Manual of Policies and Procedures

D/2.6 QUT Code for responsible conduct of research

Contact Officer

Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity

Approval Date

24/05/2019

Approval Authority

University Academic Board

Date of Next Review

30/05/2020

2.6.1 Principles
2.6.2 Application
2.6.3 Roles and responsibilities
2.6.4 Research misconduct
2.6.5 Specific requirements for the conduct of research
2.6.6 Delegations
Related Documents
Modification History

2.6.1 Principles

QUT is committed to the highest standard of integrity in research. The University expects that all staff, researchers and research students will comply with all relevant policies, procedures, standards and regulatory obligations. The QUT Code for responsible conduct of research (the QUT Research Code) forms an integral part of the University’s research governance framework and promotes ethical research behaviour within the University community. It is consistent with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018 (the Code).

The QUT Research Code is based on the following principles:

  • Research at QUT is undertaken in an ethical and accountable environment, based on shared commitment by the University and its researchers to maintain a strong culture of integrity and fair conduct
  • The QUT Research Code imposes requirements on researchers which are in addition to the general ethical obligations for members of the University community set out in the QUT Staff Code of Conduct (B/8.1)
  • The University has no tolerance for any misconduct or unethical behaviour in its research activities.  All allegations of research misconduct and breaches of this Code will be investigated in accordance with managing and investigating potential breaches of the QUT Code for responsible conduct of research (D/2.7), consistent with the NHMRC Guide to Managing and Investigating potential breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
  • QUT expects that research data and primary materials will be properly collected, managed and retained in accordance with relevant legislation and University policies and best practice under the Management of research data policy (D/2.8)
  • All researchers will be appropriately trained in relevant research policies and procedures and the University’s expectations for ethical and responsible behaviour
  • QUT encourages its researchers to publicise their research findings in both the academic and wider communities, though the University acknowledges that in particular cases, this may be subject to contractual or commercialisation considerations
  • QUT expects that the authorship of research publications will be properly determined in accordance with the specified criteria of this Code
  • QUT supports peer review of research findings and encourages its researchers to participate in peer review activities
  • Conflicts of interests relating to research will be managed in accordance with the QUT Staff Code of Conduct (B/8.1) and Conflict of interest policies (B/8.7)
  • QUT supports collaborative research with other institutions and expects that all such research will be properly conducted in accordance with the requirements of this Code
  • QUT recognises the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be engaged in research that affects or is of particular significance to them, and expects that any such research will value and respect the diversity, heritage, knowledge, cultural property and connection to the land of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and will comply with all relevant national codes and guidelines.

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2.6.2 Application

The QUT Code for responsible conduct of research applies to all members of the University community including:

  • employees of the University, regardless of employment type, who undertake or provide assistance or support to research activities
  • undergraduate and postgraduate students
  • visiting and adjunct academics
  • volunteers who contribute to or act on behalf of the University (e.g. associate supervisors of students)
  • individuals associated with QUT related entities
  • individuals granted access to QUT property, services or infrastructure
  • consultants and independent contractors undertaking research-related services for QUT.

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2.6.3 Roles and responsibilities

Position
Responsibility

University Academic Board

  • approves the QUT Research Code on delegated authority of Council

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation)

