visiting or emeritus member of staff; as a member of staff on a joint clinical or honorary contract). It's supported by a suite of policies and guidelines clarifying the standards of good research practice expected by us. 

3. Support to help researchers comply with standards of good research conduct

We provide administrative support to enable researchers to conduct research in accordance with the standards of good research conduct.

For researchers required to comply with regulatory standards, our Research Governance, Ethics and Integrity Team provides information and support for individuals conducting research in regulated areas such as clinical trials and research involving human tissue, human or animal subjects.

4. Support to develop excellent researchers

We're committed to providing suitable learning, training and mentoring opportunities to encourage the development of our researchers. This includes mandatory research integrity training to be completed every three years.

5. Oversight of the implementation of the Code of Good Research Conduct

Research will be monitored or audited based on an assessment of risk so that we can be assured of compliance with regulations and standards. We'll report annually to our Board of Governors on the implementation of our Code of Good Research Conduct.

6. A robust and fair approach to dealing with allegations of research misconduct

We are responsible for investigating any concerns about the conduct of research undertaken in our name raised about any of our staff or students, whether current or former, irrespective of who is funding or sponsoring the research in question (other than in exceptional cases where, for example, a student is also a member of staff of another organisation which will undertake its own investigation).

The Code of Practice for Investigating Concerns about the Conduct in Research may also apply to any person authorised to undertake research in the University or to use University facilities for the purposes of research (such as visiting, emeritus or honorary staff) and those carrying out research under the supervision/direction of a University of Manchester member of staff.

Where a concern about the conduct of research arises about a current student, this would normally be dealt with under Regulation XVII, in accordance with the procedures outlined in Academic Malpractice: Guidance on the Handling of Cases. However, if the alleged conduct affects a published piece of research work or the supervisor is implicated in the complaint then the Code of Practice for Investigating Concerns about the Conduct in Research would apply.

Our expectations of good research conduct

It is the responsibility of all researchers and staff supporting research to conduct their research in accordance with the ten Principles set out in our Code of Good Research Conduct and in compliance with relevant University policies. 

Excellence

Researchers are expected to strive for excellence when conducting their research; aiming to design, conduct, produce and disseminate work of the highest quality and ethical standards.

Honesty

Researchers must be honest in respect of their own actions and in their responses to the actions of others. This applies to the whole range of research activity including:

  • applying for funding; 
  • experimental and protocol design;
  • generating, recording, analysing and interpreting data; 
  • publishing and exploiting results; 
  • acknowledging the direct and indirect contributions of colleagues, collaborators and others;
  • reporting cases of suspected misconduct in a responsible and appropriate manner.

Openness

Researchers must be open when conducting and communicating their research (subject to the terms and conditions of any research contracts and the protection of intellectual property and commercial exploitation). This includes:

  • the disclosure of any conflicts of interest; 
  • the reporting of research data collection methods;
  • the analysis and interpretation of data; 
  • making all research findings widely available (including sharing negative results as appropriate);
  • disseminating research in a way that will have the widest impact;
  • promoting public engagement/involvement in research.

Rigour

Researchers must be thorough and meticulous in performing their research. Care must be taken:

  • to use the appropriate methods; and
  • adhere to an agreed protocol (where appropriate); when
  • drawing interpretations and conclusions from the research; and
  • communicating the results.

Safety

All research should be conducted in a manner which, so far as is reasonably practicable, is safe for researchers, participants, the University and the environment. Researchers must familiarise themselves, and comply with, the obligations set down by the University in its policies and guidelines, as well as relevant legislation and regulatory practice in this area.

Ethical responsibility

Researchers should have respect for all participants in, and subjects of, research including humans, animals, the environment and cultural objects. The University expects all researchers to consider the ethical implications of their research and to be aware of their responsibilities to society, the environment, their profession, the University, research participants and the organisation(s) funding the research.

Responsible management

Established researchers are responsible for nurturing researchers of the future; fostering a constructive and supportive environment without undue pressure and ensuring that appropriate supervision, mentoring and training are provided.

Regulatory compliance

Researchers are expected to make themselves aware of, and comply with, any legislation or regulations that govern their research.

Professional standards

Researchers should observe the standards of practice set out in guidelines published by professional societies, funding agencies and other relevant bodies, where appropriate and available. They must ensure that they have the necessary skills and training to conduct the research.

Report research misconduct

Researchers should be aware of the extreme seriousness of research misconduct.  Staff and students of the University have an obligation to report suspected research misconduct in accordance with the University’s Code of Practice for Investigating Concerns about the Conduct of Research.

Download the Code of Good Research Conduct (PDF, 234KB).