James Parry, Chief Executive of the UK Research Integrity Office, chaired the launch of a report on The Culture of Scientific Research in the UK at the Palace of Westminster last Thursday.

The inquiry found that scientists in general aspire to rigorous, ethical research, and value guidelines such as The Concordat to Support Research Integrity. However, the inquiry also reported concerns about the pressure that scientists experience to focus on and report positive results, and how this could lead to corners being cut. Scientists were also highly concerned about inadvertent perverse incentives to fabricate data, alter, omit or manipulate data, or ‘cherry pick’ results.

Bernard Silverman, Chair of UKRIO, said: “The evidence from this report confirms the view of UKRIO and others that it is essential that research institutions in the UK should provide strong leadership to build a research environment that supports researchers throughout their careers in striving for robust scientific design and high ethical standards. We look forward to exploring with the research community, funders and regulators how this might be taken forward.”

James Parry, Chief Executive of UKRIO, said: “UKRIO has led the way in supporting research institutions in creating a culture and environment that minimise the opportunities and incentives for scientific misconduct. While basic standards can appear to be straightforward, putting them into practice can be more challenging. Reminding researchers and institutions of their responsibilities, and of the harm that failing to meet them can cause, is a long-term exercise, requiring strong leadership within the research community.”

The UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) is an independent charity, offering support to the public, researchers and organisations to further good practice in academic, scientific and medical research.