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Research Misconduct

Research Misconduct

King's College London expects all research to be conducted with integrity and excellence in mind, in line with any ethical clearance granted (where relevant), and to a standard that meets the UK Research Integrity Office's Code of Practice for Research. If such standards are not upheld by a KCL researcher, the quality and nature of the research may be called into question.

Practices of research that fall below the accepted standards will be considered as breaches of good conduct. Breaches that are considered serious or major could be deemed examples of research misconduct. Research misconduct is defined under the King's College London's Procedure for Investigating and Resolving Allegations of Research Misconduct (the ‘Procedure’) and is taken to include, but is not limited to:

  • Fabrication;
  • Falsification;
  • Misrepresentation of data and/or interests and or involvement;
  • Plagiarism;
  • Failure to follow accepted procedures or to exercise due care in carrying out responsibilities for the proper handling of individuals’ identifiable, privileged, or private information collected during the research; 
  • Failure to follow accepted procedures or to exercise due care in avoiding unreasonable risk or harm to:
    • humans;
    • animals used in research;
    • and/or the environment.

Any member of King's College London who has suspects that a breach of good research practice or research misconduct may have occurred should, in the first instance, address this with their line manager or Head of Department, to seek local resolution, guidance, or support. If such action is not possible or appropriate, then you are advised to contact the Research Integrity Office directly. Upon notification of an allegation or concern, the Research Integrity Office will forward the initiator of a complaint a copy of the Proforma for Reporting Allegation(s) of Research Misconduct. This must be completed in full and accompanied by sufficient evidence to support the complaint. The Research Integrity Office accepts that minor infractions, including honest errors, where there is no evidence of intention to deceive may occur. In such cases, it may be more appropriate to address these informally through mentoring, training, and/or guidance. The College’s Procedure ensures the exercise of due diligence in making inquiries as to the substance and provenance of an allegation. It is important to note that the Procedure is an internal investigation process and is neither adversarial nor disciplinary (though the investigation may result in disciplinary proceedings). Any member of the university may wish to raise concerns under the Policy on Information Disclosure (Whistleblowing), where appropriate. Where matters of research misconduct are raised this way, they will be referred to the Research Integrity Office to be handled under the research misconduct procedure.

Allegations of suspected research misconduct may also be made by individuals external to the College by reporting concerns directly to the Research Integrity Office. Upon notification of an allegation or concern, the Research Integrity Office will forward the initiator of a complaint a copy of the Proforma for Reporting Allegation(s) of Research Misconduct. This must be completed in full and accompanied by sufficient evidence to support the complaint. Anonymous allegations will be considered at the discretion of King's College London, taking into account the substance, detail, and seriousness of the allegation.

The Research Integrity Office works closely with HR to ensure that concerns regarding the conduct of King’s researchers are appropriately managed. We have developed a Memorandum of Understanding which sets out the expectations and responsibilities of the HR team and Research Integrity Office in respect of allegations of bullying and harassment and research misconduct made against any member of King’s College London who might conduct research in King’s name.

MOU between the Research Integrity Office and HR at King's College London

The Research Integrity Office recognises that making or being the subject of an allegation of research misconduct can be a distressing experience. For advice and support, individuals should speak to a Research Integrity Advisor within their Faculty, their supervisor, line manager, or Head of Department. For general support on health and wellbeing, staff can access wellbeing support via our intranet and King’s students can access support via the College’s Health & Wellbeing webpages. King's staff and students are advised not to initiate any research misconduct investigation themselves, but instead should report this as detailed above. If any meetings or discussions are held in relation to suspected research misconduct, you are advised to ensure a third party is present to record the discussions in writing.

 

Responsible Officer

The Responsible Officer at King’s College London for dealing with matters arising under the Research Misconduct Procedure is Stephen Large, Senior Vice President (Operations).

Concerns relating to research misconduct

For information or advice relating to research integrity matters, including training and concerns on the appropriate conduct of research, please contact the Research Integrity Manager for your area: Dr Natasha Awais-Dean (Arts & Sciences) and Dr Serena Mitchell (Health).

 

 

Training and Resources

Training and Resources

The Research Integrity Office can offer support on training and signpost to external resources.