Responsible Conduct of Research - Policy

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1.0 Purpose and Scope

The University of Queensland (UQ) expects research to be conducted responsibly, ethically and with integrity. This policy outlines UQ’s commitment to: 

  • The responsible conduct of research, and
  • The responsible conduct of researchers.

This policy aligns with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018 (the Code) and should be read in parallel.

Staff and students at the University are required to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the Code and the standards set out in the relevant UQ code or charter:

(a) Staff: UQ Code of Conduct;

(b) Students: Student Charter; and

(c) Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students: Higher Degree by Research Candidate Charter.

This policy applies to all staff and students who conduct, or assist with the conduct of, research at, or on behalf of, UQ.

2.0 Principles and Key Requirements

2.1 Principles of responsible research conduct

The University espouses the Code's principles of responsible research conduct. Research at UQ must be conducted in accordance with these principles:

  1. Honesty in the development, undertaking and reporting of research.
  2. Rigour in the development, undertaking and reporting of research.
  3. Transparency in declaring interests and reporting research methodology, data and findings.
  4. Fairness in the treatment of others.
  5. Respect for research participants, the wider community, animals and the environment.
  6. Recognition of the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be engaged in research that affects or is of particular significance to them.
  7. Accountability for the development, undertaking and reporting of research.
  8. Promotion of responsible research practices.

2.2 Responsibilities of the University

UQ will, in accordance with the Code, foster a culture of responsible research conduct within the University. To achieve this, UQ will:

  1. Establish and maintain good governance and management practices for responsible research conduct.
  2. Identify and comply with relevant laws, regulations, guidelines and policies related to the conduct of research.
  3. Develop and maintain a suite of policies and procedures which ensure that institutional practices are consistent with the principles and responsibilities of the Code.
  4. Provide ongoing training and education that promotes and supports responsible research conduct for all researchers and those in other relevant roles.
  5. Ensure supervisors of research trainees have the appropriate skills, qualifications and resources.
  6. Identify and train Research Integrity Advisors who assist in the promotion and fostering of responsible research conduct and provide advice to those with concerns about potential breaches.
  7. Support the responsible dissemination of research findings. Where necessary, take action to correct the record in a timely manner.
  8. Provide access to facilities for the safe and secure storage and management of research data, records and primary materials and, where possible and appropriate, allow access and reference.
  9. Facilitate the prevention and detection of potential breaches.
  10. Provide mechanisms to receive concerns or complaints about potential breaches. Investigate and resolve potential breaches.
  11. Ensure that the process for managing and investigating concerns or complaints about potential breaches is timely, effective and in accord with procedural fairness.
  12. Support the welfare of all parties involved in an investigation of a potential breach.
  13. Base findings of investigations on the balance of probabilities and ensure any actions are commensurate with the seriousness of the breach.

2.3 Responsibilities of researchers

In the conduct of research, researchers will be aware of and abide by the Code, this policy, related UQ policies and procedures, all applicable laws, legislation, guidelines, codes of conduct and project agreements.

Researchers at UQ will, in accordance with this policy and the Code:

  1. Support a culture of responsible research conduct at the University and in their field of practice.
  2. Provide guidance and mentorship on responsible research conduct to other researchers or research trainees under their supervision and, where appropriate, monitor their conduct.
  3. Undertake and promote education and training in responsible research conduct.
  4. Comply with the relevant laws, regulations, disciplinary standards, ethics guidelines and University policies and procedures related to responsible research conduct. Ensure that appropriate approvals are obtained prior to the commencement of research, and that conditions of any approvals are adhered to during the course of research.
  5. Ensure that the ethics principles of research merit and integrity, justice, beneficence and respect are applied to human research.
  6. Engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and respect their legal rights and local laws, customs and protocols.
  7. Ensure that the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) are considered at all stages of research involving animals and minimise the impacts on animals used in research and in so doing support the welfare and wellbeing of these animals.
  8. Adopt methods appropriate to the aims of the research and ensure that conclusions are justified by the results.
  9. Retain clear, accurate, secure and complete records of all research including research data and primary materials. Where possible and appropriate, allow access and reference to these by interested parties.
  10. Disseminate research findings responsibly, accurately and broadly. Where necessary, take action to correct the record in a timely manner.
  11. Disclose and manage actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest.
  12. Ensure that authors of research outputs are all those, and only those, who have made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to the research and its output, and that they agree to be listed as an author.
  13. Acknowledge those who have contributed to the research.
  14. Cite and acknowledge other relevant work appropriately and accurately.
  15. Participate in peer review in a way that is fair, rigorous and timely and maintains the confidentiality of the content.
  16. Report suspected breaches of University policies and the Code.

2.4 Complaints and Breaches

A breach of this policy or the Code may arise where a researcher fails to meet the principles and responsibilities set out in the Code and/or this policy. A breach may occur on a spectrum from minor breaches to those that are more serious.

A serious breach of this policy and/or the Code that is also intentional or reckless or negligent may be considered research misconduct.

Complaints about the conduct of research, including potential breaches, will be dealt with in accordance with the procedures associated with this policy, Research misconduct – Higher Degree by Research Students and/or Student Integrity and Misconduct, as applicable.

Self-disclosure of potential breaches is strongly encouraged.

3.0 Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

3.1    The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)

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

  • The promulgation, implementation and review of this policy; and
  • Fostering responsible research conduct in accordance with clause 2.2.

3.2    Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research)

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

  • The function of the Office of Research Integrity.
  • The appointment of Research Integrity Advisors.

3.3    Heads of Organisational Units

Heads of Organisational Units are responsible for:

  • Creating a culture that supports the principles of this policy and enables researchers to carry out their responsibilities under this policy through the provision of appropriate training, support, resources and facilities; and
  • Modelling the core behaviours that characterise the responsible conduct of research.

3.4    Office of Research Integrity

The Office of Research Integrity is responsible for:

  • The provision of education, advice and support for the responsible conduct of research at UQ, including training and supporting Research Integrity Advisors; and
  • Receiving, assessing and managing complaints about the conduct of research in accordance with the procedures associated with this policy.

3.5    Research Integrity Advisors

Research Integrity Advisors, as appointed by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), are responsible for providing advice on issues relating to research conduct and potential breaches, in accordance with the procedures associated with this policy.

3.6    Researchers

Researchers who conduct, or assist with the conduct of, research at, or on behalf of, UQ are responsible for:

  • Meeting the responsibilities under this policy and the Code through core behaviours that characterise the responsible conduct of research; and
  • Their own awareness and compliance with the applicable legislation, codes and guidelines.

4.0 Monitoring, Review and Assurance

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) is responsible for continuously monitoring the effectiveness and application of this policy or whenever there is a change in the Code and/or its accompanying guides.

5.0 Recording and Reporting

All University records shall be retained and disposed of in accordance with the University’s Records Management policy.

6.0 Appendix

6.1 Definitions

3Rs - The 3Rs are three principles that underpin a systematic framework to achieve the goal of humane experimental techniques. The principles 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.

Affiliate - academic title-holders, visiting academics, emeritus professors, adjunct and honorary title-holders, industry fellows, and conjoint appointments.

Research - The concept of research is broad and includes 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.

Researchers – Any University Staff member, Student or Affiliate who conducts, or assists with the conduct of, research at, or on behalf of, the University.

Staff - continuing, fixed-term, research (contingent funded) and casual staff members.

Student - a person enrolled as a student at the University or undertaking courses or programs at the University.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Bronwyn Harch
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Bronwyn Harch