Research Integrity


Your Responsibilities throughout the research lifecycle

Image of circle with arrows forming cycle


In addition to individual responsibilities, the Code sets out specific expectations and requirements for the different stages of the life cycle of a research project.

This part should be interpreted as complementary in the context of the individual responsibilities.



Click on the tabs below to find out more:

Research design

You Should

  • Ensure that the proposed research is designed to add to existing knowledge in accordance with state-of-the-art knowledge.  
  • Keep documentation for the rationale for the study and any subsequent modifications or if appropriate express this clearly in study protocols.  
  • Follow relevant best practice and standards expected in the research field, e.g., as set out in professional codes of conduct.  
  • Plan for appropriate data storage and management, in line with UCL Research Data Policy.  
  • Plan for documenting the research in line with FAIR Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable) to enable appropriate reporting in line with these principles. 
  • Consider the possible impact of your research project on the environment in line with UCL Sustainability Policy and Strategy
Research funding

The following apply regardless of the source of funding. 

You Must

  • Be aware and abide by the funder’s terms and conditions
  • Obtain institutional authorisation from Research Services prior to the submission to the funder / agreement execution, for all research funding proposals and related agreements. 
  • Use the research funds, in line with UCL Financial Regulations and UCL Post Award Policy.  
  • Report as required to funders via UCL’s Third Party Notification Group, issues that arise that may have an impact upon their continued funding of the research, e.g., potential research misconduct, financial impropriety, bullying, harassment, etc

  • Ensure that the information you provide to the funder is honest and accurate.

You Should:

  • Be aware of UCL’s position on accepting funding as specified in the UCL Research Funding Ethics Policy
  • Be aware of the codes of conduct set by the funders, e.g., UKRI policy on the governance of good research practice
  • Not interfere with the integrity of the review process. When suggesting potential reviewers do not suggest colleagues or close collaborators, who therefore might have potential conflicts of interest; do not try to identify or try to contact the reviewers. 
Research ethics

All research can raise ethical considerations due to the recruitment of participants, use of animals, the methodology, material studied, topic, potential impact of the research, or the use, processing and sharing of data.   

You Must:  

  • Consider and address all ethical concerns prior to the research commencing. These should be regularly reviewed during the research to ensure that new considerations are appropriately identified and managed. 
  • Ensure that ethical approval (if necessary) is obtained prior to the commencement of any research, particularly if working with living human participants/data or animals. This includes all relevant approvals within the UK as well as overseas. For specific guidelines and requirements, see the UCL Ethics Policy and UCL Biological Services
  • Consider and regularly review the safety and wellbeing of all involved in the research, participants and researchers alike. 
Health and Safety

Please consider relevant risks to any members of the research team as well as any participants. 

You Must

  • Assess all relevant risks, complete risk assessments and put appropriate safety measures in place before research commences. Monitor and review at regular intervals, or in the event of change. This is particularly important for lone working and overseas research.  
  • Adhere to relevant local health and safety protocols in line with UCL’s Health and Safety Policy
  • Complete the Study Leave form and fulfil its requirements, if you are a student conducting

You Should

Data management and retention

You Must

  • Be aware of data privacy requirements. Collect, retain, secure, transfer (if applicable) research data in accordance with GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018, UCL Data Protection PolicyUCLC Privacy Policy, UCL Records Retention Schedule, funder requirements, ethical approval and regulatory requirements, including any relevant overseas legislation, as appropriate. 
  • Delete or destroy any research data, if their agreed period of retention has expired and in accordance with all legal, ethical, research funder organisational and regulatory requirements.

You Should

  • Periodically check data, which has been stored, to ensure that it remains accessible should it be necessary to consult these data. 

Other approvals and permissions

Many disciplines and types of research carry particular risks or have established legal or institutional requirements.  

You Must

  • Ensure that any other relevant permissions and procedures are secured before the work commences, e.g., Access and Benefit Sharing, including Nagoya protocol regulations for work on genetic resources; undertaking research into security-related research; research that falls under Export control (Dual Use) regulation or otherwise requires export/import licences. 

