Links with COPE guidelines consensus statement research governance framework

Since 1997 there have been three major initiatives in which research misconduct has been tackled. The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)2 was formed by a group of medical editors, who have produced guidelines on good publication practice (see Chapter 18). A Joint Consensus Conference on Misconduct in Biomedical Research in Edinburgh in 19991 agreed a statement on research misconduct and the promotion of good research. Most recently, the Department of Health issued a consultation draft research governance framework for health and social care.3


Intellectual honesty should be actively encouraged in all medical and scientific courses of study, used to inform publication ethics, and prevent misconduct. It is with that in mind that these guidelines have been produced. Good research should be well justified, well planned, appropriately designed, and ethically approved. To conduct research to a lower standard may constitute misconduct.

Consensus statement

Patients benefit not only from good quality care but also from good scientific research. We all expect high standards of scientific and medical research practice. The integrity, probity, skill, and trustworthiness of scientific and medical researchers are essential if public confidence is to be assured. In the design of biomedical and healthcare research, public participation is essential.1

Research governance framework

The Government is committed to enhancing the contribution of research to health and social care, and the partnership between services and science.The public has a right to expect high standards (scientific, ethical, and financial), transparent decision-making processes, clear allocation of responsibilities, and robust monitoring arrangements. A quality research culture is essential for proper governance of health and social care research.3 These initiatives agree on the need for:

• a culture of quality, honesty, and integrity in research

• formal ethical approval

• consent and confidentiality

• good research practice

• publication and accessible accounts of research

• appropriate monitoring of progress of studies

• formal supervision of researchers

• systems for managing misconduct

• guidance and training for research ethics committees and for researchers. The recommendations of the research governance framework were designed to promote excellent quality research and, conversely, to prevent less good practice. This is the task that RECs set out to perform. Their rigorous ethical review is one means whereby research misconduct can be minimised.

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