Manual of Policies and Procedures

D/2.7 Managing and investigating potential breaches of the 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

30/05/2022

2.7.1 Purpose
2.7.2 Application
2.7.3 Roles and responsibilities
2.7.4 Breaches of the QUT Research Code
2.7.5 Receipt and management of complaints
2.7.6 First step - initial assessment
2.7.7 Second step - preliminary assessment
2.7.8 Third step - referral to the Vice-Chancellor and President
2.7.9 Fourth step - research misconduct investigation
2.7.10 Fifth step - determination by the Vice-Chancellor and President
2.7.11 Communicating the investigation findings
2.7.12 Disciplinary actions
2.7.13 Mechanisms for review of research misconduct investigation
2.7.14 Other matters
2.7.15 Definitions
Related Documents
Modification History

2.7.1 Purpose

This policy sets out the governing principles for the management and investigation of breaches of QUT’s Code for responsible conduct of research, the 'QUT Research Code' (D/2.6).

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2.7.2 Application

This policy is for managing and investigating potential breaches of the QUT Research Code by individuals involved in QUT research activities or by those who disclose their research in QUT’s name, including:

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

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2.7.3 Roles and responsibilities

Position
Role
Responsibility

Vice-Chancellor and President (may be delegated)

Responsible Executive Officer
  • receives reports of the outcomes of processes of assessment or investigation of potential or actual breaches of the QUT Research Code and decides on actions to be taken

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) (may be delegated)

Designated Officer (DO)
  • receives complaints or concerns about the conduct of research or potential breaches of the QUT Research Code (delegated to the Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity)
  • oversees management and, where necessary, investigation of complaints
Executive dean / executive institute director / head of division  
  • makes determination, after conduct of initial assessment, on whether complaint should be escalated to Designate Officer for preliminary assessment
Head of school  
  • conducts initial assessment of complaint and provides advice to executive dean / executive institute director / head of division
Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity Assessment Officer (AO)
  • coordinates the conduct of a preliminary assessment of a complaint or concern about research
A senior officer or external person Review Officer (RO)
  • conducts a procedural review of a research misconduct investigation
Research Integrity Advisors (RIAs) Senior academic members appointed by Executive Dean
  • explains the options open to any person having raised a concern or made a concern or a complaint about the conduct of research

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2.7.4 Breaches of the QUT Research Code

A failure to meet the principles and responsibilities in the QUT Research Code will constitute a breach of the QUT Research Code. A breach may occur on a single or on multiple occasions.

The University recognises that breaches of the QUT Research Code will range from minor (less serious) to major (more serious). Major breaches would typically require investigation while some minor breaches may be dealt with at the local level in accordance with the initial assessment (D/2.7.6).

Serious (major) breaches of the QUT Research Code may be considered to constitute research misconduct if the breach is also intentional or reckless or negligent or is repeated or persistent.

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2.7.5 Receipt and management of complaints

(a) Making a complaint

A complaint about a potential breach of the QUT Research Code can arise when there is a reasonable suspicion that one or more researchers have not conducted research in accordance with the principles and responsibilities of the QUT Research Code. Any person who considers that research at QUT has not been conducted in a responsible manner may raise concerns and have allegations managed in accordance with this policy.

Complaints may be made to the University in a number ways, including:

  • internally from staff, students or committees
  • QUT’s own investigations, such as internal audits
  • a report from inside QUT
  • a report or complaint from outside QUT, such as a client, funder, collaborator or a member of the public
  • an allegation reported in the media
  • a referral from another organisation.

For complaints reported directly to the relevant head of school or to the Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity, the steps involved in reporting and escalating a complaint are outlined in D/2.7.6 below. Any complaints that are considered serious may be escalated to the Designated Officer (DO) in the first instance to progress to D/2.7.7.

Any complaint that may constitute a public interest disclosure (PID) must be referred to the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar for action (D/2.7.14 (a)). Allegation of corrupt conduct must also be referred to Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar for assessment in accordance with the Crime and Corruptions Act 2001.

Anonymous complaints will be considered and investigated where they identify potential breaches of the QUT Research Code. Any investigation will be based on the information provided and may be limited by the anonymity of the complainant.

