Research Misconduct

The University of Wolverhampton is committed to maintaining the highest standards of ethics and integrity in its research and to ensuring that all researchers pursue their work in an atmosphere free of prejudice and harassment.

What is misconduct in Research?

The Concordat to Support Research Integrity characterises research misconduct as behaviours or actions that fall short of the standards of ethics, research and scholarship required to ensure that the integrity of research is upheld. It can cause harm to people, the environment, waste resources, undermine the research and damage the credibility of research. Research misconduct can take many forms, including: 

fabrication: making up results, other outputs (for example, artefacts) or aspects of research, including documentation and participant consent, and presenting and/or recording them as if they were real.

falsification: inappropriately manipulating and/or selecting research processes, materials, equipment, data, imagery and/or consent.

plagiarism: using other people's ideas, intellectual property, or work (written or otherwise) without acknowledgement or permission.

failure to meet: legal, ethical and professional obligations, for example:

  • not observing legal, ethical and other requirements for human research participants, animal subjects, or human organs or tissue used in research, or for the protection of the environment.
  • breach of duty of care for humans involved in research whether deliberately, recklessly or by gross negligence, including failure to obtain appropriate informed consent.
  • misuse of personal data, including inappropriate disclosures of the identity of research participants and other breaches of confidentiality.
  • improper conduct in peer review of research proposals, results or manuscripts submitted for publication. This includes failure to disclose conflicts of interest; inadequate disclosure of clearly limited competence; misappropriation of the content of material; and breach of confidentiality or abuse of material provided in confidence for the purposes of peer review.

misrepresentation of:

data, including suppression of relevant results/data or knowingly, recklessly or by gross negligence presenting a flawed interpretation of data.

  • involvement, including inappropriate claims to authorship or attribution of work and denial of authorship/attribution to persons who have made an appropriate contribution.
  • interests, including failure to declare competing interests of researchers or funders of a study.
  • qualifications, experience and/or credentials.
  • publication history, through undisclosed duplication of publication, including undisclosed duplicate submission of manuscripts for publication.

improper dealing with allegations of misconduct: failing to address possible infringements, such as attempts to cover up misconduct and reprisals against whistle-blowers or failing to adhere appropriately to agreed procedures in the investigation of alleged research misconduct accepted as a condition of funding. Improper dealing with allegations of misconduct includes the inappropriate censoring of parties through the use of legal instruments, such as non-disclosure agreements.


Best Practices to Avoid Research Misconduct 

The University's Code of Good Research Practice has been developed to articulate the importance of integrity and rigour in all research carried out at and in partnership with the University. The Code assists researchers to determine how to apply the baseline standards set by policies and regulations of the University, as well as by wider legal and contractual requirements and ethical norms, to the situations which face them in everyday practice of research.

How to raise a concern

Research misconduct queries and concerns are dealt with at an institutional level. Our procedure to deal with such allegations has been developed in line with guidance issued by the UK Research Integrity Office

Staff, students or any external individuals or organisations wishing to raise a concern about the integrity of the research conducted at the University of Wolverhampton can do so, in writing, with supporting evidence to the University Research Integrity Manager, Jill Morgan.

Investigating Allegations of Research Misconduct

The UK Research Councils require all Higher Education Institutions to demonstrate that there are agreed principles and procedures in place to deal with allegations of misconduct in research.

The University is responsible for monitoring all research and investigating any alleged misconduct.  Any investigation will be carried out promptly, independently and fairly, under the Procedure for the Investigation of Allegations of Misconduct in Research.