Research integrity

A document from Universities UK, their guideline on good research practice. I will summarise it here, and maybe save you the need to read it.

Here are the bullet points.

  1. We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research.
  2. We are committed to ensuring that research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards.
  3. We are committed to supporting a research environment that is underpinned by a culture of integrity and based on good governance, best practice and support for the development of researchers.
  4. We are committed to using transparent, robust and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct should they arise.
  5. We are committed to working together to strengthen the integrity of research and to reviewing progress regularly and openly.

There is not much that mathematicians can do by way of research misconduct; for us, it seems to boil down to two requirements: don’t plagiarise, and treat your students and postdocs decently.

(I must admit to a small feeling of unease here. My students often do great things, and I want to tell people about them; but I have a feeling that it is the students who should be doing the telling, and even if I give full attribution I am perhaps taking something from them by telling the story myself.)

An appendix gives a “definition” of research, which is not a definition since it includes examples. The actual definition given is “a process of investigation leading to new insights, effectively shared.” Short and snappy, and it shows that communication is part of research, contrary to some views.

On a lighter note, the document contains the word “underpin” or a conjugate no fewer than six times in its 26 pages.

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About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
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One Response to Research integrity

  1. Yemon Choi says:

    Regarding your last paragraph, “Politics and the English Language” comes to mind…

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