Our research principles, standards and regulations that ensure good practice
What is research governance?
Research Governance is the broad range of duties, standards and regulations of good practice that exist to ensure and continuously improve research quality and reliability.
Research governance is required to:
- Safeguard all participants in research
- Protect researchers and investigators by providing a clear framework within which to work
- Monitor practice and performance to ensure and enhance ethical and scientific quality
- Minimise risk and promote good practice
- Prevent poor performance and misconduct
The University complies with the Concordat to Support Research Integrity (Universities UK) and has adopted the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) Code of Practice for Research as its own.
You can find the policies, procedures and codes of conduct that define the research governance framework at the University of Portsmouth – and key University contacts – below.
Governance duties that must be considered for all Portsmouth projects:
Appropriate governance of research and innovation activities is mandated by all research and higher education funders. It is also required by professional and learned societies. Responsibility for governance (including when research or innovation activities are conducted for educational purposes) lies initially with the member of staff responsible for the project/student followed by their department/school head, followed by dean of faculty, and ultimately PVC research.
The following list is not exhaustive as there may be additional requirements for specific types of research (such as clinical trials), but at the minimum those responsible should ensure:
- The project is justified and the primary and secondary outcomes are appropriately designed.
- Everyone who will be involved in the project is appropriately qualified by education, training and/or experience to discharge their roles and responsibilities in the project.
- The project has been appropriately peer reviewed.
- Plans are in place for a suitable ethics review of the project and this will be completed prior to any work being undertaken.
- Appropriate dissemination and engagement activities have been considered and (if required) an impact plan is in place.
- All health and safety risk assessments and considerations have been made and/or taken into account.
- All amendments, annual and final reports, will be submitted to the appropriate authorities if required.
- All relevant laws and professional guidance are being followed.
University of Portsmouth specific:
- The aims of the project, and the organisation(s) we want to work with, are consistent with the University's mission and values.
- Any relevant project initiation forms have been completed.
- All external support and collaborations comply with the University’s financial policies and procedures. This includes due diligence checks where necessary.
- Data will be managed in accordance with the University Data Management Policy, and where appropriate a data management plan will be put in place.
- The scope of the proposed project falls within the University’s insurance and indemnity policies.
- All required declarations of interest have been made and will comply with the University’s research integrity and misconduct policies.
- The University’s intellectual property policies has been consulted and appropriate discussions/ arrangements have been made as required.
- All required contracts and/or agreements will be in place prior to starting the project.
- Arrangements are in place for the project team to access resources and support to deliver the work as proposed.
- Approval to conduct the project has been gained from the relevant department head(s)/deans(s)
Our policies, procedures and codes of conduct
Read the important policies and procedures from external bodies.
The University Ethics Policy provides a general framework for professional practice and decision-making on ethical issues as they arise in the work of the University. You can find more at our Research Ethics page.
For ethics queries and concerns please contact Dr Simon Kolstoe, University Ethics Adviser (email@example.com) or Denise Teasdale (firstname.lastname@example.org), Research Manager in Research and Innovation Services.
The University is committed to promoting high standards in the conduct of research through the implementation of a number of policies and procedures, these include:
The University adopts the Trusted Research guidance provided for Academia to support Research Integrity and our academic research staff in making informed decisions when undertaking international research collaborations.
The Trusted Research agenda is especially relevant to those researchers working in STEM disciplines, developing potential dual use technologies and working with emerging technologies in commercially and security sensitive areas.
Researchers should make themselves aware of the guidance and take appropriate steps to protect their research, their data and their personal security against misuse, theft and potential threat. All steps need to be proportionate to the risk and balanced with academic freedoms. Researchers can use the academic checklist when considering partnerships, the internal processes for Due Diligence to mitigate risk and familiarise themselves in best practices relating to cybersecurity, data management, travel and conference attendance.
You can watch these Cabinet Office risk case study videos to help you learn more about potential risks and help you make informed decisions.
Contact Sarah Duckering, Director of Research & Innovation Services, our central University RCAT Contact, who can liaise directly with the government Research Collaboration Advice Team on your behalf
Contact Guy Hembury, Deputy Director RIS, for all queries relating to Commercial and Security Sensitive Research, Export Controls
The University’s activities are governed by our financial regulations and procedures, and the relevant policies are detailed below:
We promote and protect access to our research information, through the implementation of policies and procedures, these include:
The University has been awarded the EC Human Resources Excellence in Research Award. The Award is given to organisations which have a robust strategy for improving the career development and management of its researchers.
