Research integrity

Creating an environment of rigour and openness at the Crick
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Our mission is to perform world-class discovery research to understand life and to drive benefits for human health. To achieve this aim, we must ensure that our research is reliable and trustworthy. This requires that all research activities are conducted with the highest standards of rigour and integrity.

We’re committed to delivering these high standards. Research integrity is a collective responsibility, and we’re working to create an inclusive, honest and fair research culture in which staff are encouraged to openly raise and discuss issues.

Our research activities are carried out by properly trained individuals, in compliance with legal, ethical and licensing requirements. We expect all staff to record and curate their research data accurately.

We make our research publications open access, so that they are immediately available to other researchers and the wider public. This ensures that our research findings can benefit health and society with minimum delay and fosters public understanding of science.

We also ensure that our quality assurance processes are applied in a fair, objective and consistent manner. We evaluate our new and existing researchers based on the quality of their published work, and we value all research outputs, as well as other contributions such as training or influencing policy and practice.

We are signatories to several external concordats and externally defined standards, including the 2019 Concordat to Support Research Integrity and the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DoRA). This aligns our vision with that of other leading research institutes across the world.

Our approach is detailed in our Research Integrity Policy and Open Access Policy, and broadly covers activity in three areas: to ensure that research is done well, that its outputs are stored and published properly, and that we assess the work of new and existing researchers fairly.

We make sure that research is carried out well

Research can’t give us answers about how life works, or lead to improvements in people’s health, if it is not good quality. Many factors work together to create the circumstances in which high-quality research can be done.

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We ensure high ethical standards

We expect our researchers to adhere to high ethical standards in all aspects of their work.

Our core policies set out our expectations for our researchers approaching their work with rigour and integrity. We encourage all members of the Crick community to recognise, challenge and, where necessary, raise concerns about potential research misconduct.

All publications or funding applications must:

  • Be free from fabrication or falsification, with processes and oversight to ensure that published results have not been manipulated or changed and that they are not presented in a way that is selective or misleading.
  • Be free from plagiarism, including self-plagiarism
  • Adhere to our authorship policy guidelines, which ensures that authors are appropriately credited
  • Properly acknowledge researcher contributions, sources of funding, and provenance of reagents

Our declaration of interests policy expects all Crick researchers to declare transparently and appropriately any interest that they, or members of their immediate family, may have.

We create a fair environment

Research integrity is promoted in an environment in which everyone is motivated to do their best work.

Our code of conduct sets the standard of conduct for anyone working here and outlines the behaviour that we expect from each other. In turn, this creates a safe, respectful, well-managed working environment where everyone can work towards their goals. 

More specifically, our dignity at work, and equality, inclusion and diversity policies aim to foster a workplace in which bullying, harassment and victimisation are unacceptable, and differences between individuals are respected and valued.

We provide quality training

We have a series of training seminars and workshops in place to support research integrity and ethics at the Crick.

Depending on the topic, this is a combination of induction sessions for laboratory researchers, and specific sessions for topics such as animal research and using human tissue samples for anyone new to those areas.

We are also committed to the training of our researchers as signatories to the Concordat to support the career development of researchers, an agreement between funders and employers of research staff to improve the employment conditions, professional development and support for researchers in UK higher education.

We meet legal requirements

All work at the Crick is carried out in compliance with legal and licensing requirements, as described here.

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We make sure data is stored properly and published openly

We generate a huge amount of data at the Crick, and this will only increase as technology advances. This data represents the fruit of our scientific endeavours, and is a valuable resource both for our scientists and the wider research community.

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We’re committed to making sure that our data are both reliable and openly available in the long term so they can be used for public good, as well as being open to scrutiny.

This belief is at the centre of the Crick’s Open Science Policy, which ensures that research outputs, such as publications, datasets and discoveries, are made freely available to the scientific community and the wider public. 

Our research data management policy outlines how we approach the storage, management and dissemination of data, including expecting our scientists to understand the need for good research data management; using recognised public data repositories; and creating a research environment in which researchers can maximise the value of their data.

Via our funders, we are a signatory to UK Research and Innovation’s Concordat on Open Research Data.  

Beyond data, we are committed to immediate, unrestricted access to the published outputs of research through open access.

We have also signed the Hague Declaration on Knowledge Discovery in the Digital AgeThis calls for changes to intellectual property laws to make data more widely and equally accessible, and to help remove barriers to content mining – the automated searching, indexing and analysis of digital content. 

We assess the work of new and existing researchers fairly

We are dedicated to responsible and fair approaches to evaluating research, both for assessing the work of existing research groups and new researchers joining the Crick.

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As part of this, we are a signatory to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DoRA).

The declaration outlines a series of recommendations about how scientific output can be evaluated in a more meaningful way. 

By signing DoRA, we are committed to:

  • recognising the value of all relevant research outputs, including datasets and software, as well as other types of contributions, such as training early-career researchers and influencing policy and practice
  • making decisions about funding, hiring, tenure, or promotion based on scientific content rather than publication metrics.

We adhere to the DoRA principles in our recruitment and reviewing processes by:

  • asking for a summary of achievements
  • accepting preprint references in job applications, provided they are marked as such
  • requiring statements of significance and research contributions on our CVs

In applying such assessment criteria, we create an environment in which our researchers feel free to pursue important questions, take appropriate risks and conduct their work with the integrity that leads to the most reliable and useful results.