You Should

  • Consider if your research has potential to be misused by others with intention of causing harm and how such issues could be managed.  

Managing your research project

You Must

  • Conduct, analyse and record research carefully and honestly in accordance with agreed protocols and approvals, seeking amendments to approvals where necessary. 
  • Follow agreed procedures and processes for the collection, storage, use, re-use, access, and retention of the research data associated with the project. 
  • Ensure that all your methods and analysis are robust,  
  • Keep a detailed record of work, e.g., in securely backed-up files, notebooks, electronic lab books, or version control systems.  In general, this should include appropriate details on process, methods, and results, written out and dated as the research progresses. 
  • Handle any research sources (e.g., human, animal, cultural, biological, environmental, or physical) with care and respect, and in accordance with legal and ethical requirements. 
  • Consider the safety and wellbeing of collaborators and others connected with the research. 
  • Report any concerns that arise from the research to the relevant person, as appropriate depending on the issues, to ensure that the concerns are addressed and managed. 

Authorship can be a sensitive issue. Please consider differences in definitions and expectations between disciplines, as well as venue (journal, conference, etc.) specific requirements and guidelines. Please note that all of the authors bear responsibility for the content. 

You Should

  • Be satisfied that the research reported has been carried out responsibly and ethically. 
  • Agree the criteria for inclusion on the authorship list, the order of the authors and responsibility for the publication. For clarity of all parties, this should be agreed early on between all the contributors and may need to be renegotiated over time. 
  • Include as authors individuals only if they have made a relevant contribution to the particular output/publication, this may include students, technical staff, collaborators and others. 
  • Be able to identify individual contributions of all authors; these should be listed and recorded for future reference. For example, see CRediT, a high-level taxonomy, including 14 roles that represent different types of contributions to research, but other discipline specific contribution taxonomies may apply. For large collaborations, specific agreements and governance around authorship and individual contributions may need to be put in place and the records kept for future reference.  
  • List the work of all contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship in an acknowledgements section, as appropriate. 
  • Clearly acknowledge all funders and sponsors of research. 
Publication and reporting of results

You Must

You Should:

  • Report results of your research regardless of whether they support the hypothesis through appropriate outputs – such as journals, books, chapters, articles, conference proceedings, reviews, software, databases, creative arts, etc. 
  • Present the findings and outputs in a manner that is understandable and accessible to the intended audience, including for different types of research stakeholders. 
  • Be clear about the status of the research, e.g., in progress, finalised, post-peer review, when discussing research findings in the public arena. 
  • Address and consider raising with the institution any inappropriate external or internal attempts to influence the research, its interpretation or dissemination. 
  • Consider whether you want to protect your work via a patent before you disclose any material – see section (see UCL's Disclousure of Conflict and Declaration of Interest Policy)
  • Describe materials and methods in sufficient detail that others can replicate them. 
  • Be clear as to the limitations of the results and do not overstate their potential significance. 
  • Report all results with due care and respect for the confidentiality of participants/data. 
  • Deposit raw data in publicly available repositories, if appropriate and achievable. 
  • Report results in line with disciplinary standards and, where applicable the FAIR Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable), e.g., see minimum reporting guidelines for health research hosted by the EQUATOR Network
  • Not publish substantially overlapping research reports in more than one journal at the same time without disclosing and appropriately acknowledging any previous or co- publications. 
  • Not interfere with the peer review process: when suggesting potential reviewers, do not suggest colleagues or close collaborators, who therefore might have a potential conflict of interests; do not try to identify or to contact the peer reviewers. 
  • Correct the published record as soon as possible, if an error is later found in previously published research. 
Intellectual Property

You Should

  • Assert personal copyright over material submitted for publication. Copyright advice is available on the UCL Library Services website
  • Be aware of the provisions for ownership and use of intellectual property in contracts or agreements relating to their research, and the provisions of the UCL Intellectual Property Policy


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