  • implements the QUT Research Code, including the provision of training to researchers on its requirements
  • fosters a culture of responsible research conduct across the University
  • receives complaints or concerns about the conduct of research or allegations of breaches of the Code, and oversees their management and where necessary investigation
  • executes non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements relating to research matters
Pro Vice-Chancellor, Graduate Research and Development
  • ensures supervisors of research trainees have the appropriate skills, qualifications and resources, including having completed the Foundations of HDR Supervision module (QUT staff access only)
Executive Director, Office of Research Services
  • manages and provides advice on competitive research grants, centre and fellowship funding (domestic and international)
  • manages and provides advice on commercial research, consulting and intellectual property
Director, e-Research
  • maintains research data management strategy policies, procedures, guidelines, training, researcher-driven policy engagement and advocacy
Director, Indigenous Research and Engagement Unit 
  • provides strategic leadership, guidance and advice across the University, in relation to increasing and strengthening indigenous research capabilities, engagement and outputs, in cooperation with the executive deans and associate deans (research)
Executive deans and associate deans (research)
  • foster a culture of responsible research conduct in their faculties
Heads of school, institute executive directors, centre directors
  • ensure the proper collection, storage, security and disposal of research data, including primary materials, within their operational area
  • ensure that research staff and students receive adequate training in relevant University codes and policies, including research ethics
  • promotes responsible authorship practices and resolution of conflicts arising from disputes about authorship
Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity (OREI)
  • develops and maintains currency of policies and procedures which ensure that the University’s research is consistent with the principles and responsibilities of the QUT Research Code and ensures these are readily available
  • manages allegations of breaches of the QUT Research Code and allegations of research misconduct in accordance with managing and investigating potential breaches of the QUT Code for responsible conduct of research (D/2.7), including providing mechanisms to receive concerns or complaints about potential breaches of the Code, investigating and resolving potential breaches of the Code
  • identifies and trains Research Integrity Advisors who assist in the promotion and fostering of responsible research conduct and provide advice to those with concerns about potential breaches of the QUT Research Code
  • provides ongoing training and education in responsible conduct for all researchers and those in other relevant roles
  • maintains a register of research related disclosed interests and reports annually to the Vice-Chancellor and President on disclosed interests consistent with QUT Conflict of interest policy (B/8.7)
QUT research students and staff

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2.6.4 Research misconduct

The University has no tolerance for any misconduct or unethical behaviour in its research activities. All allegations that the QUT Research Code has been breached will be dealt with in accordance with managing and investigating potential breaches of the QUT Code for responsible conduct of research (D/2.7), consistent with the NHMRC Guide to Managing and Investigating potential breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

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2.6.5 Specific requirements for the conduct of research

Management of research data

Research data are recognised as a valuable product of the research process and are useful to researchers throughout the research cycle.

The Research data management policy (D/2.8) provides guidance on the following aspects of managing research data and should be consulted prior to commencing a research project:

  • research data management planning
  • storage and security of research data
  • retention
  • record keeping
  • access, privacy and confidentiality
  • sharing
  • disposal.

All research data, including primary materials, are considered to be University records and must be stored, disposed of or transferred in accordance with the Records management policy (F/6.1). The University is committed to the protection of personal information which may be contained in research data and primary materials. When collecting, storing, using or disclosing personal information, researchers must abide by the mandatory requirements of the Information Privacy Act 2009 and the University's Information privacy policy (F/6.2).

Research data should generally be made available, in accordance with Management of research data (D/2.8), for use by other researchers, both within and external to QUT, unless a specific and valid reason exists for not doing so.

Supervision and training of research students and staff

The University requires that research students and staff will complete the Office of Research Ethics and Integrity Research integrity online training course (QUT staff access only) and be appropriately trained in relevant research policies and procedures and the University’s expectations for ethical and responsible behaviour.

Research students and staff include:

  • QUT students enrolled in an honours, research masters or doctoral program, or any substantial postgraduate research project or dissertation, and
  • all staff involved in research, research management, or research support including, for example, academic researchers, lab assistants, research assistants, supervisors of Higher Degree Research students and research managers.

(a) Training of research students and staff

An executive dean and associate dean (research), together with a head of school, institute executive director or centre director, must ensure that all research students and staff new to the University receive an induction program on their commencement which includes reference to the following:

  • any relevant legislative requirements or government guidelines
  • relevant University policies and procedures, including the QUT Research Code (D/2.6), the QUT Staff Code of Conduct (B/8.1), research ethics policies and privacy requirements
  • any workplace health and safety or environmental protection requirements for research practices, specific equipment or work spaces including laboratories
  • the responsibilities of a student or staff member for conducting responsible research at the University.

(b) Supervision of research students and staff

An executive dean and associate dean (research), together with a head of school, institute executive director or centre director, must ensure that each new research student and staff member is paired with a responsible and appropriately qualified supervisor or mentor. Supervisors of research students and staff must:

  • adhere to the standard for behaviour outlined in the QUT Staff Code of Conduct (B/8.1) and according to the Good Practice guidelines for Higher Degree Research Studies and Supervision at QUT (QUT staff access only)
  • provide advice in all matters of good research practice consistent with the QUT Research Code and the Code of Good Practice for Postgraduate Research Studies and Supervision at QUT
  • have processes in place to ensure the validity of research data obtained by a research student under their supervision.

