UCL Research


UCL joins partnership to improve research quality and reproducibility

10 December 2019

UCL formalises its involvement with the UK Reproducibility Network, as part of its commitment to responsible research.

UCL has joined forces with universities from across the UK to improve the quality of academic research, as part of the UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN). Ten universities – Aberdeen, Bristol, Cardiff, Keele, Newcastle, Oxford Brookes, Sheffield, Surrey, the Royal Veterinary College and UCL – have made the decision to join UKRN, to work together to promote the quality and reproducibility of research at their institutions.

While the UK is at the leading edge of research globally, there is a need to drive continuous improvement in order to retain our world-leading position and ensure that research is rigorous, robust and of high quality. The UK Reproducibility Network, led by Professor Marcus Munafò and colleagues at a number of UK universities, works with researchers, universities and a range of stakeholders to promote the adoption of initiatives intended to improve research quality.

Over the last year, UCL has deepened its engagement with UKRN, with Professor Munafò speaking at our town hall meeting on research reproducibility in April, and addressing the issue of incentive structures and open science at the UCL ReproducibiliTea journal club in July. The UKRN steering group also gave input to shape our Statement on Transparency in Research, which was published in November. In January, we look forward to hosting a lecture by Professor Brian Nosek, in partnership with UKRN.

UCL researchers in the Faculty of Brain Sciences have also contributed to a new Transparency Checklist for social and behavioural research, recently published in Nature Human Behaviour, to support researchers, editors and readers assess the quality of the research.  

UKRN’s future initiatives will include developing common training across career stages, aligning promotion and hiring criteria to support open and reproducible research practices, and sharing best practice. Academic leads will liaise with grass-roots networks of researchers at their institutions and with UKRN stakeholders, including funders and publishers.

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research), said, “Ensuring our research meets the highest standards of transparency and rigour is integral to UCL’s values. Furthermore, we believe that our values must be supported through concrete action, and by engaging with UKRN we have been able to develop those values into the Statement on Transparency in Research. Through formalising our partnership we hope to drive change more widely within the academic community, learn from our partner universities, and advocate responsible research practices across the sector”.

Professor Marcus Munafò, chair of the UK Reproducibility Network steering group, said, “Collective action by institutions can reform research culture and improve research quality. The commitment of so many universities to work together, and with the UK Reproducibility Network, represents an exciting and potentially transformative step”.