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Whatever 'Should' Means

UK universities are slow to make their findings from investigations of research misconduct public, Nature reports, adding that some of that comes from differing interpretations of what the word 'should' means.

In 2012, Nature notes, the Universities UK consortium set out guidelines for research integrity, and it said that universities 'should' make their investigations into research misconduct public.

However, a survey conducted by the UK Research Integrity Office and presented at the organization's annual meeting this week found that only a third of the 27 universities that responded (out of 44 contacted that subscribed to the UKRIO) published summaries of their misconduct investigations, Nature reports. Meanwhile, only 7 percent of universities that don't subscribe to the UKRIO published the findings of their investigations.

"It became clear at the conference that not every university had the same understanding of the concordat's wording that institutions 'should' make their reports public," Nature says. "Not all took it to mean that reporting was mandatory."