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Research Misconduct Committee

Information about UCL's Research Misconduct Committee (RMC)

Terms of Reference and Membership of the Research Misconduct Committee

The Terms of Reference for the Research Misconduct Committee are to:

1. Keep an overview of the operation of all stages of the UCL Research Misconduct Procedure. 

2. Conduct Research Misconduct Allegations Screening Panels. Individual Screening Panels will be formed as sub-groups of the Committee, usually made up of three members of the Committee. Individual Screening Panels will:

  • consider the allegations and supporting evidence submitted by the Complainant;
  • consider the evidence and supporting documentation from the Respondent who should be given the opportunity to respond to the allegations, set out his/her case and present evidence;
  • consider any background information relevant to the allegations;
  • where relevant, interview the Complainant, the Respondent, and other relevant parties who might provide relevant information to assist the Panel;
  • determine where expert advice might need to be sought in the event that members have insufficient expertise to determine the outcome or make recommendations;
  • determine, on a prima facie basis, whether the allegations of misconduct in research
    (i) are mistaken, frivolous, vexatious and/or malicious; or
    (ii) have some substance but due to a lack of intent to deceive or due to their relatively minor nature, should be addressed through education and training or other non-disciplinary approach rather than through the next stage of the Procedure or other formal proceedings; or
    (iii) are sufficiently serious and have sufficient substance to justify a Formal Investigation; or
    (iv) where the Screening Panel finds no prima facia evidence of misconduct in academic research, however there is evidence of potential misconduct that is not research misconduct, that the case should be referred directly to UCL’s relevant disciplinary process or another internal process which may include different recommendations in each individual case where there is more than one Respondent;
  • produce a report which considers the allegations of misconduct in research and reaches one of the conclusions above, setting out the evidence on which the conclusion was based;
  • report to the Committee on its work;
  • aim to complete its work within 45 working days from its initial consideration of the allegations.

3. Receive fully anonymised oral reports from the Chairs of individual Screening Panels, informing the Committee of the type of allegation, approach of the Panel, outcome and any learning points for future Screening Panels. 

4. Receive fully anonymised oral reports from the Named Person on cases dealt with at the Initial Asssessment stage, and to keep an overview of all active cases at the screening stage.

5. Receive fully anonymised oral reports from the Governance Manager: Research Integrity on cases completed at the Formal Investigation stage, informing the Committee of the type of allegation, outcome and any learning points for future research misconduct processes. 

6. Report on the Research Misconduct Committee’s work to UCL Research, Innovation and Global Engagement Committee, in which it will:
(i) make recommendations, if necessary, to UCL’s Research, Innovation and Global Engagement Committee about any training requirements;
(ii) inform UCL’s Research, Innovation and Global Engagement Committee about any lessons to be learned from its consideration of the allegations;
(iii) submit minutes of its meetings to UCL’s Research, Innovation and Global Engagement Committee;
(iv) produce an annual report on its work for onward reporting to UCL’s Research, Innovation and Global Engagement Committee and UCL’s Audit Committee.

Membership
7. The membership of the Research Misconduct Committee comprises:

Chair - Professor Cheryl Thomas QC
Vice-Chair - Professor Ian Zachary
Two members from each UCL School, nominated by Faculty Deans within each School:
Professor Helene Burningham (SLASH)
Professor James Wilson (SLASH)
Professor Jawwad Darr (BEAMS)
Professor Eli Keshavarz-Moore (BEAMS)
Professor Lynn Ang (IOE)
Professor Phil Jones (IOE)
Professor Kate Jeffrey (SLMS)
Professor Cate Whittlesea (SLMS)
Up to two co-opted members (where necessary):
Ms Pippa Bark-Williams (SLMS)
Dr Jens Kandt (BEAMS)

Advisory Team (in attendance):                      
Executive Director of Student Services and Registrar - Ms Sarah Cowls
Director of Governance - Mr Nick McGhee
A representative of UCL Human Resources - Ms Maggie Foune
A representative of UCL Legal Services - Mr Alex Hall 
Governance Manager: Research Integrity - Ms Rachel Port
Governance Support Officer - Ms Freya Markwell. 

8. The Governance Manager: Research Integrity will normally act as Secretary to the Research Misconduct Committee.

9. The quorum for meetings of the Research Misconduct Committee will be half of its membership.

10. The membership will be approved by UCL’s Research, Innovation and Global Engagement Committee (RIGEC) and members will be appointed for a term of up to three years, renewable at the discretion of RIGEC. The Committee will meet on a monthly basis unless it has no allegations to consider.