This policy applies to all research conducted by the Australian Catholic University (ACU). It applies to all ACU staff (including Adjuncts, Honoraries and affiliates) and to students enrolled in higher degree research (HDR) programs, whether full-time or fractional. It has been developed to meet the standards of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research issued by the Australian Research Council and the National Health & Medical Research Council.
2. Responsibilities of Staff and Student Researchers
2.1 Maintain High Standards of Research
ACU researchers and HDR students at ACU are required to maintain high standards of responsible research and maintain high ethical standards in the conduct of research, including honesty, integrity, and scholarly and scientific rigour.
Examples of research misconduct include fabrication, misrepresentation or falsification of data; failure to collect, record and keep data properly; breaches of confidentiality; plagiarism (that is, the act of taking someone else’s work or ideas and presenting them as one’s own without proper and appropriate acknowledgment); misleading ascription of authorship; failure to declare and manage conflicts or perceived conflicts of interest; falsification or misrepresentation to obtain funding; wilfully concealing or facilitating research misconduct of others; failure to comply with ethics requirements and risking the safety of human participants and the well-being of animals or the environment in conducting research.
2.1.1 Researchers and Research Students must:
a. Comply with all statutory and University requirements and policies that pertain to the conduct of research; b. Comply with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, the ACU Research Code of Conduct , the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, Conduct in Human Research, the Research and Professional Doctorate Degree Regulations and related ACU policies; c. Neither fabricate nor manipulate data or evidence so as to influence conclusions; d. Avoid conflicts of interest and perceived conflicts of interest so as not to compromise the research process and outcomes; e. Maintain confidentiality when reviewing others’ research, their manuscripts, and/or grant applications and not misappropriate the information contained therein; f. Report suspected research misconduct in accordance with the Procedures for Dealing with Instances of Alleged Research Misconduct for Students; or the Procedures for Dealing with Instances of Alleged Research Misconduct for All Staff, Adjunct Staff, Honoraries and Affiliates; g. Register clinical trials with a the relevant national Registry; and h. Conduct their research in such a way that the reputation of the University is not brought into discredit.
2.2 The Collection of Research Data/ Primary Materials and their Retention
a. Researchers must ensure that data and other research materials are collected in accordance with the accepted practices of the discipline, legislative requirements, the requirements of any approved funding agency and, where relevant, the approved ethics protocol; b. Researchers must ensure that they keep accurate records of their research approach, data sources and data. Records must be kept in safe and secure storage in accordance with ethical protocols and legislative requirements, and retained in a durable and retrievable form; c. Original data and primary material must be held by the research unit in an appropriate durable, secure, and confidential form that is easily retrievable by individual researchers for a minimum period of five years after publication, or five years following the completion of the research if publication is not intended. Data from clinical trials must be held for 15 years; and d. Notes, books and other written records may be stored as PDFs;
2.3 Publication and Dissemination of Findings
Researchers are expected to disseminate their research findings. In doing so, researchers must:
a. Disseminate their research findings responsibly and accurately; b. Disseminate their findings taking heed of intellectual property, confidentiality, cultural and other requirements; c. Make available for use by other researchers all publicly funded research data/material unless prohibited by the funding agency, or because of ethical or privacy reasons; d. Correct, as soon as possible, inaccurate or misleading statements by the researcher that appear in research publications, reports, and other forms of communication; e. Acknowledge the source(s) of funding of their research; f. Disseminate their findings in accordance with the ACU Authorship Policy and Code of Conduct for All Staff.
2.4 The Responsibilities of Supervisors of HDR Students
a. Oversee all stages of the research process; b. Advise their research students on this Code and all government and institutional requirements relevant to the responsible conduct of research, and ensure compliance; c. Comply with the ACU Code of Practice: Higher Degree Research Supervision.
3. Instances of Alleged Research Misconduct
Instances of Alleged Research Misconduct will be dealt with in accordance with either the:
Procedures for Dealing with Instances of Alleged Misconduct – All Staff, Adjunct Staff, Honoraries and Affiliates; or
the Procedures for Dealing with Instances of Alleged Misconduct – Higher Degree Research Students.
* Unless otherwise indicated, this policy will still apply beyond the review date.
Related Policies, Procedures, Guidelines and Local Protocols
Code of Conduct for All Staff
Policy on Research Data Management Authorship Policy
Joint NHMRC/ARC Statement and Guidelines on Research Practice: Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)
ARC Research Integrity Statement
Procedures for dealing with alleged research misconduct: staff
Procedures for dealing with alleged research misconduct: students