Research Integrity Training Framework
The Research Integrity Training Framework (the ‘Framework’) was created to support a culture of research integrity at UCL. It is based around what would be required for a research project to be said to have integrity, and therefore the knowledge and skills researchers would need to have to ensure the research has integrity (e.g. appropriate research methods, thorough research data management, consideration of ethical issues, etc.). It is applicable to all researchers (staff and students) across all disciplines and can be used in two ways:
- As a reference to assist researchers throughout the research lifecycle, in ensuring their research has integrity; and
- As a training tool for researchers to assess their training needs, according to the research they are undertaking.
There are some suggestions for training in this guidance, which will be expanded over time to provide a wide set of training options available across UCL.
- Pathways through the Framework
The Framework has 4 levels with Level 1 forming the foundation, Levels 2 and 3 providing core training, and Level 4 relating to advanced and discipline specific training. A detailed explanation of each level can be found below.
Researchers should ensure that they have undertaken the relevant training/have the relevant knowledge for each level. There will be mandatory training courses across the levels that you must attend; this will vary depending on whether you are a member of staff or student. There will be some parts of the Framework that will be the same for everyone (such as mandatory training for new members of staff or students) the route taken will be individual to each researcher as it will depend on the needs of their research as well as their own learning needs.
Levels 1 and 2 are where the route is likely to be the same or similar to other researchers, through attending set training/events, such as through mandatory training for new staff or students. Levels 3 and 4 are individualised levels, allowing the chosen route to be adapted according to the nature of the research and the needs and experience of the researcher.
For example, a new member of staff who is an experienced researcher will likely not need to attend training on what research ethics is and why it is important, but would need to attend training (either organised courses or self-directed learning) on research ethics policies and process at UCL to ensure that their research complies with UCL’s policies in respect of ethical approval and ethical standards.
- A living Framework
The Framework is not a single-use resource, but one that remains applicable throughout the research lifecycle as well as throughout a researcher’s career, and so it important for researchers to always reflect back on the Framework and earlier levels; a continuous process of self-appraisal and monitoring.
For example, experienced researchers will likely already have addressed each level throughout their career and within the research projects they have undertaken. However, research methods do advance, policies change, additional regulation comes into force, new ethical issues arise, roles and responsibilities expand and each institution has their own policies and procedures that we need to adhere to. All of these create new expectations on research as well as new learning needs for researchers. It is therefore important for researchers to regularly reflect back on the levels to ensure they continue to adhere to the Framework.
Having a record of how you have complied with the Framework, and the 4 levels, can be especially useful for student researchers in demonstrating their learning around research integrity, research methods and skills, etc. It can also be useful for those new to UCL to become more familiar and to learn about UCL’s policies, procedures, and other essential information relevant to their research and role; such as the mandatory training for new supervisors.
Research Integrity Framework – Description of Levels
- Level 1 – Induction to UCL
An important element of a culture of integrity is to understand the culture of the institution you are in. This level should better acquaint researchers with UCL as an institution; UCL’s history, structure, research strategies and the breadth of research and disciplines at UCL. It should also cover UCL’s values, principles and standards of behaviour and culture.
This level would generally be covered through normal induction process, both centrally and locally within faculties, departments and research teams. It would also include information sent to you in your course handbooks and staff induction pack, etc.
Staff: This would include mandatory new staff training such as the Provost’s Welcome and any local induction as well as centrally organised sessions such as such as the Induction for New Research Staff.
Non-staff: This would include online and in-person training, such as faculty or departmental course inductions and for Postgraduate students (PhD and MRes) this would include the Doctoral School Welcome event and the Introduction to Doctoral Skills Development and the Research Student Log session, as well as any local faculty/departmental sessions.
- Level 2 – Understanding Research Integrity
UCL is committed to ensuring the highest standards of integrity in all aspects of its research activities and expects that all those involved with research at UCL maintain a similar commitment. It is important therefore that all researchers have a clear understanding of research integrity and what it means for research.
This would include gaining an understanding of:
- UCL’s culture of integrity;
- UCL’s Statement on Research Integrity and the 4 Principles of Integrity;
- UCL’s Framework for Research Integrity;
- the important role personal integrity plays within research integrity;
- the ‘Elements of Integrity’ which form the foundation of ensuring research has integrity, such as research ethics, research data management, data protection, etc.
This level would be covered through a combination of arranged training (centrally, locally or on-line) as well self-directed learning. The main resource for information is the Research Integrity Website, which acts as UCL’s living Framework for Research Integrity. This level would also include faculty/departmental sessions, which would focus on discipline specific research integrity.
An important element of this level is the open discussion about research integrity, and situations of dilemmas that could occur, which enables researchers to apply this information to real life examples in order to highlight research integrity in the everyday. This also allows researchers to be able to apply the knowledge to examples within their own discipline. The Erasmus University Rotterdam Dilemma Game and case studies are often used.
Online training is being developed and will be available over the coming year.
Postgraduate Researchers: The Introduction to Research Support and Integrity workshop is open to all Postgraduate researchers via the Doctoral Skills Development Programme.
Research Integrity Website (Framework for Research Integrity)
- Level 3 – Research methods, personal skills & elements of integrity
This level covers introductory training in research methods, such as the Basic Statistics for Research: e-learning course, as well as specific training on the 'elements of integrity', such as the Information Security Awareness Moodle course, and the Ethics Committee Applications for Research with Human Subjects workshop.
It also covers personal skills that can assist with research integrity, such as improving communication, ways to best respond to and manage criticism. Examples include Communication Skills: Getting Your Message Across (DSDP) and Conflict Resolution Skills Non-Managers (staff training).
Training will be undertaken in a variety of ways, either through set courses organised within UCL, such as through the Research Staff Development Programme, or the Doctoral Schools Development Programme, or online courses. This is likely to include mandatory training, such as in information security and data protection.
- Level 4 – Research methods, personal skills & elements of integrity: Advanced & specific
This level is similar to Level 3, but it refers to advanced training in research methods, personal skills and the elements of integrity. It also covers discipline specific training such as on the Animal Research: Critical, Challenging & Creative Thinking course, as well as role specific sessions such as training for new supervisors.
As with the previous level training can be undertaken in a variety of ways and researchers should ensure that they undertaken all mandatory training relevant to their role and research.