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University College London issues new research standards but says it won’t investigate Wakefield

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 14 September 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6220
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

University College London has updated its mechanisms for safeguarding research participants and ensuring the quality and ethical standards of its research. In doing so it has taken account of lessons learnt from the case of Andrew Wakefield, whose research into a possible link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism led to him being struck off the UK medical register. But it says it will not investigate the Wakefield case further, despite calls from the BMJ to do so.

John Tooke, UCL’s vice provost (health), described the university’s updated research governance framework as “robust and fit for purpose.”

However, the college stopped short of commissioning an independent investigation into the case, which articles in the BMJ suggested amounted to research fraud that warranted further scrutiny.

In a paper on the development of its new framework, UCL said that after taking advice from the UK Research Integrity Office and “a senior legal figure” it concluded that “the net result [from …

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