Quality Assurance

MarBEF QA Framework

The Need for a MarBEF QA Framework

It is recognised that the adoption of Quality Systems and/or internal in-house QA measures across the MarBEF network is likely to be patchy. Thus, there is a need for a common QA Framework. The framework is intended not to replace but complement existing Quality Systems.

The MarBEF QA Framework is designed to encourage the adoption of similar standards across the network.

The Joint Code of Practice is an example of a QA framework and forms the basis of the proposed MarBEF QA Framework.

We hope MarBEF participants will adopt the contents of the framework and agree to work according to its principles. However, this requires consensus and hence it is open for debate for a period of 6 months.

Proposed MarBEF QA Framework

MarBEF participants are encouraged to abide by the QA framework for all MarBEF projects.

The QA framework comprises 12 sections outlined below. Adhering to the principles contained within the framework should assure the quality of the research:

  • Responsibilities
    Individual project responsibilities should be clearly identified and documented. Individual laboratories are responsible for the quality of work they undertake.
  • Competence
    All personnel associated with the project must be competent to perform the technical, scientific and support tasks required of them. Personnel undergoing training must be supervised at a level such that the quality of the results is not compromised by the inexperience of the researcher.
  • Project Planning
    Written project plans should be put in place for all projects. These plans should include details of the tasks to be performed, who is responsible, and timings.
  • Quality Control
    Required standards are determined for each stage of a process and Quality Control (QC) measures put in place to check attainment.
  • Health & Safety
    All practical science must comply with the relevant Health and Safety regulatory requirements.
  • Handling of samples and materials
    All samples should be labelled (clearly, accurately, uniquely and durably). The storage and handling of the samples and materials should be as specified in the project plan (or proposal) and must be appropriate to their nature. If the storage conditions are critical, these must be monitored and recorded.
  • Facilities and equipment
    All equipment must be appropriate for the measurements to be made, calibrated if necessary, and be in good working condition.
  • Documentation of procedures and methods
    All the procedures and methods used in a project must be documented. This includes analytical and statistical procedures and the generation of a clear audit trail linking secondary processed information to primary data.
  • Research/work records
    All records must be of sufficient quality to present a complete picture of the work performed, enabling it to be repeated if necessary.
  • Data integration
    It is the responsibility of both data providers and users to determine whether data is 'fit for use'. For example, whilst all data can be regarded as being of poor quality, if not collected in a scientifically robust way, 'data quality' also refers to 'fitness for use' and hence data may simultaneously be of high and low quality depending on how they are to be used.

Comments on the framework are invited until 31st July 2006 and should be sent to the QA workpackage leader (see Contacts). After this date, the QA Framework will be adopted and MarBEF participants agreeing to abide by the framework are asked to add their organisations name to the register below.

MarBEF QA Framework Register

The organisations below agree to abide by the principles contained within the framework.

Organisation Name
Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science, UK
Flanders Marine Institute, Belgium
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Spain
National University of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
Institute of Marine Biology of Crete, Greece
The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, UK
Netherlands Institute of Ecology; Centre for Estuarine and Marine Ecology
Plymouth Marine Laboratory
University Court of the University of St Andrews
Danish Institute for Fisheries Research
Ghent University
Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel
Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare
Ecological Consultancy Services Ltd. (EcoServe)
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