Complaints should be made in writing, in a timely manner, and contain as much relevant information as possible.

Complaints alleging potential breaches of the QUT Research Code will be promptly acknowledged.

(b) Referral of complaints

On receipt of a complaint, the Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity will refer it as follows for initial assessment (D/2.7.6):

If the respondent is:
Referral to:

Faculty / division / institute based

Head of school/department

Faculty-based and institute member

Head of school, with further notification to relevant institute executive director

Head of school / assistant dean / head of department

Executive dean or equivalent

Institute executive director

Designated Officer

Current or former higher degree research student Principal supervisor’s head of school. If principal supervisor not formally aligned to a school then to relevant executive dean
Other Designated Officer
Designated Officer

Vice-Chancellor and President

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2.7.6 First step - initial assessment

(a) Conduct of initial assessment

The relevant head will assess the complaint to establish whether the matter may be resolved at the local level. This assessment will take into account the allegations, supporting information or evidence, the definitions of breach and research misconduct in this policy, and any contextual information including:

  • the extent of the departure from accepted practice
  • the extent to which research participants, the wider community, animals and the environment are, or may have been, affected by the breach
  • the extent to which the alleged breach may affect the trustworthiness of the research
  • the level of experience of the researcher
  • whether there is a pattern of breaches by the researcher
  • whether institutional failures have contributed to the breach
  • any other mitigating or aggravating circumstances.

(b) Consultation during assessment

The relevant head may consult any other person as deemed necessary to undertake this initial assessment, including:

  • requesting further information or clarification from the complainant
  • seeking advice from the relevant executive dean, institute executive director, head of division or Designated Officer (DO)
  • seeking advice from the Office of Research Ethics and Integrity
  • seeking advice from the Executive Director, Human Resources
  • discussing with the respondent/s whilst maintaining the confidentiality of the complainant.

(c) Outcome of initial assessment

On completion of this initial assessment, the relevant head will provide advice to the executive dean, institute executive director or head of division.

After consideration of this advice, and following any further investigation and information gathering as required, the executive dean of the relevant faculty, institute executive director or head of division will determine:

  • that the alleged breach is minor in nature and can be appropriately addressed at the local level; or
  • that the alleged breach is more serious in nature and may constitute potential research misconduct and will escalate to the DO for further action.

It is incumbent on the executive dean, institute executive director or head of division to make a reasoned decision when determining the seriousness of a breach.

Where the DO has delegated a complaint to the local level for initial assessment, the outcomes of this assessment must be reported back to the DO.

(d) Allegations deemed to be minor breaches

Where the decision is made that the matter constitutes a minor breach and can be dealt with at the local level, the executive dean, institute executive director or head of division must notify the complainant(s) in writing.

If the complainant(s) does not support this approach, they may refer the matter directly to the DO.

(e) Allegations deemed to be potential serious breaches or potential research misconduct

Where the decision is made that allegations constitute a potential serious breach or potential research misconduct, the executive dean, institute executive director or head of division must refer the matter to the DO and notify the complainant and respondent in writing that the matter has been so referred.

The referral to the DO must:

  • identify the respondent/s to the complaint
  • identify the type of activity that is alleged to have occurred
  • identify relevant details as accurately as possible, including the date(s) and place(s) when and where the alleged activity occurred; and
  • provide as much supporting evidence as possible.

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2.7.7 Second step - preliminary assessment

The purpose of the preliminary assessment is to gather facts and information and evaluate the evidence to establish whether or not the potential serious breach of the QUT Research Code warrants further investigation.

(a) Conduct of preliminary assessment

On receipt of a complaint, or receipt of advice from an executive dean, institute executive director or head of division after the completion of an initial assessment of a complaint (D/2.7.6), the Designated Officer (DO) may authorise the Assessment Officer (AO) to undertake a preliminary assessment of the potential breach of the QUT Research Code. The purpose of the preliminary assessment is to gather facts and information and evaluate the evidence to establish whether or not the potential breach warrants further investigation.

The AO is responsible for the conduct of the preliminary assessment and will consult with the DO and any other persons as required. The AO must consider, where necessary, the involvement of those in supervisory roles and the role of other institutions in the matter.

