Policy Directory

CODE OF PRACTICE – RESEARCH

Date approved:

12 October 2007

Date Policy will take effect:

On approval

Date of Next Review:

October 2012

Approved by:

University Council

Custodian title & e-mail address:

Director, Research Student Centre (RSC)
research_student_centre@uow.edu.au

Author:

Director, Research Student Centre

Responsible Faculty/

Division & Unit:

Research Student Centre, Research and Innovation Division (RAID)

Supporting documents, procedures & forms of this policy:

 

References & Legislation:

Research Misconduct Policy
Code of Practice – Supervision

Authorship Policy

Academic Grievance Policy (Higher Degree Research Students)

Conflict of Interest Policy

Public Interest Disclosures Act, 1994 (NSW)

NHMRC Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (7th Edition 2004)

NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans 1999

Gene Technology Act, 2000 (C’wealth)
and the Gene Technology Regulations 2001 (C’wealth)
Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research – December 2007

Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research (NHMRC 2003)

Guidelines for Ethical Research in Indigenous Studies (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 2002)

Statement on Consumer and Community Participation in Health and Medical Research (NHMRC and Consumers’ Health Forum of Australia inc. 2002)

Audience:

Public – accessible to anyone

Expiry Date of Policy:

Not Applicable

Submit your feedback on this policy document using the Policy Feedback Facility.

Contents

1 Purpose of Policy

  • 1. The Code of Practice – Research (hereto referred to as “the Code”) mandates the current policy and best practice relating to procedures for responsible research.
  • 2. The University of Wollongong adheres to the guidelines provided by the Universities Australia Committee (UA) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in the drafting of this document.

2 Definitions

Word/Term

Definition

HDR student

A student registered in a Higher Degree Research (HDR) program of study, namely a Masters-by-Research degree or a Doctoral degree.

Original Data

Original data is primary data from which published works result. A digitised copy is an acceptable form of original data.

Research Student Centre

The UOW administrative division responsible for policy, governance and the management of Higher Degree Research student functions.

Research misconduct

Conduct by a researcher, staff member, visitor or HDR Student that is in breach of the Rules, Codes, Policies and Procedures of UOW or the Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research where such a breach relates to the five fundamental values of academic integrity, namely honesty, trust, responsibility, respect and fairness.

Staff member

Means all persons appointed to the academic or general staff of UOW, whether they hold full-time, part-time, casual or conjoint appointments.

UOW

The University of Wollongong.

Visiting fellow

Honorary and visiting fellows appointed by UOW to non-salaried, full-time or fractional positions titled “Associate Fellow”, “Fellow”, “Senior Fellow”, “Principal Fellow”, “Professorial Fellow”, “Visiting Fellow”, or “Research Fellow” who are not Visiting Students or Volunteers.

Visiting student

A student who undertakes part of their research or training at UOW but who is not registered at UOW.

Volunteer

A person who is not a Fellow, Visiting Student, Staff Member or Student of UOW but is working on a UOW project in a voluntary capacity. An example of a volunteer is someone who is undertaking unpaid work experience at UOW or is doing an internship at UOW. A collaborating colleague from another University or research institution is not a Volunteer.

3 Application & Scope

  • 1. This Code applies to all research conducted by any staff member, student or visiting person (academic/fellow or student) under the auspices of the University of Wollongong. This Code should be read in conjunction with other related policies.
  • 2. It is a basic assumption of institutions conducting research that their researchers are committed to high standards of professional conduct. Researchers have a duty to ensure that their work enhances the good name of the institution and the profession to which they belong.
  • 3. Research workers should only participate in work which conforms to accepted ethical, safety and environmental standards.

4 Roles & Responsibilities

Responsibilities of Researchers

Maintain High Standards of Responsible Research

  • 1. Researchers must:
    • 1.1. Maintain intellectual honesty and integrity and scholarly and scientific rigour;
    • 1.2. Comply with statutory and other requirements relating to ethical, safe and responsible conduct of research;
    • 1.3. Adhere to policies of the University and any other policies or agreements that affect the research project;
    • 1.4. Ensure that research findings are disseminated accurately, responsibly and honestly;
    • 1.5. Report any suspected research misconduct;
    • 1.6. Participate in peer review processes by:
        • a. contributing where possible to the review of applications seeking substantial public funding support;
        • b. not seeking to influence the process or outcomes when their work is being peer reviewed;
        • c. informing sponsors in cases where work has not been subject to peer review because of confidentiality issues.

