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Research Code of Conduct Policy

Policy overview

1 Purpose

To establish a framework to promote the sound and ethical conduct of research and to promote best practice approaches in the responsible conduct of Research Activities at the University.

2 Scope

This policy applies to all University Research Workers.

3 Policy Statement

The University is committed to maintaining the highest standards of integrity in conducting research, and to creating and maintaining an ethical research culture. To ensure that these standards are upheld the University has adopted a Research Code of Conduct Policy adapted from the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. The Research Code of Conduct Policy (The Code) establishes the framework through which the University manages the conduct of responsible Research Activities.

The Research Code of Conduct Policy has been developed in accordance with the requirements of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and provides a framework for the development of subordinate policy and procedure documents for Research Activities at the University. Relevant legislation, policy and procedures are listed in Section 7 of this policy and include the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, the Gene Technology Act 2002 (Qld), the Gene Technology Act 2000 (Cwlth), the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) and the USQ Code of Conduct Policy. These documents provide specific information for Research Workers in relation to their obligations and inform this policy.

The Code and its supporting policies, pursuant procedures and processes sets out the expected standards of research conduct, responsibilities and processes for the approval, management and oversight of Research Activities and management of any alleged Research Misconduct.

The University requires that all Research Workers be familiar with The Code and uphold it in undertaking all Research Activities. It is the responsibility of Research Workers to be cognisant of, and comply with, The Code and its requirements and all relevant University policies and procedures, state, commonwealth and international laws, regulations, statutes, rules, standards and codes of practices when conducting Research Activities.

Failure to comply with the provisions of The Code may be grounds for disciplinary action in accordance with the University's policies on misconduct. Some breaches may also have consequences for individuals or organisations under criminal or civil jurisdictions.

4 Principles

4.1 Statement of guiding principles

The Code prescribes standards of responsible and ethical conduct expected of all Research Workers undertaking Research Activities at or on behalf of the University. The University has adopted the following principles about research. All Research Workers are expected to uphold these principles at all times whilst undertaking Research Activities.

The University is committed to creating and maintaining a strong responsible research culture that demonstrates:

  • honesty and integrity
  • respect for human research participants, animals and the environment
  • good stewardship of public resources used to conduct research
  • appropriate acknowledgement of the role of others in research
  • responsible communication of research results.

In addition to these principles, the Research workers and the University may have a requirement to comply with other specific requirements related to their areas of Research Activities. It is the responsibility of Research Workers to familiarise themselves with any additional specific requirements and to comply with these when undertaking Research Activities.

The University will:

  • promote responsible conduct of research and maintain a climate in which responsible and ethical behaviour in research is expected;
  • establish and uphold good governance and management practices;
  • provide appropriate training for Research Workers, including regular training in all aspects of The Code;
  • promote peer review and mentoring;
  • ensure a safe research environment;
  • effectively retain and store Research Data;
  • establish and uphold work health and safety and risk management policy and procedures;
  • establish and administer a process to manage potential, perceived, and actual conflicts of interest;
  • encourage a research culture which is innovative, open and transparent;
  • provide an advice mechanism for obtaining ethical clearance prior to conducting research; and
  • provide relevant training on procurement and contractual practices associated with collaborative Research Activities;

Research Workers will:

  • ensure that their research is an original investigation undertaken in order to gain knowledge and understanding and disseminate appropriately;
  • ensure that in all aspects of the conduct of research they foster and maintain a research culture and:
    • uphold University governance and management practices;
    • demonstrate integrity and professionalism;
    • observe fairness and equity;
    • demonstrate intellectual honesty; and
    • effectively and transparently manage potential, perceived and actual conflicts of interest;
  • follow proper practices to ensure the security and safety of themselves and others;
  • actively identify and engage in appropriate research training activities;
  • actively seek and participate in peer mentoring activities at all stages of the research cycle;
  • declare any potential, perceived, or actual conflicts of interest;
  • responsibly manage Research Data at all stages of the research cycle;
  • ensure research methods and results are open to scrutiny and debate;
  • actively seek advice in regard to the ethical conduct of research; and
  • responsibly manage the acquisition of ethical clearance prior to conducting any research that involves human, animals or the environment and abide by any conditions of the ethical clearance, including reporting.

4.2 Determination of additional specific requirements

In addition to the general guiding principles about research outlined in section 4.1, the University has additional specific requirements for a range of Research Activities.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) is responsible for:

  • the determination of any additional specific requirements;
  • development and maintenance of policies, procedures and processes relating to any additional specific requirements; and
  • oversight for ensuring these specific requirements are upheld.

4.2.1 Research data management and record keeping

All Research Data and records must be managed in accordance with the relevant University policies and procedures as provided in Section 7.

4.2.2 Authorship

Authorship in relation to Research Activities will be assigned and managed in accordance with the relevant University policies and procedures as provided in Section 7.

4.2.3 Publication and dissemination of research findings

Publication and dissemination of research findings will be undertaken in accordance with the relevant University policies and procedures as provided in Section 7.

4.2.4 Conflicts of interest

Research Workers are responsible for reporting any potential, perceived or actual conflicts of interest in accordance with the University's codes of conduct and relevant policies and procedures as provided in Section 7.