(b) Outcome of the preliminary assessment

On completion of the preliminary assessment, the AO will provide a report to the DO or their delegate.

On receiving the AO’s preliminary assessment report, the DO may interview or seek further information or clarification from the complainant(s) and/or respondent(s).

After consideration, the DO may determine:

  • that the complaint should be referred for action to alternative QUT processes not related to conduct in research, such as managing misconduct or serious misconduct (B/8.5 Disciplinary action for misconduct and serious misconduct - senior staff; clause 45 of the QUT Enterprise Agreement (Academic Staff) and clause 54 of the Enterprise Agreement (Professional staff)), managing of unsatisfactory performance (B/9.5 Managing unsatisfactory performance - senior staff; Clause 44 of the QUT Enterprise Agreement (Academic Staff) and clause 53 of the QUT Enterprise Agreement (Professional Staff)), or in the case of postgraduate research students, managing misconduct (E/8.1 Management of student misconduct)
  • that the complaint is potentially research misconduct and a recommendation is made to the Vice-Chancellor and President to constitute a research misconduct investigation to examine the matter (D/2.7.8)
  • that a complaint can be resolved without the need for further investigation
  • that the complaint should be dismissed.

If necessary, the DO may need to arrange for appropriate notifications such as to regulatory and professional bodies (e.g. Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency (APHRA), Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC); funding bodies National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Research Council (ARC), or the employer organisation if the respondent/s is not a QUT staff member.

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2.7.8 Third step - referral to the Vice-Chancellor and President

(a) Advice to the Vice-Chancellor and President

Upon completion of a preliminary assessment and where the matter progresses to this stage, the Designated Officer (DO) will normally respond in writing within 10 working days to the Vice-Chancellor and President and provide:

  • a preliminary assessment report, which contains findings about whether a case of prima facie research misconduct exists
  • a copy of the complaint, advice and recommendations of the executive dean, institute executive director or head of division, and all other relevant information (if applicable); and
  • advice on how the matter should proceed.

After providing advice to the Vice-Chancellor and President, the DO should not participate any further in the matter, except that they may be called to give evidence or expert opinion.

(b) Decision by the Vice-Chancellor and President

The Vice-Chancellor and President will consider the DO’s advice. The Vice-Chancellor and President may decide:

(i) that, based on admissions made, or other information received during the preliminary assessment, the matter should proceed to the appropriate institutional disciplinary processes, such as, misconduct – senior staff; Enterprise Agreement (Academic Staff) clause 45; Enterprise Agreement (Professional Staff) clause 54; or unsatisfactory performance procedures (B/8.5 Disciplinary action for misconduct and serious misconduct – senior staff) Enterprise Agreement (Academic Staff) clause 44; Enterprise Agreement (Professional staff) clause 53

(ii) that despite admissions made by the respondent, it may still be necessary to conduct an investigation to identify appropriate corrective actions, other parties that may be involved or other necessary steps

(iii) that further information is required before it can be determined whether a case of research misconduct exists; or

(iv) to convene an internal or external investigation (D/2.7.9).

If the Vice-Chancellor and President decides that further information is required in accordance with paragraph (iv) above, following receipt of this information the Vice-Chancellor and President may decide to take the steps set out at paragraphs (i) or (iii).

The DO must be informed where the Vice-Chancellor and President decides not to proceed to an investigation. The DO will notify the complainant and respondent/s of the outcomes in writing.

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2.7.9 Fourth step - research misconduct investigation

The purpose of the investigation is to provide information and advice to allow the Vice-Chancellor and President to determine whether a breach of the QUT Research Code has occurred, the extent of the breach and the recommended actions.

(a) Commencement of an investigation

If the Vice-Chancellor and President decides to convene a research misconduct investigation, the following interested parties will be advised in writing:

  • the Designated Officer (DO)
  • the complainant
  • the respondent
  • the Executive Director, Human Resources
  • the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar, who will consider whether action is required (if not already taken) under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (Qld) or Crime and Corruption Act 2001 (Qld)
  • any other relevant interested parties, including funding bodies or collaborating institutions.

