Section 9: Research Misconduct Regulations
You should seek impartial advice and support from the Students’ Union Advice Centre if you are involved in an investigation into your research conduct.
9.1 Regulation Introduction
9.1.1 We view you as trainee academics, and encourage you to publish in peer-reviewed journals during your research programme. We, therefore hold you to the same standards expected by quality journals.
9.1.2 You are expected to maintain research integrity. You must respect other members of the research community, both within and outside the University, and uphold the research integrity values of that community when producing work. It is your responsibility to ensure that any work you present or submit is your own.
9.1.3 In all of your work, you must use a recognised referencing system that is appropriate to your discipline consistently and correctly.
9.1.4 We provide services, guidance and information to help you develop your academic and research skills so that you know how to avoid research misconduct. The support we provide includes:
- Guidance on research ethics, integrity and plagiarism within the Researcher Environment Brightspace module.
- Online training modules available through Brightspace.
- The Researcher Development Programme, offering courses bookable through SkillsForge.
- Individual advice and guidance provided by your supervisory team.
- PGR Academic English support for international students.
9.1.5 For more information on the training we offer, you should visit the Graduate School website
9.1.6 You are responsible for making sure that you are familiar with the University’s Research conduct policies. These policies are reviewed annually, and are available on our website. They include:
- Code of Practice for Research.
- Intellectual Property Policy.
- Open Access Policy.
- Research Data Management Policy.
- Research Ethics and Integrity Policy.
9.1.7 Research misconduct is a form of dishonesty, which we see as a serious offence. What we may view as poor academic practice at undergraduate level is more likely to be viewed as research misconduct at Master’s or Doctoral level and it is treated less leniently. We strongly recommend that you refresh your understanding of referencing, plagiarism and ethical research practice. Self-plagiarism, in particular, is quite complex and can be misunderstood.
9.1.8 If an allegation(s) is upheld after you have been awarded your research degree, your degree may be revoked by the University Research Misconduct Panel.
9.2 Citing your own work
9.2.1 In limited circumstances, it may be acceptable for you to develop or re-use work in your thesis that you have previously submitted for publication or an award. If you do this, you must make it clear which sections of your thesis have been previously submitted elsewhere.
9.2.2 When you have sole or co-authored work which is published, in press or submitted for publication, you must reference the work clearly, just as you would any other source.
9.2.3 You must make sure that you are not infringing copyright of any journals in which you have published.
9.2.4 At the start of your thesis, there must be a list of any publications arising from the work and a statement of your contribution to each paper listed; you should also make it clear if your thesis is an extension of earlier research that you have submitted for an award.
9.2.5 The following may be acceptable:
- It is expected that you would include material from publications that have arisen from your Doctoral (or Master’s) research within your final thesis submission.
- Your Doctoral thesis may extend earlier Master’s research. This is normally allowed, as long as your Doctoral research is a significant body of original research that greatly extends your Master's study and appropriately cites any previous findings from that earlier work.
- In some disciplines, it may be acceptable to have a small amount of overlap or even the same wording you have used in previous work, for example in a methodology section.
9.2.6 If in doubt about how to avoid any misconduct, you should seek advice from your supervisors, your School Director of Graduate Education or the Researcher Environment Team. Some examples of research misconduct offences are given at the end of this section.
9.3 Definitions of research misconduct
9.3.1 We define research misconduct as a failure to behave in line with our academic standards. It includes trying to deceive the University’s detection systems.
9.3.2 Some examples of research misconduct are listed below. This is not an exhaustive list but the offences may include:
|Type of Offence
- Entering an assignment onto a specialist website and asking people or a piece of software owned by another person, including AI tools to write the assignment on your behalf.
- Submission of work presented as your own which has been purchased, commissioned or otherwise acquired from another person or machine (including internet sellers and AI tools) whether or not specifically produced for you “or "off the s”elf".
- Making available to others any work or material which the recipient then uses to commit an academic misconduct offence. This is regardless of whether you obtain financial reward for doing it.
- Submission of work presented as your own which has been done in unauthorised partnership with someone else not supported by the requirements of the assessment, whether or not that other person is a student of the University.
- Knowingly making submitted assignments, instructions, briefs or similar instructional documents relating to assessments available to others (including posting to the internet or making available by similar means) that could result in an academic advantage.
- Claiming you have carried out experiments, observations, interviews or any form of research that you have not carried out.
- Falsifying results or other data.
- Omitting data or results in a way that means your research is not accurately represented in the research record.
- The creation of false data or other aspects of research or assessed work, with the intention of deceiving the marker. This includes but is not limited to;
- Providing false documentation and participant consent formss.
