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CODE OF PRACTICE – RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH

Date first approved:

12 October 2007

Date of effect:

12 October 2007

Date last amended:

Autumn Session 2017

Date of Next Review:

August 2022

First Approved by:

University Council

Custodian title & e-mail address:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)

jenny_martin@uow.edu.au

Author:

Director, Research Services Office

Responsible

Division & Unit:

Research Services Office, Research and Innovation Division (RAID)

Supporting documents, procedures & forms of this policy:

Academic Integrity Policy

Academic Misconduct (Coursework) Procedures

Authorship Policy

Autonomous Sanctions Procedure

Conflict of Interest Policy

Defence Trade Controls Guideline

Higher Degree Research (HDR) Supervision and Resources Policy

Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student Academic Complaints Policy

IP Intellectual Property Policy

Research Integrity and Conduct Policy: Breaches, Concerns and Complaints

Research Integrity and Conduct Procedure: Breaches, Concerns and Complaints

Research Data Management Policy

Research Sponsorship and Collaboration Policy

Workplace Health and Safety Policy

Relevant Legislation &

External Documents:

Australian Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011

Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes 8th Edition 2013

Autonomous Sanctions Act (2011)

Biological Control Act 1984

Biosecurity Act 2015

Customs Act 1901

Defence Trade Control Act 2012

Defence Trade Controls Amendment Bill 2015

Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Communities

Export Control Act 1982

Gene Technology Act 2000

Gene Technology Amendment Act 2015,

Gene Technology Regulations 2001

Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research

NHMRC Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (8th Edition 2013)

NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (Updated 2018)

Public Interest Disclosures Act, 1994 (NSW)

Research Integrity and Research Misconduct Policy 2016

Statement on Consumer and Community Involvement in Health and Medical Research 2016

The Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018)

Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995

Weapons of Mass Destruction Regulations 1995

Audience:

Public – accessible to anyone

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

Contents

1. Purpose

      1. This Code of Practice mandates the broad principles and behaviours that characterise the responsible conduct of research and an honest, ethical and conscientious research culture as defined by the Australian Research Council / National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018) (hereto referred to as “the Code”) and Australian Research Council Research Integrity and Research Misconduct Policy 2016 (or subsequent revision).

      2. Compliance with the Code is a requirement for the receipt of funding by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

2. Definitions

Word/Term

Definition

ARC

Australian Research Council

3Rs

Three principles that underpin a systematic framework to achieve the goal of humane experimental techniques. These are Replacement of animals with other methods, Reduction in the number of animals used; and Refinement of techniques used to minimise the adverse impact on animals.

Balance of Probabilities

The civil standard of proof, which requires that, on the weight of evidence, it is more probable than not that a breach has occurred.

Breach

Behaviour that fails to meet the principles or responsibilities of the Code, or fails to comply with relevant policies or legislation. May be used to refer to a single breach or multiple breaches.*

Conflict of Interest

Exists where there is a divergence between the individual interests of a researcher and his/her professional obligation to the University such that an independent observer might reasonably question whether the professional actions or decisions of that person are influenced by their own interests or are for their own benefit.

This refers to a financial or non-financial interest which may be a perceived, potential or actual conflict of interest.

NHMRC

National Health and Medical Research Council

Peer Review

The impartial and/or independent assessment of research or work by others working in the same or a related field.

Reputational Risks

Research Activities that damage or have the potential to damage UOW’s good name or reputation, or give the impression that UOW’s research outcomes are not independent and objective, or have not otherwise been achieved in compliance with best practice standards for the responsible and ethical conduct of research.

Examples include being associated with people, organisations or industries known to engage in activities that are fraudulent, misleading, unethical, deceptive, illegal or that cause health, population or significant environmental damage or that exploit disadvantaged or vulnerable members of the community (eg. impoverished communities, children, alcohol, tobacco etc).

It also includes presenting, or agreeing to present a research outcome in a way that could reasonably be viewed as:

(a) endorsing a third party product, service, opinion or organisation, without disclosing the underlying commercial or other relationship between the University and the third party;

(b) being not objective, unbiased or independent; or

(c) involving a real or perceived Conflict of Interest.