In determining whether an internal or external research misconduct investigation is required, the Vice-Chancellor and President will have regard to:

  • the potential consequences for the complainant(s), respondent(s) and other interested parties in the event of a finding of research misconduct as alleged
  • any (perceived or actual) conflicts of interest
  • the need to maintain public confidence in research and the University
  • the need, if relevant, to meet legislative requirements or the reasonable requirements of an external funding body.

(b) Research misconduct investigation panel

The Vice-Chancellor and President may elect to convene either an internal or external research misconduct investigation panel.

An internal research misconduct investigation panel will be constituted with a minimum membership of three people, comprised of at least:

  • one member with knowledge of and experience in the relevant field of research;
  • one member who is familiar with responsible conduct of research (D/2.6); and
  • one member with experience on similar panels, or who has other relevant expertise; and/or
  • an external member if required.

An external research misconduct investigation panel will be constituted with a minimum membership of three members external to the University, with at least:

  • one member who is legally qualified or has extensive experience as a member of a tribunal or similar body; and
  • one member who has knowledge and research experience in a relevant or related field of research.

The secretariat support for the panel will be provided by staff from the Office of Research Ethics and Integrity.

All members of research misconduct investigations panels are to be free of bias and conflicts of interests.

The research misconduct investigation panel will establish procedures in accordance with the rules of natural justice and the specific requirements set out in the QUT Research Code and the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the panel will provide a written report to the Vice-Chancellor and President, which outlines its findings having regard to the evidence and findings of fact to the panel’s reasonable satisfaction, stating what (if any) research misconduct has occurred, and the reasons for those findings.

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2.7.10 Fifth step - determination by the Vice-Chancellor and President

Upon receipt of the findings of a research misconduct investigation, the Vice-Chancellor and President will consider the findings, decide whether to accept them, and determine what further action should be taken (if any).

(a) No evidence to support a breach of the QUT Research Code

If the Vice-Chancellor and President accepts a report that recommends that there has been no finding of research misconduct, the respondent is to be advised and provided with appropriate support.

Where there is no finding of research misconduct the following will need to be considered:

  • if the allegation has no basis in fact (e.g. due to a misunderstanding or because the complaint is frivolous or vexatious, or lacks substance or credibility) then efforts must be taken to restore the reputation of those alleged to have engaged in research misconduct
  • if an allegation is considered to have been frivolous or vexatious, action will be taken in accordance with D/2.7.14(f) of this policy
  • the mechanism for communication with, and support for, the respondent and complainant, including:
    • any considerations regarding the appropriateness and proportionality of any sanctions imposed
    • the reputations of both the complainant and respondent depending on the findings, and
    • considerations around communication with employees that have left QUT, publishers, and other people involved in the complaint external to the University.

(b) Insufficient evidence for an investigation panel to make findings

There may be times when the investigation panel concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support a finding that a breach of the QUT Research Code has occurred.

Alternatively, the investigation panel may have formed the view that a differently constituted investigation with different or wider terms of reference may be more likely to reach a conclusion. In these cases, this should be considered as a finding and be articulated in the final report.

If the Vice-Chancellor and President accepts a report that states the investigation panel is unable to make findings with sufficient confidence, or to reach a conclusion, the Vice-Chancellor and President should consider whether a further investigation is required, with a differently constituted inquiry panel, and/or different terms of reference.

(c) Evidence to support a breach of the QUT Research Code

Where the Vice-Chancellor and President accepts a report that concludes that a breach of the QUT Research Code has been found, the Vice-Chancellor and President must determine QUT’s response and actions, taking into account the seriousness and scale of the breach, including whether other institutions must be advised.

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2.7.11 Communicating the investigation findings

The Vice-Chancellor and President should notify the complainant, the respondent, the Designated Officer, the Executive Director, Human Resources, the executive dean of the relevant faculty, institute executive director or head of division, Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity, and any other interested parties (as appropriate) of the outcome of the investigation and further action (if any) to be taken.

If appropriate, the Vice-Chancellor and President may make the findings of an external research misconduct investigation available to the public and/or the relevant funding agency.