- The use of AI tools which may generate artificial data or experiences you later may rely on to complete your assessment.
- Assuming the identity of another student (of this or any other institution) with the intention of gaining an unfair advantage for that student.
- Allowing another person to impersonate you in order to gain an unfair advantage.
- Claiming, submitting or presenting work as if it is your own, without appropriate referencing. This includes but is not limited to words, ideas, artistry, drawings, images, data, information found on the Internet and unpublished materials.
- Relying on the use of a machine such as an AI tool to complete your work which has not been identified or referenced.
- Claiming, submitting or presenting someone else’s work, ideas, opinions or theories as if they are your own, without proper referencing.
- Claiming, submitting or presenting another person’s substantial compositional contributions, assistance, edits or changes to an assignment as your own.
- Claiming, submitting or presenting collaborative work as if it were created solely by yourself or your group.
- Minimally paraphrasing someone else’s work by changing only a few words or elements and not citing the original source. Minimally paraphrasing someone else’s work by changing only a few words or elements and not citing the original source. For instance: substituting a few words or phrases in the original work; altering the order of presentation of someone else’s work; or linking sentences or phrases someone else has written with words of your own.
- Secondary referencing: if you are reading a source by one author and they cite or quote the work of another author, this is a secondary reference. You must make it clear that you have not read - and are not citing from - the original source document. Failure to do this is plagiarism.
- Reproducing your own published material, or material which you have previously submitted for an examination or award, without acknowledging that you are re-using the work. For instance:
- Text recycling – reusing content that you have previously submitted for a degree award or publication.
- Redundant or duplicate publication – this involves submitting the same paper or data to different journals or towards more than one degree award.
- ‘Salami slicing’ – this is where you split the reporting of your results from one study across several publications so that you are, in effect, recycling the study when one report would have sufficed and been more appropriate.
- Misuse of copyright – you will be required to sign a copyright statement when you publish a paper in a journal. You need to ensure you do not to infringe copyright when you use the same work in your thesis.
|Inappropriate sharing of work
- Failing to safeguard your work may count as making it available.
- Making your work available to another student who then submits it as their own. This includes giving access to your work in subsequent academic sessions.
- Failure to follow the correct procedures defined by your course for undertaking research.
|Issues of Authorship
- Publishing or presenting (for example at a conference) work that is not wholly your own without written agreement of all authors.
- Exploiting someone else’s data without recognising them as a co-author.
|Failure to conduct Ethical Research
- Failure to comply with the University Research Ethics and Integrity Policy when planning and conducting your research, including:
- Failing to adhere to ethical codes - professional body guidelines; statutory and legal requirements (including additional local requirements where your research is undertaken outside the UK).
- Failing to safeguard the health and well-being of anyone conducting or participating in your research or who may be impacted by your research.
- Failing to obtain appropriate licences and permissions to carry out your research.
- Failing to safeguard research data and manage your records appropriately.
Failure to take account of any conflict of interest.
9.4 Research misconduct investigations
9.4.1 If you fail to meet the expectations and standards outlined in this section, an allegation of research misconduct may be brought against you. If we find that you have conducted your research in an inappropriate manner, we may penalise you.
9.4.2 There are three stages to the procedure for investigating allegations of research misconduct:
- Stage 1: Internal examiner or supervisor investigation.
- Stage 2: School-level investigation.
- Stage 3: University-level research misconduct panel.
9.4.3 We can make decisions and apply penalties at any stage of the procedure. In determining the penalty to apply, we will consider the full tariff of penalties and we will explain to you why any specific penalty has been chosen. We will also take into consideration whether there may be any disproportionate or unintended consequences for you if a certain penalty is chosen; for example, where a PGR has a deteriorating health condition.
9.4.4 You can appeal the outcome of an investigation at any stage.
9.4.5 In cases where the allegation represents a serious breach of research conduct, we may choose to escalate the procedure immediately to a higher stage without exhausting the procedure at a lower stage. If we decide to start our investigations at a higher stage of the procedure, we will explain to you why we have decided to do this.
9.4.6 If your work is associated with an UKRI funded project, we will notify the research council at the point of starting an investigation into your research conduct.
9.4.7 We may refer to any upheld allegations of research misconduct in character references, or notify any relevant professional or funding body.
9.4.8 If you withdraw from your course during this procedure, you will not be allowed to return to study with us until we have investigated the matter and notified you of the outcome. If you ask us for a reference, it will record where a research misconduct matter is outstanding.
9.5 Additional information
9.5.1 You can find full details relating to the Research misconduct procedure on our website.