The research integrity agenda has become increasingly prominent and universities have found themselves under further scrutiny regarding their research governance and ethics policies, procedures and frameworks. Legislation, such as the EC Clinical Directive and the Human Tissue Act, has provoked universities to examine and, where necessary, improve and update their procedures and policies. In addition, many of the main research funders require assurances at both application and award stage that projects have, where necessary, been approved by an institution’s ethics committee and that the research will be conducted within a research governance structure embedded within the institution and in compliance with the Concordat to Support Research Integrity (2019).
Work on the University's research governance resources is consistently ongoing and following the publication of the RCUK's Policy and Guidelines on Governance of Good Research Conduct (updated April 2017; FAQs January 2018) and the UK Research Integrity Office's (UKRIO) Code of Practice for Research: Promoting good practice and preventing misconduct (September 2009).
In line with the University Statement on the Ethical Conduct of Research, the University produced a revised Research Code of Practice, drawing on the sector guidance from the RCUK and UKRIO, to provide a clearer and more concise statement of guiding principles of research good practice, which links to the more detailed standards, policies, procedures and training materials provided as web-based resources. This revised code was approved by the Council at its meeting in 20 July 2011.
In August 2008, following a sector-wide consultation, the independent advisory body, the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) published a Procedure for the Investigation of Misconduct in Research, August 2008. The Code of Practice for Dealing with Allegations of Misconduct, approved by Council in 2000 was reviewed in light of the Procedure and the experience of investigations within the University. This resulted in a revised Code of Practice for the Investigation of Research Misconduct, approved at the meeting of Council on 20 July 2011, providing more detailed procedural guidance, including clearer definitions of roles and responsibilities of those involved in the investigation processes.
Other related policies and regulations, including but not limited to Financial Procedure 14 (Research Grants & Contracts), Financial Procedure 13 (Patenting and Commercial Exploitation of Research), Whistleblowing Code of Practice and Data Protection Guidelines, Freedom of Information Guidelines, Health and Safety Policy & Guidelines
Prior to, during and following the completion of research activities, researchers are expected to consider the ethical implications of their research and any of its consequences for the participants involved. Research must be undertaken in accordance with commonly agreed standards of good practice such as those defined in the Declaration of Helsinki, Singapore Statement on Research Integrity, Montreal Statement on Research Integrity in Cross-Boundary Research Collaborations and any other guidance or ethical principles of appropriate professional bodies relevant to specific areas of research. Researchers are expected to consider their research from the perspective of the participant.
Researchers are required to comply with all relevant requirements of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which are applicable to all University of Warwick sponsored studies, including those ran outside Warwick Clinical Trials Unit and Warwick Medical School. These are available on the Warwick Clinical Trials Unit web pages and can be accessed via the following link: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/med/research/hscience/ctu/conducting/planning/sop/
No university member of staff or student should be compelled or compel others to undertake or participate in research that conflicts with their individual ethical principles.
Researchers have an obligation to inform the University of any issues arising relating to their research which may damage the University’s interests and/or reputation.