4.2.5 Peer review

Peer review at the University will be undertaken in accordance with relevant University policies and procedures as provided in Section 7.

4.2.6 Collaborative research across institutions

The University encourages collaborative research. To facilitate this, Research Workers engaged in, or considering undertaking collaborative research, must undertake this research in accordance with relevant University policies and procedures as provided in Section 7.

Any collaborative research is to be managed in accordance with relevant University costing and pricing policies and procedures as provided in Section 7.

4.2.7 Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property is to be managed in accordance with the relevant University policies and procedures as provided in Section 7.

4.2.8 Management of Higher Degree by Research Students

Management of Higher Degree by Research Students is the responsibility of the Graduate Research School and will be carried out in accordance with the relevant University policies and procedures as provided in Section 7.

4.2.9 Human research ethics requirements

Research Workers undertaking research involving humans, and/or their data or tissue, must comply with ethical principles of integrity, respect for persons, justice and beneficence, in accordance with:

  • the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992;
  • the National Statement of Ethical Conduct in Human Research;
  • the University's policies and procedures related to human research ethics; and
  • any replacement documents or other guidelines that set out principles for protecting human participants in research as may be promulgated from time to time.

4.2.10 Animal research ethics requirements

Research Workers involved in the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, must comply with the governing principles outlined in:

  • the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001(Qld);
  • the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes;
  • the University's policies and procedures related to animal welfare and ethics; and
  • any replacement documents or other guidelines that set out principles for protecting the welfare of animals in research as may be promulgated from time to time.

4.2.11 Biosafety research ethics requirements

Research Workers involved in the use of genetically modified organisms and/or research that incorporates biological agents, must comply with the requirements outlined in:

  • the Gene Technology Act 2000 (Cwlth);
  • the Gene Technology Act 2001 (Qld);
  • the National Health Security Act 2007;
  • the University's policies and procedures related to biosafety research ethics; and
  • any replacement documents or other guidelines that set out principles for working with genetically modified organisms, or biological agents, as may be promulgated from time to time.

4.2.12 Specialised research

Research Workers involved in specialised research, including, but not limited to the type of research undertaken or the research population (e.g. defence, medical) must comply with any further requirements, as may be promulgated from time to time. This should be in accordance with, but not limited to, Section 4: Ethical Considerations Specific to Participants of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.

4.3 Research integrity and advice on the conduct of research

Where a Research Worker or any other University Member is in doubt about the applicability of provisions of The Code, its supporting policies, procedures and processes, or about the appropriate course of action to be undertaken, advice should be sought from:

  • a Research Integrity Adviser; and/or
  • the Manager (Research Integrity and Ethics).

It is recommended that a Research Integrity Adviser is contacted in the first instance.

Confidentiality will be maintained at all times in the provision of this advice in accordance with the University's Code of Conduct Policy and other relevant policies and procedures as provided in Section 7.

4.4 Research Misconduct

The University is committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct for Research Activities.

The Vice-Chancellor is responsible for ensuring that the University has in place proper processes for managing Research Misconduct.

Research Workers have an obligation to report any suspected Research Misconduct. All suspected Research Misconduct must be reported for investigation and resolution in accordance with the relevant University policies and procedures as provided in Section 7.

Failure to report suspected Research Misconduct may result in disciplinary action under the University's policies on misconduct. Failure to report suspected Research Misconduct may also have consequences for individuals under criminal or civil jurisdictions.

5 References

Australian Government, Australian Research Council, National Health and Medical Research Council, Universities Australia. (2007). The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

6 Schedules

This policy must be read in conjunction with its subordinate schedules as provided in the table below.

7 Policy Information

Subordinate Schedules

Accountable Officer

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)

Policy Type

Governance Policy

Approved Date

23/2/2015

Effective Date

2/3/2015

Review Date

2/3/2018

Relevant Legislation

Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld)

Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th Edition 2013

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

Gene Technology Act 2000 (Cwth)

Gene Technology Act 2001 (Qld)

National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992

National Health Security Act 2007

National Statement on the Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007

Public Sector Ethics Act 1994

Related Policies

Animal Wellbeing and Ethics Policy

Authorship Policy

Biosafety Policy (under development)

Code of Conduct Policy

Collaborative Research Across Organisations Policy (under development)

Costing and Pricing Policy

Environmental Management Policy and Procedure

Human Research Ethics Policy (under development)

Intellectual Property Policy and Procedure

Public Interest Disclosure Policy and Procedure

Research Data Management Policy

Student Code of Conduct Policy

Student Complaint and Appeal Policy

Work Health and Safety Policy

Related Procedures

Academic Appeal Procedure

Authorship Procedure

Committee Conflict of Interest Procedure (under development)

Costing and Pricing (Research) Procedure

Disciplinary Action for Misconduct or Serious Misconduct Procedure

Management of Higher Degree by Research Program Procedure (under development)

Publication and Dissemination of Research Findings Procedure (under development)

Research Conduct Complaint Procedure

Research Data Management Procedure

Related forms, publications and websites

Animal Ethics website

Human Research Ethics website

Institutional Biosafety website

Research Integrity Advisers website (under development)

Research Integrity website

Research misconduct manual (under development)

University Statement on Peer Review

Definitions

Terms defined in the Definitions Dictionary

Employee

A person employed by the University and whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement and includes persons employed on a continuing, fixed term or casual basis. Employees also include senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University....moreA person employed by the University and whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement and includes persons employed on a continuing, fixed term or casual basis. Employees also include senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University.