Retention of Data

  • 2. Data must be recorded in a durable and appropriately referenced and retrievable form, in a safe and secure storage area, with clear and accurate records of research methods and data sources. Where laboratory books are used to record data, these can be scanned and stored in pdf. Laboratory books will be considered acceptable forms of original data.
  • 3. In general data must be kept for at least five (5) years from the date of publication. As a minimum, sufficient data must be retained in order to support the research outcomes in situations where an investigation is required.
  • 4. Researchers given access to confidential information must maintain confidentiality and may only use such information in ways agreed with those who provided it.
  • 5. Wherever possible, a copy of the original data should be retained in the department or research unit in which they were generated.
  • 6. There may be cases where retention of original data may be difficult, such as:
    • 6.1. A large volume of source material - in these cases source material should be clearly referenced in any published material; or
    • 6.2. Data obtained from limited access databases or in a contracted project - in such cases a written indication of the location of the original data or key information regarding the limited access database from which it was extracted must be kept in the department or research unit.
  • 7. In these situations the time retained should be determined by the specific type of research. e.g. short term research projects completed by students can be discarded after twelve (12) months whereas clinical trials it may be necessary to retain data for fifteen (15) years.
  • 8. If at all possible, it is in the interests of all research workers to ensure that original data are safely held for periods of at least five years. When considering how long to retain data researchers should also consider professional standards, legal requirements and contractual arrangements.

Publication and Dissemination of Research Findings

  • 9. Researchers must:
    • 9.1. Wherever appropriate, and subject to restrictions related to intellectual property and confidential or cultural sensitive data, researchers should communicate their research findings to the wider community.
    • 9.2. Publish research results according to the requirements of the University’s Authorship Policy;
    • 9.3. Ensure accuracy of publications and dissemination of research. If inaccurate or misleading statements are inadvertently released they must be rectified as soon as possible.
    • 9.4. Ensure work of others is correctly cited and used with permission as required by the University’s Authorship Policy and Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Policy.

The Responsibilities of Supervisors of Research Trainees

  • 10. As part of the formal Commencement of Candidature process research supervisors must advise each research student of applicable government and institutional guidelines for the conduct of research, including those ethical requirements for studies on human or animal subjects, requirements for the use of potentially hazardous agents and Workplace Health and Safety practices, and acknowledgement, plagiarism and authorship policies.
  • 11. Research supervisors should be the primary source of guidance to research students in all matters of sound research practice. This should include discipline based research methods and other relevant skills, and the ability to interact with industry and working with diverse groups of people. Supervisors must be satisfied that the research methods and outcomes of research students under their supervision are appropriate and valid.
  • 12. The research supervisor should also guide the professional development of the research student in all matters relating to research conduct and overseeing all stages of the research process, including identifying the research objectives and approach, obtaining ethics and other approvals, obtaining funding, conducting research and reporting on the outcomes in appropriate forums and media.

The Role of Research Students

  • 13. Research students are expected to:
    • 13.1. Meet the same professional standards in conducting research as required by research staff;
    • 13.2. Adhere to all relevant university rules and policies; and
    • 13.3. Actively seek guidance and training as required.

5 Peer Reviewers

  • 1. Impartial and independent assessment of research by people in the same or related field is an important aspect of research. Researchers who participate as peer reviewers must ensure that they declare all conflicts of interest, are fair and timely in their review, act in confidence and give fair and proper consideration to research within their area of expertise.

6 Disclosure of Potential Conflict of Interest

  • 1. Disclosure of any potential conflict of interest is essential for the responsible conduct of research. The formal written disclosure of such interests will be to: the Dean of Research, the editors of journals to which papers are submitted, research collaborators and to bodies from which funds are sought, as appropriate.

7 Research Misconduct

  • 1. All members of the University have a responsibility to report any incident of suspected research misconduct. Researchers should be aware of the research governance framework within which they work and in particular the provisions relating to research misconduct. Misconduct does not include genuine errors or differences in interpretation or judgments of data. A researcher suspecting possible misconduct should first consult the Research Misconduct Policy.

8 Version Control and Change History

Version Control

Date Effective

Approved By

Amendment

1

12 October 2007

University Council

Major modifications to Code of Practice – Research in response to changes to the guidelines provided by the Australian Vice Chancellors’ Committee (AVCC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and compliance with Policy Template.

2

6 May 2009

Vice Principal (Administration)

Migrated to UOW Policy Template as per Policy Directory Refresh

3

8 October 2009

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Review of policy with minor amendments including replacement of references to the PVC (Research) with reference to the Dean of Research

4

1 December 2010

Deputy Vice-Chancellor

(Research)

Review of policy with minor amendments including reference to and definition of ‘Original Data’ and retention of original data.

5

23 March 2011

Snr Mgr, Policy & Governance

Links amended, reference to AVCC updated to Universities Australia (UA) and Academic Integrity & Plagiarism Policy.

6

3 February 2012

Vice-Principal (Administration)

Minor amendment to update references to Public Interest Disclosure legislation

7

30 Nov 2012

Vice-Principal (Administration)

Updated to reflect change from OHS to WHS.

Last reviewed: 23 January, 2013

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