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Policies, procedures and guidelines

Research Governance

Research Governance is about having a range of regulations, principles and standards of good practice to maintain the integrity of the research conducted.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

The Research Governance Team have developed a number of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to help researchers through the various steps involved in conducting a research study. Each SOP should be easily understood, but if you have any queries just contact a member of the team for clarification. The prime reason for developing the SOPs has been to comply with legislation but we do expect the relevant components of them to be complied with in all research.

Human Tissue Procedures
Human Tissue Standard Operating Procedures
Human tissue standard operating procedures
Research Procedures
Research Standard Operating Procedures
Standard operating procedures

Research in Conflict Zones

In order to protect the integrity of the research process and to facilitate staff and students in completing projects that support our research strategies, the University has an obligation to provide insurance for staff and students who need to travel to conflict zones, so long as the travel has been approved through an appropriately robust risk assessment process. Schools have already established procedures for managing risk through research approval processes that are used for projects conducted by students and staff.

In order to deal specifically with the issue of undertaking travel to countries that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has deemed to be unsafe, it is recommended that these additional procedures should be introduced.

Research File Guidelines

A Research File is a standardised filing system which allows for the logical and effective storage of documentation relating to a research project.
Guidelines on the content (and rationale for inclusion), storage, archive and audit of Research Files can be found here:

Documents required will vary according to the type of research. A contents checklist which can be adapted to suit specific projects can be found here:

Guidance on the Appropriate Use of PPI

Guidance on the appropriate Use of PPI can be found here. Further information and resources in relation to PPI can be found on the QUB Personal & Public Involvement Network ( and PPI Resource Hub (

Authorship and Publication

The issue of authorship is important in the context of good research practice. Authorship practices may differ across disciplines. In some areas of arts and humanities sole authorship may be the norm whilst in areas such as the sciences, having several authors involved in a publication is common. Although authorship practices and the order of authorship may vary, the University supports an approach based on the ‘Vancouver Guidelines' (ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, 2013) with authorship credit based on all four of the following criteria being met: 

  1. Substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis of interpretation of data
  2. Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content
  3. Final approval of the version to be published
  4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

The above criteria are not intended to be used to deny authorship to those who deserve credit and individuals who meet the first criterion should have the opportunity to participate in the review, drafting and final approval of the article or manuscript. It should be noted that the acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, alone, does not justify authorship. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content. The practices of honorary/gift authorship or ghost authorship are unacceptable.

Community-University Research

These guidelines have been produced by a special Project Group of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice in order to ensure that strong and meaningful partnerships are formed in every community/university project that is undertaken.

Guidelines for Good Practice - University Researchers working in Partnership with Community Sector Organisations.