Publication and dissemination of research findings

All researchers must be aware of their responsibilities for disseminating research, specifically QUT’s Open access for QUT research outputs (including theses) policy (F/1.3).

The following materials must be made available via QUT ePrints:

  • all refereed research articles and published conference papers at the post-peer review stage. The version provided to QUT ePrints by the author must be the author’s accepted manuscript version except where the published version is open access, in which case the published version must be provided
  • digital theses submitted by research higher degree candidates (for the awards of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Professional Doctorate by Research, Higher Doctorates and Masters by Research) via the Research Students Centre. Exemptions and embargoes must be approved by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Research and Development).

Refereed research articles and published conference papers should be deposited to QUT ePrints upon acceptance for publication or as soon as a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for the work is available. The article metadata will be made accessible immediately. While QUT’s preference is to make the work available immediately, an embargo period of up to 12 months will be applied to the full-text if required by the publisher.

Before disseminating research findings, researchers must give consideration to:

  • any confidentiality requirements of a contractual or funding agreement
  • the protection of any personal information in the research data (F/6.2)
  • Intellectual property rights (D/3.1)
  • any contractual restrictions or delays on publication, including any contractual requirements to obtain prior consent from funding bodies.

When publicising or disseminating research findings, researchers must comply with the following protocols:

  • Publication of multiple papers based on the same set(s) or subset(s) of data (sometimes called ‘salami-slicing’) is not acceptable except where there is full cross-referencing within the papers (for example, in a series of closely related work, or where a complete work grew out of a preliminary publication and this is fully acknowledged).
  • If significantly similar work is presented to more than one publisher, this must be disclosed to the publisher at the time of submission.
  • All other relevant work must be acknowledged and cited properly when research findings are disseminated.
  • If findings are disseminated or discussed before publication in a peer-reviewed journal the status of the findings must be made clear. 
  • It may be desirable for researchers to seek advice prior to dissemination from public or professional authorities responsible for specific issues of public policy or concern. In such situations, the unreported status of the findings must be made clear to the authority. Only where responsible authorities fail to act can prior reporting to the media be justified, and again the unpublished status of the findings must be reported at the same time.
  • Where researchers have privately reported research that has not yet been exposed to open peer-review scrutiny, (for example, to prospective financial supporters), there is an obligation to explain fully the status of the work and the peer-review mechanisms to which it will be subjected.
  • Publications must include information on the sources of financial or non-financial support for the research.  Any sponsorship that carries restrictions on publication must be avoided.
  • All clinical trials and if appropriate, other study types, must be registered with a recognised register.

Authorship

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018 states researchers are to 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. The same author responsibilities that apply to books and journal articles also apply (proportionately) to every form of dissemination.

Schools, institutes, centres and research units are responsible for encouraging and promoting responsible authorship practices that are considered appropriate within the discipline area. QUT expects that the authorship of research publications will be properly determined in accordance with the following criteria.

(a) Determining authorship

  • An author's role in a research output must be sufficient for that person to take public responsibility for at least that part of the output in the person's area of expertise.
  • Authorship of a research output cannot be claimed where participation is solely in the acquisition of funding or the collection of data. General supervision of the research group does not constitute authorship.
  • Authorship of a research output should be discussed between researchers at an early stage in a research project and reviewed whenever there are changes in participation.
  • Due recognition of all participants is part of a proper research process, and the authors must ensure that others who have contributed to the work are recognised in the research output. Authors should ensure that the work of research students / trainees, research assistants and technical officers is properly acknowledged. Courtesy demands that individuals and organisations providing facilities should also be acknowledged.
  • No person who is an author, consistent with the minimum requirement for authorship can be excluded as an author without their prior written permission.
  • Reasonable steps must be taken to respect the right of a creator of intellectual property to be acknowledged as the author of a work and to endeavour to ensure that others respect that right, unless the creator wishes not to be acknowledged or chooses not to attribute the work at the time of creation.

(b) Reporting and recording of authorship

When there is more than one co-author of a research output, one co-author (by agreement amongst the authors) should be nominated as the corresponding author of the whole research output and should take responsibility for record keeping regarding the authorship of the research output.

