Research Integrity at PML

PML’s core values are Collaboration, Excellence, Innovation, Integrity, Meaningfulness, Respect and Responsibility which are applied to all aspects of our science and business activities. These are fundamental in achieving the four priorities identified within the PML Strategy:
Science Excellence; Business Excellence; Social Responsibility; Environmental Responsibility
 
A description of these can be found in the PML strategy.
 
We are committed to following the principles of the Universities UK ‘Concordat to Support Research Integrity’ and recently reviewed and updated our policies and guidance taking into account the latest 2019 version.
 

Policies and guidelines relating to research integrity used at PML

 
PML’s approach to ensuring research integrity is informed and implemented by several key external and internal policy documents.
 
External Policy Guidelines:
 
In addition to the Concordat to Support Research Integrity (Universities UK) 



Internally generated PML policies and guidance documents:

 

PML policies are available to all staff and students via our intranet and may be provided to external parties upon request. 
 
  • PML Policy for Dealing with Allegations of Research Misconduct   
  • PML Ethics Process Flowchart
  • Research Ethics and Ethical Approval at PML guidance document
  • PML Scientific Data Management Policy
  • PML Whistleblowing (Public Interest Disclosure) Policy (SN 54/20)
 


Training and Internal Communication


To ensure that all PML employees and students are aware of the relevant policies, and know how they should be applied, PML provides specific training and communication activities in this area. 
 
New employees who are joining PML meet with an HR representative for an induction within their first morning. The induction session includes information about various policies and procedures and how to access them, and research related policies and guidance.  Employees are also made aware of PML’s Core Values, including integrity and excellence.
 
All students joining PML also have an induction with HR. During this meeting, they are provided with a PhD Code of Practice that includes reference to relevant policies relating to conduct and expectations, including plagiarism and ethics. PhD supervisors undergo supervisory skills training as a mandatory requirement, which includes elements of research integrity. 
 
For existing employees, any updated or new policies are brought to the attention of all employees via email, together with a link to access the policy on our intranet. Regular training events/activities are run to ensure effective uptake of new policies.
 
As part of an ongoing review of the effectiveness of our policies, regular reviews are conducted within our management team meetings, including Senior Management Team and Science Team. This provides the opportunity for senior managers to provide feedback on how each policy is received and understood, and then to cascade revised policies within their groups at local meetings.
 

Formal ‘Research Ethics’ Applications

 

PML has a nominated lead on Research Ethics who oversees elements of PML research that require formal ethics approval and who can be contacted via ResearchEthics@pml.ac.uk. A formal arrangement exists with the University of Plymouth’s Faculty of Health and Human Sciences to review such ethical approvals for PML given their level of expertise and capacity in this sector. PML staff required to undertake a formal ethics approval process are supported by the PML Ethics Process Flowchart’ and the ‘Research Ethics and Ethical Approval at PML documents, both of which are located on the PML intranet.
 

GDPR


PML fully complies with GDPR regulations and the guidance document “General Data Protection Regulation – Guidance” was recently updated (April 2019) and is available to staff on the PML Intranet. PML’s Privacy Notice in respect of GDPR is available here
 

Quality Assurance

 
PML is an ISO9001 certified organisation since 2017 and its scope of certification is: ‘Development and application of marine and environmental science and technological research in conjunction with National and International partners.’
 
Scientific data and written text used in research papers and reports are reviewed informally by colleagues prior to their submission.
 
For those funding streams where the number of proposal submissions from organisations or individuals are limited, formal review and selection is conducted by the PML Peer Review College and PML Science Team. Publication of research findings primarily use peer-reviewed outlets.
 
Where appropriate, PML engages with external quality assurance processes and proficiency testing.
 

External Partners


PML has a policy in place for undertaking due diligence on third parties with whom it works using a risk-based approach.  PML, as a charity,  also has a policy in place for acceptance and refusal of donations or other sources of philanthropic funding.
 
Using our ‘Policy for Dealing with Allegations of Research Misconduct’ staff are instructed in how to identify and report research misconduct in external partners.
 

Monitoring and Reporting Research Misconduct

 
The process for reporting research misconduct is outlined in PML’s ‘Policy for Dealing with Allegations of Research Misconduct’.
 
The number and type of misconduct reports, should any occur, are reviewed annually by PML Science Team.
 
Any external party wishing to report an allegation of research misconduct against a PML employee or student can do so by contacting the PML Director of Science.
 
 
Steve Widdicombe
PML Director of Science
April 2021