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2.7.12 Disciplinary actions

(a) Disciplinary action for QUT staff members

Where a respondent is a QUT staff member and the Vice-Chancellor and President considers at any stage that disciplinary action is warranted, the matter will be managed in accordance with other University disciplinary processes such as misconduct or serious misconduct procedures; B/8.5 Disciplinary action for misconduct and serious misconduct – senior staff; Enterprise Agreement (Academic Staff) clause 45; Enterprise Agreement (Professional Staff) clause 54; or unsatisfactory performance procedures B/9.5 Managing unsatisfactory performance – senior staff; Enterprise Agreement (Academic Staff) clause 44; Enterprise Agreement (Professional Staff) clause 53.

(b) Research misconduct concerning persons other than current staff and QUT students

Where concerns relate to the conduct of a person who is no longer a QUT researcher, an investigation to establish the facts of the matter may still proceed, to ensure integrity of research and correction of any records where necessary.

Where a respondent is not a current staff member or QUT student and the Vice-Chancellor and President considers that action may be warranted in accordance with this policy and procedures or the findings of a research misconduct investigation, this will be managed according to the circumstances of each case.

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2.7.13 Mechanisms for review of research misconduct investigation

(a) Internal review

The purpose of an internal review mechanism is to resolve any breach of procedural fairness. Notwithstanding mechanisms for appeal under university disciplinary processes, the respondent and/or complainant may request an internal review of the investigation process.

Requests for review must be made by the respondent and/or the complainant within twenty days of receipt of final outcome of the complaint. Requests for review will be made to the Vice-Chancellor and President, who may appoint an internal or external review officer (RO).

In considering whether to proceed with a review, the RO must consider whether the request is substantive having regard to the conduct of the investigation and whether the panel adequately addressed all the issues, was procedurally fair and whether all the evidence was appropriately considered.

On completion of the review, the RO may determine that the original panel reconsider their findings. This could be due to, for example, the presentation of new evidence or the need to consider existing evidence in more detail.

(b) External review

The Australian Research Integrity Committee (ARIC) provides a review system of institutional processes responding to allegations of breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018 for institutions that are in receipt of funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Australian Research Council (ARC) and grants specified in items 7, 8, 10 and 11(b), section 41-10, Higher Education Support Act 2003. Following a review, ARIC advises the Chief Executive Officer of ARC or NHMRC of the outcome of the review and recommendations for further action.

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2.7.14 Other matters

(a) Public Interest Disclosure

Nothing in this document prevents a person from making allegations under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (Qld). The Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar is the responsible officer for receiving and acting on public interest disclosures at the University (B/8.3 Public interest disclosure management), and must be advised as early as possible where action may be required under this Act.

Nothing in this document prevents a person from making allegations of misconduct under the Crime and Corruptions Act 2001.  The Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar is the responsible officer for receiving and acting on allegations of corrupt conduct at the University (B/8.1 QUT Staff Code of Conduct).

(b) Participation in research misconduct processes

The University may issue reasonable and lawful directions to staff members in relation to their participation in any preliminary investigation, or research misconduct investigation.

(c) Restoration of reputation

If allegations of research misconduct or breaches of the QUT Research Code are shown to be unsubstantiated, the University will take reasonable steps to reinstate the reputation of the respondent where this may have been damaged.

(d) Misconduct or unsatisfactory performance unrelated to research

If at any stage in the application of this policy and procedures it is considered that misconduct or unsatisfactory performance may have occurred which is not related to research activities, the relevant allegations may be referred to an appropriate officer for management in accordance with relevant policies and procedures.

(e) External obligations and reporting

When allegations are made, the University may have an obligation to make statutory reports to other external organisations.

(f) Frivolous and vexatious complaints

Individuals are expected to make complaints in good faith and complaints must not be vexatious, frivolous, misconceived or completely without substance. This procedure is not to be used as a forum for revenge, retribution or mischief.

Examples of frivolous, vexatious and bad faith complaints include (but are not limited to):

  • fabricating a complaint to get another person into trouble
  • making trivial or petty complaints
  • making repeated, unsubstantiated complaints; or
  • seeking to re-agitate issues that have already been addressed or determined.

