N – Campaigners criticise misconduct policy

The UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) has issued a standard procedure for universities to deal with allegations of research misconduct. But it has been criticised, with one campaigner comparing it to a “Band-Aid on a cancer.” The guidance says that universities should use at least one external investigator but only after senior staff have decided whether the complaint is serious enough. Harvey Marcovitch, chairman of the Committee on Publication Ethics, said that the committee would prefer a mandatory system, but UKRIO thinks universities should continue to have responsibility for investigating complaints about their staff. (www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=403617&sectioncode=26, 18 Sep 2008, “Misconduct policy branded ‘Band-Aid’ for cancer”)