Research that fails to comply with our principles of good conduct may give rise to a complaint of misconduct. Although a rare occurrence, research misconduct is handled very seriously by the University, and we're committed to ensuring that any such complaints are investigated with thoroughness and rigour.
Research misconduct includes, but may not be restricted to, the following:
- Fabrication – the creation of false results, other outputs or aspects of research, including documentation and participant consent, and presenting and/or recording them as if they were real
- Falsification – the inappropriate manipulation and/or selection of research processes, materials, equipment, data, imagery and/or consents;
- Plagiarism – Using others’ ideas, intellectual property or work (written or otherwise) without permission or acknowledgement;
- Failure to meet – the legal, ethical and professional obligations, for example:
- Not observing legal, ethical and other requirements for human research participants, animal subjects, or for the protection of the environment
- Breach of duty of care for humans involved in research, 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 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 the suppression of relevant results/data or knowingly, recklessly or by gross negligence presenting a flawed interpretation of data
- involvement, 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 research misconduct – including failing to address possible infringements, attempts to cover up misconduct or 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.
We address allegations of misconduct with the following legal requirements in mind:
Human Rights Act 1998
Freedom of Information Law in Scotland
Data Protection Act 2018
Please refer to the University Procedure for Handling Allegations of Research Misconduct for further details.