What is Research Misconduct?

According to the NHMRC Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (Section 10), research misconduct includes:

“Fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or deception in proposing, carrying out or reporting the results of research, and failure to declare or manage a serious conflict of interest. It includes avoidable failure to follow research proposals as approved by a research ethics committee, particularly where this failure may result in unreasonable risk or harm to humans, animals or the environment. It also includes the wilful concealment or facilitation of research misconduct by others.”

Research misconduct constitutes a failure to comply with:

Research misconduct does not include honest differences in judgement or minor or unintentional errors which are not dishonest, reckless or persistently negligent.

Research misconduct versus a breach

Not every allegation is considered to be research misconduct. In cases where the deviation from the Code or other requisite guidelines or regulations is considered to be less serious this is classified as a Breach. Breaches are generally remedied within the UOW.

Research Misconduct is used for more serious or deliberate deviations and the involvement of people independent to the UOW is desirable.

Each allegation is assessed on a case by case basis taking into account:

  • the penalties that may be applied if the allegations are proven to be true
  • the steps required to ensure procedural fairness to all parties
  • the extent to which there are consequences outside the UOW
  • the reputation of the research community in the general public.

Read some examples of Research Misconduct

More information


Last reviewed: 18 July, 2017