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Exploring indicators of research integrity  

The rationale for this project is to:

  • work collaboratively with other stakeholders to convene conversations around quantitative and qualitative indicators of research integrity
  • inform and influence those conversations, with the aim of building consensus, to contribute to improving how research integrity is evaluated in the UK
  • help build the evidence base for research integrity in the UK

The objective of this work is to:

  • determine whether indicators and evidence can be identified that will:
    • support higher education institutions to monitor research integrity and improve 
    • provide the committee with evidence on research integrity at a UK scale

Project approach

We used the iNorms SCOPE evaluation framework to guide the research integrity indicators project. This approach included an in-depth consideration of the different impacts, and ways in which, research integrity indicators might be used, for example:

  • the potential burden they might create for researchers and research administrators
  • their unintended uses and consequences, such as for institutional ranking

The project sought to consider the potential consequences and impacts by co-creating indicators with relevant stakeholders. To achieve this goal, we appointed a project advisory group to bring together expertise on metrics and indicators, research and research management, social responsibility and EDI, and from across a range of academic disciplines.

We were mindful not to duplicate effort to create indicators that are being created by other research stakeholders for other purposes, such as for research culture and open research, and where appropriate sought to influence those indicators and those that might have dual use as research integrity indicators.

We recognise that this is an exploratory project by nature and that this initial phase involved convening, seeking consensus, influencing, and proposing indicators.

As part of the initial phase of this project, we held five stakeholder workshops between October 2023 and March 2024. The outputs of these workshops are now being analysed and we expect to publish a report concluding this phase of the project in the summer 2024.

Getting involved

Thank you to all that participated in our stakeholder workshops. These were advertised via our newsletter. You can sign up for updates at the bottom of our home page.


The starting point for most discussions about integrity in research is the number of cases of misconduct. Such information doesn’t tell us enough about the overall quality and progress of UK research integrity.   

To work towards new ways of understanding research integrity, Cancer Research UK (CRUK), GuildHE, and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) commissioned Research Consulting to explore indicators of integrity.  

Indicators are methods that can be used to understand integrity practice, they can use numerical, narrative or a mixture of approaches. The project explored existing indicators of research integrity and considered whether new ones could be proposed.   

The project found that indicators may be useful, provided that they are created for specific purposes and are formative (shaping actions and research practices) rather than performative (aligned to policies but not necessarily linked to action plans).  

In September 2022, the committee and project sponsors published a joint response, which set out 5 working principles to develop indicators of research integrity. The response also identified 5 questions for further discussion. You can read the project materials

The UK Committee on Research Integrity is continuing the work started by Research Consulting, UKRI, CRUK and GuildHE.