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Research integrity recognized as major problem but new report falls short

By Simon Linacre May 11, 2023

Researcher looking into microscope

Thursday 11 May 2023

UK Parliament Select Committee highlights threat to research credibility, Digital Science points to future integrity concerns

Digital Science welcomes the UK Parliament Select Committee report on research integrity as an important step towards greater transparency and accountability on research quality.

However, the technology company argues that such action is long overdue, and doesn’t go far enough by leaving the role that research infrastructure providers can play unexamined. It means the research community could miss out on the crucial support those providers offer in the shape of quantitative evidence.

Dr Leslie McIntosh, Vice President of Research Integrity at Digital Science, says: “We welcome the parliamentary committee’s work on the major research reproducibility issues facing the entire community – not just in the UK, but globally – and to set best practice expectations around responsible, reproducible, and transparent research.

“However, as leaders in the research integrity space, with many decades of experience in championing and supporting open, transparent and reproducible research, we believe the report can and should go further.

“Critically, if the report has a limitation, it leaves the role of some parts of the research community – including the roles of research infrastructure and service providers – unexamined. By examining this broader complexity – including, research infrastructure, institutions and service providers – we can see that solutions to future problems will arise. We genuinely need a holistic approach to these issues. With this in mind, it is timely to reflect on Digital Science’s role in supporting research integrity and reproducibility,” Dr McIntosh says.

The report goes on to put the onus on the system and not researchers or other actors for the failings in research processes, pointing to systemic barriers that prevent best practice. At the core of the report’s 28 individual recommendations to solve these issues is the sentiment that “the research community, including research institutions and publishers, should work alongside individuals to create an environment where research integrity and reproducibility are championed”. (p28).

“This foundational piece – Research Reproducibility – upholds the integrity scholarship. As funders influence the direction of the research ecosystem, the UK report rightly brings reproducibility to the forefront of research, strengthening one vital pillar of trust in science,” Dr McIntosh says.

A more detailed response from Digital Science to the report can be found in this TL;DR blog post from Vice President of Research Futures Simon Porter: Reproducibility and Research Integrity top UK research agenda.

Digital Science has a range of research tools that enable best practice in research quality and integrity, such as the figshare data repository and the new Dimensions Research Integrity product, which uses the methodology and algorithms developed by Digital Science company Ripeta to examine published papers and identify the hallmarks of responsible science – called ‘Trust Markers’. This step forward has created the world’s largest research integrity dataset by applying the processes to over 33 million publications since 2011, resulting in over 200 million trust marker data points which allow researchers to look at the development over time of the portfolios of research organizations, publishers and funders.

Dimensions Research Integrity is one of the first global datasets on Research Integrity practice to be made available – to see what it looks like and learn more about shifts in the structuring of research papers, more details can be found in the blog post on Digital Science’s new TL;DR website. 

Learn more about Dimensions Research Integrity.

About Digital Science

Digital Science is a technology company working to make research more efficient. We invest in, nurture and support innovative businesses and technologies that make all parts of the research process more open and effective. Our portfolio includes admired brands Altmetric, Dimensions, Figshare, ReadCube, Symplectic, IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, Overleaf, Writefull, and metaphacts. We believe that together, we can help researchers make a difference. Visit and follow @digitalsci on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

About Dimensions

Part of Digital Science, Dimensions is the largest linked research database and data infrastructure provider, re-imagining research discovery with access to grants, publications, clinical trials, patents and policy documents all in one place.

About Figshare

Part of Digital Science, Figshare is an open access turnkey Software-as-a-Service repository solution that supports open science. Its infrastructure and global community provide institutions with a platform to share and preserve their outputs – including large datasets – in a findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR) way. Visit and follow @figshare on Twitter.

Media contacts

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