At any stage where such behaviour is suspected, this matter may be referred to the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar who may make an assessment that the complaint is vexatious, frivolous, misconceived without substance or that an alternative University policy is applicable to the subject matter of the complaint and, therefore, the matter will not be progressed through these procedures.

The Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar will advise the complainant in writing and invite them to respond within ten working days, before the Executive Director, Human Resources makes a final determination in this matter.

Persons making frivolous or vexatious complaints may be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the QUT Staff Code of Conduct (B/8.1).

(g) Record keeping

At all stages of this procedure, records pertaining to complaints and allegations or research misconduct and any related assessments, investigations and determinations must be retained and stored appropriately in accordance with QUT’s Records management policy (F/6.1) and Information privacy policy (F/6.2). The Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity is responsible for ensuring that records are stored within the University’s corporate electronic records system (QRecords).

(h) Confidentiality

Confidentiality will be respected and maintained by all persons involved in the complaint at all times, except where it is necessary to afford natural justice or to ensure matters are adequately investigated. Where it is necessary to disclose confidential information, relevant parties will be advised.

(i) Conflicts of interest

If at any stage any persons associated with the process of dealing with an allegation of research misconduct has, or is perceived to have, a conflict of interest in the relevant matter, their involvement must be managed in accordance with the University’s Conflict of interest policy (B/8.7).

(j) Engaging with complainant

Where the complainant may be directly affected by the outcome of an investigation they will only be provided with as much information necessary to assure them that the complaint has been considered appropriately. The outcome of a complaint will be advised to a complainant who only has a general concern in the matter.

(k) Procedural fairness

The management and investigation of complaints about potential breaches of the QUT Research Code will be conducted in accordance with this procedure or otherwise in a way that conforms to the principles of procedural fairness and natural justice.

(l) Representation

An interested party appearing before an investigation may be accompanied by a support person who is not their legal representative (that is a person who is currently practising as a solicitor or barrister).

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2.7.15 Definitions

Allegation means a claim or assertion arising from a preliminary assessment that there are reasonable grounds to believe a breach of the QUT Research Code has occurred. May refer to a single allegation or multiple allegations.

Assessment Officer (AO) means aperson appointed by the Designated Officer to conduct a preliminary assessment of a concern or complaint about research. May refer to a single AO or multiple AOs.

Australian Code means the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018.

QUT Research Code means QUT Code for responsible conduct of research (D/2.6).

Guide means NHMRC’s Guide to Managing and Investigating potential breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.  It describes model processes for investigating, managing and resolving concerns about the conduct of research. QUT has based these procedures on the Guide. To the extent of any inconsistency between these procedures and the Guide, these procedures will be interpreted to be consistent with the Guide.

Breach means behaviour by a researcher that fails to meet the principles or responsibilities of the QUT Research Code, or fails to comply with relevant policies or legislation. May refer to a single breach or multiple breaches. Examples of breaches of the QUT Research Code include, but are not limited to, the following:

a) Research standards

  • Conducting research without ethics approval or not as approved by an appropriate ethics review body
  • Conducting research without the required approval, permit or licence
  • Misusing research funds
  • Concealing or facilitating breaches or potential breaches of the QUT Research Code by others.

b) Fabrication, falsification, misrepresentation

  • Fabrication, falsification or misrepresentation of research data or source material
  • Falsification or misrepresentation to obtain funding.

c) Plagiarism

  • Misrepresenting the work of another person as the researcher’s own
  • Duplicate publication (also known as redundant or multiple publication or self-plagiarism) without acknowledgment of the source.

d) Research data management

  • Failure to appropriately maintain research records in a retrievable format
  • Inappropriate destruction of research records, research data and/or source material
  • Inappropriate disclosure of, or access to, research records, research data and/or source material.

e) Supervision

  • Failure to provide adequate guidance or mentorship on responsible research conduct to researchers or research students under their supervision.

f) Authorship

  • Failure to acknowledge the contribution of others fairly
  • Misleading ascription of authorship, including failing to acknowledge others contribution or awarding authorship to those who do not meet the requirements.

g) Conflict of interest

  • Failure to disclose and manage a perceived or actual research conflict of interest in accordance with the Conflict of interest policy (B/8.7)

h) Peer review

  • Failure to conduct peer review responsibly.

