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Concordat for Research Integrity – Public Statement 2022

Durham University recognises the essential role that research integrity has in facilitating high quality 
research, and ensuring the trust and engagement of our staff, partners, stakeholders and the public. We 
see research integrity as a core element of both personal action and University culture, which supports
us in delivering world leading research, knowledge exchange and teaching. We recognise that research 
integrity is an ongoing process and that we need to continue to review, evolve and improve our
behaviours and the policies, practices and processes that underpin them. These is especially true as our 
research and partnerships become more complex, collaborative and international. 

During 2021/22, we have put in train several pieces of work to shift our focus from reactive compliance 
to proactive development of a coherent vision for research culture and specific elements within it. The 
statement below outlines Durham University’s approach to research integrity, the actions taken in the
last twelve months and areas we’ve identified for improvement. The statement maps to the
commitments in the concordat to support research integrity. 

Commitment 1: We are committed to upholding the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research

  • Responsibilities for research integrity are set out in the Policy and Code of Conduct for Research 
    Integrity. An updated version of this policy, as well as revisions to our Research Misconduct Policy
    and Responsible Use of Metrics Policy, are ready for approval and will be published in 2022/23.
  • Linked to wider work on research culture, the University will develop an academic-led vision for 
    open scholarship. This expands on the University’s previous work on ensuring compliance with open 
    access requirements to encompass the wider open research and open scholarship agenda. This will
    be taken forward under the auspices of the Research Culture Committee.
  • Work on a training framework has been expanded to look at all aspects of research training needs, 
    rather than focussing solely on aspects explicitly branded as Research Integrity, and which will be 
    tailored to specific groups. A suite of online research integrity training modules is now in place to 
    provide the fundamentals.

Commitment 2: We are committed to ensuring that research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards

  • A revised Policy on Ethics in Research and Scholarship was approved in 2021/22. The policy provides
    a clearer separation between ethics review and governance processes such as data management, 
    export controls and management of conflicts of interest. Further work will be undertaken in 
    2022/23 to clarify guidance on governance requirements and create a ‘one-stop-shop’ to signpost 
    researchers to relevant processes.
  • A tender process has taken place for a new online ethics system, and implementation of a new 
    system is now being planned for 2022/23.
  • We have developed new online training courses for staff and students working with human tissue, 
    and a new online system is now in use for sample records. Robust standards in this area were 
    recognised in an audit undertaken by the Human Tissue Authority in 2022.
  • A new policy has been produced on engagement of the public in research, setting out the 
    University’s expectations of and obligations to those engaged, and providing guidance on payment where this is appropriate. Guidance has also been drafted on appropriate platforms recruiting 
    individuals as research participants, or for crowdsourcing other forms of contribution to research.
  • It is critical to ensure that all researchers are fully aware of the ethics and governance requirements 
    applicable to their research. Alongside the developments to policies and systems, a programme of 
    awareness will be developed to make sure that all stakeholders are aware of their obligations and 
    the support available.

Commitment 3: We are committed to 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

  • Supported by the Research Culture Committee, the Deputy PVC Research is leading a University-wide exercise to develop a research culture vision, and to identify priority areas for action. Workshops involving academic, research, technical and professional services staff and postgraduate students have taken place to identify the key elements of what Durham’s research culture should look like. Further consultation is planned with the different groups to discuss their experiences and priorities, with a view to launching a vision and action plan in 2022/23.
  • Research Culture Committee has developed a new plan to support implementation of the Concordat 
    to Support the Career Development of Researchers, which has been submitted to Vitae as part of 
    the regular review of work in this area. The new plan picks up several areas in which a more coordinated approach is being developed across the University, including consistent provision of 
    Equality Diversity & Inclusion training.
  • The University has launched a new Staff Concerns Policy, together with guidance and resources to 
    support both those raising concerns and those who are the subject of them.
  • The University has continued the Research Culture Cafes, providing a forum for researchers to 
    discuss behavioural related issues and concerns. Sessions this year have included induction, 
    experience of PDRAs, and managing time for research.

Commitment 4: We are committed to using transparent, robust and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct when they arise.

  • The revised Research Misconduct Policy clarifies the process and potential outcomes and highlights 
    the support available for both complainants and respondents. Although written in the first instance 
    as a process for investigating allegations of staff misconduct, the University is also considering the 
    appropriate alignment between this policy and student misconduct procedures.
  • No allegations have been raised under the Research Misconduct procedure during 2021/22. 

Commitment 5: We are committed to working together to strengthen the integrity of research and to reviewing progress regularly and openly

  • We are committed to working with other institutions to share expertise, resources and best practice
    through forums including the Russell Group Integrity Forum, North East Ethics and Integrity Group 
    and UKRIO.
  • The University is currently investigating opportunities for closer links with the UK Reproducibility