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1. Purpose and Objectives

This policy sets out the principles for managing complaints of research misconduct.

Departures from the standards of conduct outlined in this policy may amount to misconduct or serious misconduct on the part of the individual researcher.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Misconduct - conduct on the part of an employee that is unsatisfactory and inconsistent with the expectations of an employee, but which is not so serious as to justify the possibility of termination of employment.

Plagiarism - the act of misrepresenting as one's own original work the ideas, interpretations, words or creative works of another.  These include published and unpublished documents, designs, music, sounds, images, photographs, computer codes and ideas gained through working in a group.  These ideas, interpretations, words or works may be found in print and/or electronic media.

Research Misconduct - Misconduct or Serious Misconduct as defined by The University of Queensland Enterprise Agreement, specifically in relation to research.

Researchers - Staff, Occupational Trainees, Academic Title Holders, Visiting Academics, Industry Fellows, Honorary and Adjunct Title Holders, Emeritus Professors of the University who conduct research at or on behalf of the University.

Serious Misconduct - misconduct of a serious and wilful nature, normally conduct of a type that would make it unreasonable to require the University to continue employment of the staff member concerned. Serious misconduct can be represented by a pattern of behaviour or a single occurrence.

The Code - Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007) or any subsequent published revision thereof.

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all researchers.

4. Policy Statement

Researchers must conduct their research in a manner consistent with the standards set out in this and other University policies: this includes, but is not limited to, PPL 4.20.02 Responsible Conduct of Research, PPL 1.50.01 Code of Conduct, 4.20.04 Authorship, PPL 4.20.06 Research Data Management, and PPL 2.40.01 Biosafety. The University is committed to upholding the highest integrity standards in research and scholarship and considers deviations from these standards as serious. This policy describes the underlying principles for assessing and managing complaints of research misconduct and is based on guidelines provided in the Code.

5. Research Misconduct

5.1 Research misconduct constitutes a failure to comply with the principles or specific provisions of University policies governing the conduct of research by University researchers and includes but is not limited to conduct in, or in connection with, research that is dishonest, reckless or persistently negligent; and/or seriously deviates from accepted standards within the research and scholarly community for proposing, conducting or reporting research.

A complaint relates to research misconduct if that complaint involves one or more of the following:

  • an alleged breach of the Code;
  • intent, recklessness and/or gross and/or persistent negligence;
  • serious consequences, such as false information on the public record, or adverse effects on research participants, animals or the environment.

Examples of research misconduct include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Fabrication or falsification of data or results;
  2. Plagiarism of data, results, or written outputs;
  3. Duplicate (redundant) publication of data, results or written outputs;
  4. Misleading ascription of authorship to a publication including listing authors without their permission, attributing work to people who did not contribute to the publication, omission of people eligible to be authors, lack of appropriate acknowledgement of work primarily produced by others;
  5. Failure to disclose conflicts of interest or instances where a conflict of interest might reasonably be perceived to exist;
  6. Conducting research using humans or animals without the required ethics approvals or in a way different to that approved.

5.2 Research misconduct does not include errors or differences in interpretation or judgment of data which are not dishonest, reckless or persistently negligent.

5.3 All concerns about the conduct of research, including potential research misconduct, must reported as described in PPL 4.20.05b Research Misconduct - Procedures.

5.4 Procedures for dealing with complaints of research misconduct by researchers are outlined in PPL 4.20.05b Research Misconduct - Procedures.

5.5 Substantiated complaints of research misconduct may be considered to be misconduct or serious misconduct.

5.6 Every reasonable effort should be made to restore the reputation of any researcher alleged to have engaged in improper conduct of research when such complaints cannot be substantiated.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Bronwyn Harch