Research

The creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies, inventions and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it is new and creative.

Researcher

Staff member, occupational trainees, visiting student, visiting fellow, volunteer, industry fellow, honorary and adjunct title holders, Emeritus Professors, professional staff and all students registered for any course at the University who conducts, or assist with the conduct of, research at or on behalf of the University.

Research Misconduct

A serious breach of the Code which is also intentional or reckless or negligent.

Staff Member

All persons appointed as an academic or professional staff member of the University whether they hold full-time, part-time, casual, contract or conjoint appointments.

The Code

The Australian Research Council / National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the ARC / NHRMC Code or The Code for short.

The University

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 of Practice applies to all Researchers conducting, or assisting with the conduct, of any research activity under the auspices of the University.

4. Statement

    • 1. The University is committed to the provision of support for all Researchers to promote a culture of responsible and ethical conduct of research.
    • 2. Researchers should only participate in research activities which conform to accepted integrity, safety and environmental standards.
  • 3. This Code of Practice and the Code, represent the core behaviours that characterise the responsible conduct of research and should be read in conjunction with the supporting documents and guides cited above.

5. Principles of Responsible Research Conduct

    • 1. The following principles are the hallmarks of responsible research conduct:
      • 1.1 Honesty
        • When researchers are developing, undertaking and reporting on their research they must ensure that all information is presented truthfully and accurately in proposing, conducting and reporting on research and that they can justify and any claims or conclusions.
      • 1.2 Rigour
        • When researchers are developing, undertaking and reporting on their research this must be underpinned with attention to detail and the application of a robust methodology, with strategies in place to avoid or acknowledge any bias.
      • 1.3 Transparency
        • When declaring interests and reporting research methodology, data and findings researchers must disclose and manage any conflicts of interest and reputational risks. They must also share and openly communicate research methodology, findings and knowledge openly, responsibly and accurately.
      • 1.4 Fairness
        • Researchers must treat fellow researchers and others involved in the research fairly and with respect. Researchers must apply appropriate references and citations when referring to the work of others and assign the appropriate credit and authorship to those who have contributed to the work.
      • 1.5 Respect
        • Researchers must treat all human research participants, communities and animals with care and respect. Appropriate consideration must be given to the needs of minority groups or vulnerable people.
        • Any decisions and actions pertaining to the care and use of animals in research must be made with respect underpinning them and adverse effects on the environment as a result of research must be minimised.
      • 1.6 Recognition
        • Researchers must recognise, value and respect the heritage, diversity, cultural property and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples or communities and their right to be engaged in research that affects or is of particular significance to them.
        • There must be engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and/or communities so they are freely able to make decisions about their involvement. The outcomes should be reported to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities of research in which they have engaged.
      • 1.7 Accountability
        • Researchers are responsible for ensuring the development, undertaking and reporting of research complies with all relevant legislation, internal and external policies and guidelines. They must ensure good stewardship of public resources used to conduct research and consider the reputational risks, consequences and outcomes of research prior to its communication.
      • 1.8 Promotion
        • Researchers and institutions will promote the principles of responsible research practices and foster a culture and environment that supports the responsible conduct of research and ensures research trainees and early career researchers are mentored and supervised accordingly.

6. Roles & Responsibilities of the University

      1. The University has an obligation to encourage and support responsible research conduct.

      2. The University is accountable to funding organisations and the Australian community for how research is conducted.

      3. The University must:

        a. Establish good management practices and governance for responsible research conduct.

        b. Identify and comply with relevant laws, regulations, guidelines and policies related to the responsible conduct of research.

        c. Develop and maintain a suite of policies and procedures that are consistent with the principles and responsibilities of the Code.

        d. Provide ongoing training and education for all Researchers and those that assist with research that promotes responsible research conduct.

        e. Ensure Supervisors of research trainees have the appropriate skills, qualifications and resources to undertake this role in accordance with the Code and the University Higher Degree Research (HDR) Supervision and Resources Policy.

