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Research misconduct in Universities.

Research misconduct in Universities.

A national watchdog that has the power to punish British universities for failing to tackle research misconduct is needed to ensure that sloppy practices and outright fraud are caught and dealt with fast, MPs say.

The new body would rule on whether universities have properly investigated allegations of malpractice and have the authority to recommend research funds be withdrawn or even reclaimed when it finds that inquiries into alleged wrongdoing have fallen short.

While serious research fraud is thought to be rare in British universities, a quarter of institutions fail to report cases of potential malpractice, according a survey by the Commons science and technology committee which urged ministers to set up the new watchdog in a report on research integrity published Wednesday.

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