One-year on: workshop on the culture of research

One-year after the Council’s report The culture of scientific research was published, the Council and the UK Research Integrity Office jointly hosted a workshop on 16 November to discuss how the report’s suggestions for action might continue to be addressed.

The aim of the workshop was to facilitate a discussion between key stakeholders in the research community about how to respond to the report’s proposals for improving the quality and ethical conduct of scientific research. Presentations were given by Sir Mark Walport, Government Chief Scientific Advisor, James Parry, Director of the UK Research Integrity Office, Steven Hill, Head of Research Policy at Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), and Peter Darroch, Research Metrics at Elsevier, among others. Jonathan Montgomery, Chair of the Council, chaired the meeting. Workshop participants included senior researchers and Government officials, and senior representatives of funding bodies, journals, professional bodies, learned societies and campaigning organisations.

Several speakers and participants praised the Council’s report for providing an overarching, ‘umbrella’ view the different factors that shape the culture of research, and for providing evidence and data on the perceptions of researchers. We heard that the report has already been influential within the internal discussions of funding bodies, universities and other organisations.

The discussion resulted in a number of practical suggestions for action that participants and others might consider, including:

  • improving communication between funding bodies and universities
  • more transparency around university appointment procedures
  • creating research integrity ‘champions’ within universities
  • encouraging heads of university departments and PIs (Principle Investigators) , as key influencers in the system, to engage with the issues around research culture
  • encouraging more universities to sign up to DORA (the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment)
  • responding to the current Higher Education Green Paper consultation and the forthcoming HEFCE consultation on the future of the Research Excellence Framework
  • commissioning research on the factors that currently have most influence in furthering researchers’ careers

Fuller notes from the meeting will be published in due course.

 

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