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« FOI and universities | Main | Josh 37 »

Call for new UK research integrity org

Nature's Great Beyond blog notes calls for a new body to be set up to oversee UK research integrity. According to a report from the Research Integrity Futures Working Group there's a problem at the moment:

Current UK arrangements are sometimes portrayed as less than transparent, with examples of bad practice ‘swept under the carpet’,” warns the group’s newly released report. “And there is limited evidence to contradict that view.”

You don't say.

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Reader Comments (11)

"clarifying what should be considered as malpractice, misconduct and poor

Does this need clarifying? Hints & tips on how to nail them may be more of a step forward.

Sep 7, 2010 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

From the report, which is wide-ranging (there are problems in many areas of science):

• make relevant primary data and research evidence accessible to others for reasonable periods after the completion of the research: data should normally be preserved and accessible for ten years, but for projects of clinical or major social, environmental or heritage importance, for 20 years or longer;
• manage data according to the research funder’s data policy and all relevant legislation;
• wherever possible, deposit data permanently within a national collection.

Sep 7, 2010 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterQ

Funding pitch:-

"Finch’s group want a new body funded with £400,000 a year from the government. This would have no regulatory function but could offer advice and collect data on integrity issues. It would also build on the work of the current UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO), which is at present only funded until October this year."

To help the no longer funded poachers to become gamekeepers? Sarc/off

Sep 7, 2010 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

Would anybody out there be able to explain why GB is being made the whipping boy for the sins and omissions of a global problem?

Sep 7, 2010 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy Old Man

"The report does not single out any specific incidents of misconduct, nor does it cite sources for the suggestion that the United Kingdom might have a larger problem than other nations."

That must be a relief to a lot of people.

Sep 7, 2010 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby


That particular line caught my eye too:

"The report does not single out any specific incidents of misconduct..."

Maybe we could help them out a little.

Sep 7, 2010 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrCrinum

Ross Perot famously said

When we see a snake we shoot it.
When you lot see a snake you start a committee about snakes.

Sep 7, 2010 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Also from the report:

"misrepresentation of data, for example suppression of relevant findings and/or data, or knowingly, recklessly or by gross negligence, presenting a flawed interpretation of data"

Do such things occur? How very shocking.

Sep 7, 2010 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

Here's an amusing piece on 'Ethics and the Engineer'...with a contribution by none other than Professor Geoffrey ' I'm not pompous' Boulton, OBE, FRS, FRSE, Vice-Principal, University of Edinburgh and Regius Professor of Geology:

Some quotes: "However, I am also still a practising scientist, working on issues such as climate change and nuclear waste disposal, in both of which the ‘are you certain?’ and ‘is it safe?’ questions offer temptations to simplify what is known and what is understood, and to skate over the uncertainties, in order to make a point in debate, or move the argument on."

"Arguably, the scientist should be Janus-faced, facing in two directions, with two sets of ethical responsibilities."

"Such processes are often hidden behind statements such as ‘the science suggests that this should be done’, or ‘that should be done’. In practice, however, the science is often wrapped up in unstated values of which we scientists ourselves are sometimes not aware."

"Exploiting this understanding in a society that has lost old habits of deference has become increasingly problematic such that the rules of engagement - between governors, the governed and the scientists and engineers and medics – need to change."

Who better to lead an inquiry into the CRU than Boulton, the ethics expert, long time UEA alumni, with an enthusiastically activist stance on man made warming, and intriguingly condescending ideas about limiting information transmission to the non-deferential governed masses.

Sep 7, 2010 at 7:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Wasn't this the arguement that saw the set up of the IPCC - a one stop shop for the promotion of climate alarmism.

Sep 7, 2010 at 10:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

I dont know about Janus faced, sounds more like Hugh Janus to me.

Sep 7, 2010 at 11:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterWOJ

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