Primary Materials

Physical objects acquired through a process of scholarly investigation from which Research Data may be derived. Includes, but is not limited to, ore, biological material, questionnaires, or recordings, artwork and photographs....morePhysical objects acquired through a process of scholarly investigation from which Research Data may be derived. Includes, but is not limited to, ore, biological material, questionnaires, or recordings, artwork and photographs.

Research Activities

Refers to activities that result in 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 and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes....moreRefers to activities that result in 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 and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.

Research Data

Facts, observations, measurements or experiences on which an argument, theory or test is based. Research Data may be numerical, descriptive or visual. Research Data may be raw or analysed, experimental or observational. Examples include, but are not limited to, laboratory notebooks, field notebooks, primary Research Data, questionnaires, audio and video recordings, photographs, films, ...moreFacts, observations, measurements or experiences on which an argument, theory or test is based. Research Data may be numerical, descriptive or visual. Research Data may be raw or analysed, experimental or observational. Examples include, but are not limited to, laboratory notebooks, field notebooks, primary Research Data, questionnaires, audio and video recordings, photographs, films, test responses, and any other records that are necessary for the reconstruction and evaluation of the reported results of research.

Higher Degree by Research (HDR)

A Research Doctorate or Research Masters program for which at least two-thirds of the Student load for the program is required as research work....moreA Research Doctorate or Research Masters program for which at least two-thirds of the Student load for the program is required as research work.

Research Misconduct

Research Misconduct occurs where there is a serious or deliberate failure to comply with the specific provisions of the University's Research Code of Conduct Policy, its supporting policies, pursuant procedures and processes and the broader Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. An allegation relates to Research Misconduct if it involves all of the following: an alleged bre...moreResearch Misconduct occurs where there is a serious or deliberate failure to comply with the specific provisions of the University's Research Code of Conduct Policy, its supporting policies, pursuant procedures and processes and the broader Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.An allegation relates to Research Misconduct if it involves all of the following:an alleged breach of the Research Code of Conduct Policy and the broader Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research; andintent and deliberation, recklessness or gross and persistent negligence; andserious consequences, such as false information on the public record, or adverse effects on research participants, animals or the environment.Research Misconduct does not include honest errors or honest differences in interpretation or judgments of data.Examples of Research Misconduct include, but are not limited to, the following:fabrication of data or resultsfalsification or misrepresentation of results of data including changing recordsfailure to declare and manage serious conflicts of interestfalsification or misrepresentation to obtain fundingconducting research without ethics approval as required by the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007; the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th Edition 2013; or the Gene Technology Act 2010 (Cwlth) (or any subsequent editions or instruments)risking the safety of human participants, the wellbeing of animals, or the environmentwillful concealment or facilitation of Research Misconduct by othersdeviations from the Research Code of Conduct Policy, or its supporting policies, pursuant procedures and processes and/or the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research that occur through gross or persistent negligenceother practices that seriously deviate from those commonly accepted within the research community for proposing, conducting or reporting research.Repeated or continuing breaches of the Research Code of Conduct Policy, its supporting policies, pursuant procedures and processes and/or the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research may also constitute Research Misconduct, and do so where these have been the subject of previous counselling or specific direction.

Research Worker

Any person/s involved in Research Activities at, or on behalf of the University. This includes, but is not limited to Employees, Students, visiting scholars, research partners, research affiliates, holders of Honorary or Adjunct positions and research ethics committee members....moreAny person/s involved in Research Activities at, or on behalf of the University. This includes, but is not limited to Employees, Students, visiting scholars, research partners, research affiliates, holders of Honorary or Adjunct positions and research ethics committee members.

Student

A person who: has been Admitted or Enrolled in an Academic Program at the University, but has not yet graduated from the program; or has been Enrolled in a Course at the University but has not yet completed the Course....moreA person who:has been Admitted or Enrolled in an Academic Program at the University, but has not yet graduated from the program; orhas been Enrolled in a Course at the University but has not yet completed the Course.

University

The term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland....moreThe term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland.

University Members

Employees of the University whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement whether full time or fractional, continuing, fixed-term or casual, including senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University; Members of the University Council and University Committees; Visiting and adjunct academics; Volun...moreEmployees of the University whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement whether full time or fractional, continuing, fixed-term or casual, including senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University;Members of the University Council and University Committees;Visiting and adjunct academics;Volunteers who contribute to University activities or who act on behalf of the University;Individuals who are granted access to University facilities or who are engaged in providing services to the University, such as contractors and consultants, where applicable.

Definitions that relate to this policy only

Keywords

Record No

14/2208PL

Failure to comply with this Policy or Policy Instrument may be considered as misconduct and the provisions of the relevant Policy or Procedure applied.

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