New Parliamentary briefing note and House of Commons inquiry on research integrity

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has published a research integrity briefing note for Parliamentarians, which considers current approaches to promoting the behaviours and values that result in high quality, ethical and valuable research.

The POSTnote covers current approaches to promoting integrity in research, assessment and the role of peer review, and identifies the main challenges and suggestions for how improvements that could be made to ease institutional pressures on researchers. The note draws on the Council’s report on the culture of scientific research, published in 2014. It was researched and written by Cressida Auckland, who took up a Fellowship at POST as part of the Council’s ongoing partnership with POST to support and promote informed debate of bioethics among Parliamentarians. Cressida spent 3 months working at POST to produce a topical briefing note on an area of public policy that raises bioethical issues. The topic of research integrity was selected by the POST Board which is chaired by Adam Afriyrie MP and includes 14 parliamentarians from the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Following this publication, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee have today announced a new inquiry on the issues raised in the POSTnote and following up the ‘Peer review in scientific publications‘ report from 2011. The Committee is inviting written submissions by 10 March 2017, to include views on the issues raised in the POSTnote, including:

  • The extent of the research integrity problem;
  • Causes and drivers of recent trends;
  • The effectiveness of controls/regulation (formal and informal), and what further measures if any are needed; and
  • What matters should be for the research/academic community to deal with, and which for Government.

POST is an office of both Houses of Parliament, charged with providing independent and balanced analysis of policy issues that have a basis in science and technology. POSTnotes are based on literature reviews and interviews with a range of stakeholders and are externally peer reviewed. For more information please see http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/offices/bicameral/post/.

Find out more about the Council’s work on the culture of scientific research.

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