Research Integrity Group

The Universitas 21 Research Integrity group was formed after a successful workshop hosted and organised by the University of Hong Kong in December 2012.


The 2012 Hong Kong workshop covered research integrity training, approaches to research governance and processes for dealing with allegations of research misconduct especially as they relate to multi-institutional and cross-border allegations.

Delegates agreed that there was opportunity to develop a U21 statement on research integrity, a U21 guideline or process for dealing with multi-institutional and cross-border allegations of research misconduct and to consider shared training for researchers, including graduate researchers. The University of Melbourne was to lead to work of the Research Integrity Group.

Draft Terms of Reference (below) have been developed for consideration by the group. Collection of Codes of Conduct and procedures for handling allegations has begun. This first step is taken so that areas of common practice, and areas of divergence, can be identified prior to the drafting of a U21 Statement. Similarly, comparison of member institution procedures for handling allegations is the best place to start before constructing a U21 guidelines for handling allegations of research misconduct.

The Research Integrity Group will also consider the development of research ethics and integrity training packages for researchers (including graduate researchers). A number of commercially available training packages will also be considered. Commercially available training packages have some benefits in that they are generally better technically supported and updated more regularly (for example, compared with the U21 Global Research Ethics and Integrity Module).

We aim to have a U21 Statement on Research Integrity and a U21 Guidleines for Handling Allegations of Research Misconduct completed soon. Consideration of training and education material can begin then in earnest, with a final recommendation for consideration in late 2014.



Overviw of the Group

1. Background

A meeting of U21 representatives was held in Hong Kong in December 2012. At this meeting, it was decided that there was opportunity for member organisations to share best practice in approaches to improving the responsible conduct of research at their home organisations (this can be in areas such as policy or training and education), to develop a U21 statement on research integrity, and to develop an agreed approach to handling cross-organisation and cross-border allegations of research misconduct.


2. Terms of Reference

The following Terms of Reference are proposed for the U21 Research integrity Group

  1. To develop a U21 Statement on Research Integrity that is based on the principles of responsible research conduct.
  2. To consider, discuss and share good practice approaches to building and enhancing cultures of research integrity
  3. To develop an agreed U21 model for the management of allegations of research misconduct where this relates to multi-national and multi-institution matters.
  4. To provide reports on progress to U21 Research Leadership from time to time.


3. Proposed initial activities

  1. Comparison of Codes of Conduct
    A comparison of each institution’s Code of Conduct for Research will help to identify areas of overlap and difference between the U21 universities, and so guide the creation of a U21 Statement on Research Integrity.
  2. Comparison of approaches to handling allegations of research misconduct
    Similarly, a comparison of each institution’s procedures for investigating allegations of research misconduct will help identify potential obstacles for the development of a U21 approach.
  3. Consideration of U21 training in research integrity
    There is also opportunity for a shared approach to training in research integrity for U21 researchers. This may build on the material already developed as part of the U21 Global Research Ethics and Integrity Module (GREIM), but commercially-available programs will also be considered.    



Christina Mellor
Researcher Engagement Cluster Manager