Section 9: Research Conduct 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 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.

 

9.2 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:

9.3.3 Contract cheating

  • Entering a brief onto a specialist website and asking people to bid in order to write the work on your behalf.
  • Submitting work which has been purchased, commissioned or acquired from someone else (including internet sellers) as your own. This includes work specifically produced for you or bought "off the shelf".
  • Making any work or material available to other people, which they then use to commit a misconduct offence. This is regardless of whether you obtain financial reward for doing it.

9.3.4 Plagiarism

  • Copying and presenting work as if it is your own, without appropriate referencing, including appropriate use of quotation marks. This includes but is not limited to words, ideas, artistry, drawings, images, data, information found on the internet and unpublished materials.
  • Presenting someone else’s ideas, opinions or theories as if they are your own, without proper referencing.
  • Presenting another person’s substantial edits or changes to an assignment as your own.
  • Presenting collaborative work as if it were created solely by you.
  • 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.

9.3.5 Self-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.

 

9.3.6 Falsification

  • 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.

 

9.3.7 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.

 

9.3.8 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.