Ten Year Review and Submission
In May 2023, we reported on the achievements since our 8 year review, and also identified our priorities for 2023-2026. Below are the documents submitted as part of our ten year review.
Eight Year Review and Submission
In May 2021, we reported on the achievements since our 6 year review, and also identified our priorities for 2021-2023. A gap analysis was completed to inform production of a new action plan. Below are the documents submitted as part of our eight year review.
- Action plan 2019 to 2021
- Action plan 2021 to 2023
- Eight year report
- Researcher Development Concordat Gap Analysis
Six year review
In May 2019, as part of the 6-year review, we updated our action plan, developed new actions and produced a report highlighting our main achievements - the documents below were those produced as part of this process.
Four Year Review
Four Years after gaining the HREiR Award, the 2015-2017 action plan was reported on and reviewed, along with the creation of the 2017-19 action plan. The documents submitted as part of this process are below.
Two Year Review
The University received the HR Excellence in Research Award on 22 May 2013. At the two year stage, we documented our progress towards, and updated, our action plan along with reporting on achievements. Below are the documents published as part of this process.
The University of Portsmouth is committed to providing an inclusive environment for all its staff and students and promoting an intersectional approach to equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I). The Gender Equality Plan (GEP) stands in conjunction with the range of University policies, guidance, reports and action plans pertaining to gender equality.
The GEP provides an overview of the University's dedicated gender equality resources, data collection and monitoring, and training as a mandatory requirement for Horizon Europe. Please see the Gender Equality Plan for further details.
External funders of research are increasingly seeking assurances from researchers and their institutions that their research is of the appropriate quality. Explore some terms of our funders below:
The University of Portsmouth firmly believes that research should be assessed/evaluated in as objective manner as possible, irrespective of the outlet or medium through which it is released, and that all research assessment and evaluation processes should be transparent, founded on fairness, consistency and inclusivity, and fit for purpose.
We do not deny that quantitative metrics (such as impact factors, citation counts and journal rankings) have a role to play in research assessment and evaluation. However, we view their role as being to complement and lend support to peer review and expert judgement - rather than being either a primary or surrogate determinant of ‘research quality’ - when hiring, promotion, or funding decisions are made.
For this reason, in January 2020, the University of Portsmouth signed up to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). We unequivocally embrace the general recommendations for institutions laid out in that document and have developed the following eight principles to govern our approach in this area.
The Portsmouth Principles governing Research Evaluation and Assessment
- Principle 1: We view the content of a paper as much more important than publication metrics or the identity of the journal in which it is published
- Principle 2: We will use quantitative metrics to inform and support, but not to supplant peer review and expert judgement
- Principle 3: Our research assessment and evaluation processes will have clear, strategic objectives
- Principle 4: We will account for variation by disciplinary field in terms of research outputs and citation practices
- Principle 5: We will ensure data sources are accurate, reliable, robust and transparent
- Principle 6: Where we use research metrics in our assessment and evaluation processes, we will not rely upon one single metric in isolation
- Principle 7: We will not employ research metrics that reflect or introduce bias (e.g. by gender) in any research assessment or evaluation process
- Principle 8: We will champion the use of responsible metrics at Portsmouth
For more details on our approach relating to the use of research metrics in research evaluation and assessment, download part 1 of our DORA paper.
For examples of why we have adopted each of these principles, and how they are reflected in our current policies and processes, download part 2 of our DORA paper.
To read more on how we are going to further embed these principles into our operating practices, download part 3 of our DORA paper.
If you have any questions relating to how we use research metrics at Portsmouth please email us at RIS@port.ac.uk, stating 'Research Metrics' as the subject of your enquiry.
Dr Simon Kolstoe (email@example.com) is the University Ethics Advisor and is the first point of contact for research ethics issues.
Professor Jeremy Howells (firstname.lastname@example.org) is our Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation – please contact him if you have any concerns relating to Research Integrity at the University.
If you have any questions regarding Research Governance at the University of Portsmouth you should contact Denise Teasdale (email@example.com), Research Manager in Research and Innovation Services.
And to report a matter relating to research misconduct or make a complaint using the University’s Whistleblowing Policy, please contact Claire Dunning (firstname.lastname@example.org), the University's Director of Corporate Governance.