        f. Identify and train Research Integrity Advisers (RIAs) who will assist in the promotion and fostering of the responsible conduct of research and provide advice to those with concerns about potential breaches of the Code.

        g. Support the responsible dissemination of research findings and take action as required to correct records in a timely manner.

        h. Provide access to systems and facilities for the safe and secure storage and management of data, records and primary materials, with appropriate access and reference.

        i. Facilitate the prevention and detection of potential breaches of the Code and this Code of Practice.

        j. Provide mechanisms to receive concerns or complaints about potential breaches of the Code and this Code of Practice. Investigate and resolve any matters raised.

        k. Ensure the procedures for managing and investigating concerns or complaints about potential breaches of the Code and this Code of Practice is timely, effective and in accordance with procedural fairness.

        l. Support the welfare of all parties involved in an investigation of a potential breach of the Code or this Code of Practice.

        m. Base any investigation findings on the balance of probabilities and ensure any actions are commensurate with the seriousness of the breach.

7. Roles & Responsibilities of the Researcher

      • e. Adopt methods appropriate to the aims of the research and ensure conclusions are justified by results.
      • f. Retain clear and complete records of their research and research findings, inclusive of data and primary materials, and maintain the confidentiality of research data, records and primary materials in accordance with the University Research Data Management Policy. Access and reference to these materials by interested parties should be allowed where possible.
      • g. Disseminate research findings responsibly, accurately and broadly, as appropriate, and when not subject to restrictions related to intellectual property, confidentiality or culturally sensitive data.
      • h. Disclose and manage actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest in accordance with the University Conflict of Interest Policy and any reputational risks in accordance with the Research Sponsorship and Collaboration Policy.
      • i. Publish research findings according to the requirements of the University’s Authorship Policy and ensure the work of others is acknowledged, correctly cited, and used with permission.
        • ii) All scholarly outputs must be recorded in the University Research Information System (RIS). This system is used for reporting research publications to the Government and for internal reporting purposes. Research publications in RIS are also made available online via Research Online, the University’s institutional repository.
        • iii) Ensure any unintentional inaccuracy, or misleading statements or findings that are inadvertently released, are rectified as soon as possible.
      • j. Participate in peer review in a manner that is fair, rigorous and timely and maintains confidentiality of the content.
      • k. Take reasonable care for their personal health and safety and the health and safety of others. They must comply with all reasonable University instructions, policies and procedures including the Workplace Health and Safety Policy.

      l. Report suspected breaches of the Code or this policy in accordance with the University Research Integrity Policy: Breaches, Concerns and Complaints.

8. Research Integrity Breaches, Concerns and Complaints

    • 1. Researchers must comply with the Code and this Code of Practice. A failure to meet the principles and responsibilities detailed in these documents is regarded as a breach of the Code.
    • 2. A breach of the Code occurs on a spectrum ranging from minor breaches to serious breaches.
    • 3. Serious breaches are those carried out with intent or recklessness or negligence or are particularly egregious and may be referred to as “research misconduct”.
    • 4. All members of the University have a responsibility to report any concerns or potential breaches of the Code in accordance with the University Research Integrity Policy: Breaches, Concerns and Complaints.
    • 5. The Research Integrity Procedure: Breaches, Concerns and Complaints outlines the model used at the University to investigate and manage potential breaches and identify any corrective actions to ensure the integrity of the research is maintained.

9. 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.

8

Autumn Session 2015

University Council

Updated to reflect renaming of the Student Research Centre (SRC) to the Graduate Research School (GRS).

9

4 December 2015

University Council

Updated to reflect Academic Integrity Policy name change (formerly Academic Integrity & Plagiarism Policy).

10

18 August 2017

University Council

Updated to reflect more aptly the requirements of the NHMRC Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the Draft Code provisions that expand the principles and roles and responsibilities of Institutions and Researchers.

11

January 2019

Vice-Chancellor

Updated to reflect the Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018).

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