The Royal Society welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's independent review of research bureaucracy. We support the ambition of the review to 'reduce research bureaucracy so that only essential elements remain, resulting in a major improvement in the quality of the working lives of individuals and teams conducting research.' Researchers in the UK and beyond spend a significant proportion of their time completing administrative tasks. Some of these tasks and processes have been introduced to improve the scientific enterprise, for example those associated with open science initiatives. However, others have limited value and increased administrative responsibilities can be a distraction and place pressure upon researchers.
Our response focuses on current bureaucracy within the system. We have not included material relating to proposed future bureaucracy and would urge decision makers to review the existing administrative burden before the introduction of any new processes. Recent proposals for a Foreign Influence Registration Scheme, for example, could significantly hamper scientific collaboration between the UK and other countries. The Society has requested further consultation on this proposed initiative.