(c) Resolving conflicts over authorship

The head of school, institute executive director or centre director is responsible for the resolution of conflicts arising through disputes about authorship. Where resolution cannot be achieved, the matter should be escalated to the executive dean of the faculty. If resolution of the matter is not possible, the matter should be referred by the executive dean to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation) for consideration.

Peer review

QUT recognises that peer review is an essential component of maintaining research integrity. The University supports peer review of its research findings and encourages its researchers to participate as both reviewer and by having their own work reviewed.

(a) Acting as a peer reviewer

When acting as a peer reviewer, QUT expects researchers to conduct reviews responsibly in accordance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018. This includes:

  • complying with the criteria to be applied and meeting specified timeframes
  • respecting confidentiality requirements
  • acting objectively and professionally
  • declaring all conflicts of interest
  • only reviewing within their area of expertise.

(b) Having research findings peer reviewed

Researchers who receive public funding are expected to participate in peer review and this may be a requirement of some funding agreements. Any researcher who is having work peer reviewed must not seek to influence the process or outcomes.

Collaborative research with other institutions

QUT supports collaborative research with other institutions, both within Australia and internationally. All agreements for collaborative research with other institutions will be in writing and must be formally approved in accordance with the University’s Schedule of Authorities and Delegations (Appendix 3).

Collaborative research agreements should address issues relating to:

  • ownership of intellectual property
  • the management of research findings, including dissemination, confidentiality and the management of research data
  • the management of conflicts of interest
  • the commercialisation of research outcomes.

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2.6.6 Delegations

Refer to Appendix 3 Schecule of Authorities and Delegations (C015).

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Related Documents

MOPP B/8.1 QUT Staff Code of Conduct

MOPP B/8.7 Conflict of interest

MOPP D/2.2 Student Research Misconduct Committee charter

MOPP D/2.3 Research governance framework

MOPP D/2.5 Trade controls for goods, software, technologies and services

MOPP D/2.7 Investigating and managing potential breaches of the Australian Code for the responsible conduct of research

MOPP D/2.8 Management of research data

MOPP D/3.1 Intellectual property

MOPP D/6.5 University Human Research Ethics Committee charter

MOPP D/6.6 University Biosafety Committee charter

MOPP D/6.7 University Animal Ethics Committee charter

MOPP F/1.3 Open access for QUT research outputs (including theses)

Good Practice guidelines for Higher Degree Research Studies and Supervision at QUT (QUT staff and student access only)

ACGR Good Practice Guidelines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Education

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE): Codes of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines

Ethical Conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders 2018

Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies 2012

Keeping research on track II 2018

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (Updated 2018)

NHMRC Australian Code for the Care and Use of animals for scientific purposes, 2013

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Modification History

Date Sections Source Details
24.05.19 All University Academic Board Revised policy including a change of title from QUT Code of Conduct for Research
09.01.19 All Director, Governance and Legal Services Policy revised to include approved position title change from assistant dean/s to associate dean/s
12.12.18 D/2.6.3 Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) Revised to include department name change to Office of Research Services
02.12.15 D/2.6.10 Council Revised policy to remove Management of conflicts of interest to research activities section and incorporate into B/8.7 Conflict of interest policy
07.10.10 All Governance Services Policy revised to reflect change from privacy policy to information privacy
13.11.09 All University Academic Board Revised policy
16.11.07 All University Academic Board Revised Code of Conduct for Research to ensure compliance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research; procedures for dealing with allegations of research misconduct relocated to new section D/2.7 - formerly D/2.6.8 (endorsed by University Research and Innovation Committee 02.11.07)
13.08.04 All University Academic Board Revised Code of Conduct for Research to incorporate ethical conduct issues and to address postgraduate student research misconduct (endorsed by University Research and Development Committee 23.04.04); rescinded former policy D/6.2 Ethical conduct of research
19.03.04 D/2.6.2 University Academic Board Revised policy relating to storage of research data (endorsed by University Research and Development Committee 27.02.04)
03.09.03 D/2.6.4 Council Added new moral rights clause
27.06.03 D/2.6 Secretariat Manager Added statement re conflicts of interest in accordance with Internal Audit Report on Potential Conflict of Interests - Report No. 2002/40 (April 2003).
21.09.01 All University Academic Board New policy

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