The University of Surrey resolves to be a place where research is carried out at to the highest standards and is fully supportive of the Concordat to support research integrity.
We resolve to be an honest and ethical institution in the way we conduct our business and discharge our responsibilities.
The University aims to promote and support an organisational culture in which high standards of personal and professional conduct in teaching and research are expected and achieved.
To that end, the University will oppose academic misconduct and will take appropriate and robust action in instances where misconduct or fraud is discovered.
Research misconduct is such a serious matter, those responsible for staff and postgraduate research students conducting research have a particular duty to ensure that those new to research or to the University receive appropriate training in the ethical, legal and other conventions concerning the conduct of research.
The University seeks to sustain this approach by providing a research environment that fosters and supports honesty in research, and also discourages unacceptable behaviour, by dealing seriously and sensitively with all allegations of misconduct in research.
It is a condition of conducting research under the auspices of the University that practice conforms to the University’s Code on Good Research Practice.
Our Code of Practice on Handling Allegations of Research Misconduct describes Surrey's approach to identifying and managing misconduct.
What is misconduct?
Academic misconduct is defined as any breach of the University’s Code of Good Research Practice, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the research communities for proposing, conducting and/or reporting research.
It specifically encompasses, but is not restricted to:
- Plagiarism – misrepresentation of the work, ideas and or concepts of others as one’s own without permission or acknowledgement
- Fabrication and/or misappropriation of data, including the creation of false data or other aspects of research, including documentation and participant consent
- Falsification including the inappropriate manipulation and/or selection of data, imagery and/or consents
- Misrepresentation of interests and/or data and/or involvement regarding, for example, qualifications and/or authorship
- Intentional mismanagement or inadequate preservation of data and/or primary materials
- Cheating or otherwise disclosing information with the intent of gaining for oneself or for another an unfair advantage
- Intentional damage to, or removal of, the research-related property of another
- Intentional non-compliance with the terms and conditions governing the award of external funding for research or with the University’s policies and procedures relating to research, including ethical conditions governing research involving animal and human participants, health and safety regulations, human tissue and personal data
Misconduct in research would not normally include professional/academic differences in interpretation or judgment of data.
For the avoidance of doubt, misconduct in research includes acts of omission as well as acts of commission.
In addition, the standards by which allegations of misconduct in research should be judged should be those prevailing at the date that the behaviour under investigation took place.
How do I report a concern or suspicion that misconduct is taking place?
Allegations of academic misconduct concerning the actions of a member of staff of the University must be reported to an Associate Dean for Research.
Such allegations can be reported to any Associate Dean for Research, not necessarily of a particular faculty.
Allegations of misconduct regarding the actions of a postgraduate student must be reported to the Director of the Doctoral College.
In making an allegation of academic misconduct, please complete a written report detailing the nature of the suspected misconduct. The report should be made using the standard pro-forma (Word).
It is expected that, in normal circumstances, the individual reporting the suspected academic misconduct would be willing to be named and provide evidence.
However, where an individual has reservations about reporting suspected academic misconduct directly, they may opt to do so through the head of department or line manager.
If the individual wishing to make the allegation is a postgraduate research student, then they may opt to report their suspicion through their supervisor, postgraduate research director or the Students’ Union.
The University of Surrey is a subscriber to the United Kingdom’s Research Integrity Office (UKRIO). UKRIO is an independent charity, offering support to the public, researchers and organisations to further good practice in academic, scientific and medical research. Visit the UKRIO website for more information.
If you would like to discuss or seek advice on research misconduct, please email RIGO.