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A call for the UK Research Integrity Office to be reformed

This email was sent to the CEO, Trustees (where email addresses were available) and University Subscribers to the UKRIO


From: Bill Courtney [mailto:billcourtney@lineone.net]
Sent: 06 June 2016 21:31
To: 'James Parry'; 'mhiney@hrb.ie'; 'mhiney@hrb.ie'; 'w.j.spence@qmul.ac.uk'; 'UKRIO Farthing (VC@sussex.ac.uk)'; 'tara.dean@port.ac.uk'; 'UKRIO Omar Qureshi (omar.qureshi@cms-cmck.com)'; 'UKRIO Nigel Pleming (nigel.pleming@39essex.com)'; 'UKRIO Gordon Murray (Gordon.Murray@ed.ac.uk)'; 'gartside@liverpool.ac.uk'; 'Christopher Hodges (christopher.hodges@csls.ox.ac.uk)'; 'bernard. silverman@stats. ox. ac. uk (bernard.silverman@stats.ox.ac.uk)'; 'vpresearch@st-andrews.ac.uk'; 'vp-research@glasgow.ac.uk'; 'vpacademic@smu.ca'; 't.s.turner@hud.ac.uk'; 'Sue.Steel@uea.ac.uk'; 'S.Warren4@exeter.ac.uk'; 's.ohanlon@lancaster.ac.uk'; 's.mustafa@gold.ac.uk'; 'S.J.Rothberg@lboro.ac.uk'; 'rso@le.ac.uk'; 'Ros.Rouse@uwe.ac.uk'; 'rigo@surrey.ac.uk'; 'res-ethics@brunel.ac.uk'; 'researchintegrity@ucl.ac.uk'; 'researchintegrity@admin.cam'; 'n.jennings@imperial.ac.uk'; 'm.c.henderson@bath.ac.uk'; 'michael.davies@sussex.ac.uk'; 'MFarrell@sec.ucc.ie'; 'M.A.G.Mannion@gcu.ac.uk'; liliane.schoofs@kuleuven.be; 'belharris@dmu.ac.uk'; 'L.V.Unwin@sheffield.ac.uk'; 'k.bock@bbk.ac.uk'; 'jessica.corner@nottingham.ac.uk'; jane.prewett@warwick.ac.uk; 'g.m.seymour@exeter.ac.uk'; 'F.A.Toop@city.ac.uk'; 'evansca@cardiff.ac.uk'; 'Elizabeth.Adams@glasgow.ac.uk'; 'dean.of.research@tcd.ie'; 'd.w.raper@mmu.ac.uk'; 'd.galpin@soton.ac.uk'; 'Clare.Williams@brunel.ac.uk'; chris.mottershead@kcl.ac.uk; 'ac.ubnoble@marjon.ac.uk'; 'b.warnock@kingston.ac.uk'; 'andrew.clark@ucl.ac.uk'; 'Alan.harvey@dcu.ie'; 'acollop@dmu.ac.uk'; 'a.tobin@yorksj.ac.uk'; 'a.maclarnon@roehampton.ac.uk'; 'a.choudhuri@swansea.ac.uk'; 'a.ball@hud.ac.uk'; 'mhiney@hrb.ie'
Cc: 'Ben.Ryan@epsrc.ac.uk'; 'Vice Chancellor U of M'; 'Colin. Bailey@manchester. ac. uk (Colin.Bailey@manchester.ac.uk)'; 'n.thakker@manchester.ac.uk'; 'luke.georghiou@mbs.ac.uk'; 'Andrew.Lewis@epsrc.ac.uk'

Subject: Evidence that the UKRIO needs reforming

Dear Dr Parry,

Thank you for your letter dated 31 May 2016.
(A copy is attached for the benefit of UKRIO subscribers.)

Over the last four years I have been alerting the UKRIO to a case where a UKRIO representative serving on a formal enquiry panel has been colluding with other panel members from Manchester University, creating false evidence to hide research fraud.

This case should have set alarm bells ringing within the UKRIO because you are aware that the chair of the panel was a fellow author and head of department for the two Manchester scientists who went on to win the Nobel Prize for their work on graphene.

The delivery of the panel’s fraudulent report, that hid research fraud, preceded the awarding of the prize by several months.

In the years since these two events, Manchester University has done very well for itself in prestige and financial terms, but our British reputation for research integrity has been placed in jeopardy.

You have now claimed that your representative was a volunteer and that the UKRIO is in no way accountable for his behaviour.

Quite paradoxically, you imply that the UKRIO is impotent to investigate allegations of fraud within its own ranks.

This means there is a flaw at the heart of the UKRIO model. It assumes that volunteers acting in its name will never “go native” and act to hide the research fraud they are supposed to be investigating.

This model can only cause a decline in UK research standards, because the UKRIO is offering brand name credibility to research integrity, without a complimentary accountability.

I believe we should be aspiring to the highest possible research integrity standards, not the lowest we can get away with.

With this in mind, I have come to the conclusion that my moral duty is to inform the subscribers about what has been done in their name.

I am attaching a document for university subscribers titled, “Evidence that the UKRIO needs reforming”. Hopefully the subscribers will respond by pressing for reforms.

You may wish to forward this attachment to all other subscribers.

 Yours sincerely,

Bill Courtney





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