Complainant means a person or persons who has made an official complaint about the conduct of research. May refer to a single complainant or multiple complainants.

Conflict of interest means conflict of interest as defined in the Conflict of interest policy (B/8.7).

Designated Officer (DO) means a senior institutional officer appointed to receive concerns or complaints about the conduct of research or allegations of breaches of the QUT Research Code and to oversee their management and, where necessary investigation. May refer to a single DO or multiple DOs. At QUT the Designated Officer is the Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity.

Evidence means any document (hard copy or electronic, including e-mail, images and data), tangible item (e.g. biological samples), or testimony offered or obtained to prove or disprove a potential breach of the QUT Research Code.

Investigation panel refers to the person(s) appointed by QUT to investigate a potential breach of the QUT Research Code. The composition of the inquiry panel must be proportional to the allegation.

Investigation in this procedure, means the term ‘investigation’ is used to describe the action of investigating an allegation of a breach of the QUT Research Code by an inquiry panel, following the preliminary assessment. The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether a breach of the QUT Research Code has occurred, if so, the seriousness of that breach, and to make recommendations about further actions.

Preliminary assessment identifies that the purpose of the preliminary assessment is to gather and evaluate the evidence to establish whether or not the potential breach of the QUT Research Code warrants further investigation.

Representative means a person chosen by the respondent to assist or speak on their behalf, this may be an officer of a union but will not be a person who is currently practising as a solicitor or barrister.

Research means 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.

Research data is any data collected during research that could be used to validate the research findings and/or facilitate the reproduction of the research.

Research Integrity Advisor (RIA) is an experienced researcher with knowledge of the QUT Research Code appointed to promote the responsible conduct of research and to provide advice to those with concerns or complaints about potential breaches of the QUT Research Code.  A list of Research Integrity Advisors (QUT staff access only) is available from the Office of Research Ethics and Integrity.

Research Integrity Office (RIO) is staff with responsibility for management of research integrity at an institution. At QUT this includes staff within the Office of Research Ethics and Integrity.

Research Misconduct is a serious breach of the QUT Research Code which is also intentional or reckless or negligent.

Respondent is a person whose conduct is alleged to have breached the QUT Research Code. May refer to a single person or multiple people.

Responsible Executive Officer is the senior officer in an institution who has final responsibility for receiving reports of the outcomes of processes of assessment or investigation of potential or actual breaches of the QUT Research Code and deciding on actions to be taken. At QUT this is the Vice-Chancellor and President. The Vice-Chancellor and President may delegate the responsibilities of Responsible Executive Officer to another person.

Support person is a person who accompanies a respondent/complainant to an interview. The support person must not speak on the other person’s behalf nor be a practising solicitor or barrister.

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Related Documents

MOPP B/8.3 Public interest disclosure management

MOPP B/8.5 Disciplinary action for misconduct and serious misconduct – senior staff

MOPP B/8.6 Corruption and fraud control

MOPP B/8.7 Conflict of interest

MOPP B/9.5 Managing unsatisfactory performance – senior staff

MOPP D/2.3 Research governance framework

MOPP D/2.4 Monitoring of research approved by a University Review Body

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

MOPP D/2.6 QUT Code for responsible conduct of research

MOPP D/2.8 Management of research data

MOPP E/8.1 Management of student misconduct

QUT Enterprise Agreement (Academic Staff) (QUT staff access only)

QUT Enterprise Agreement (Professional Staff) (QUT staff access only)

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018

Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 2013

ARC Research Integrity and Research Misconduct Policy, 2016

ARC Funding Agreement

Guide to Managing and Investigating potential breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018

NHMRC Policy on Misconduct Related to NHMRC Funding, 2016

NHMRC Funding Agreement

National Framework of Ethical Principles in Gene Technology 2012

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, 2007 (Updated 2018)

Office of the Gene Technology Regulator – Guidelines for Accreditation of Organisations

Animal Care and Protection Act 2001

Defence Trade Controls Act 2012

Ombudsman Act 2001 (Qld)

Gene Technology Act 2000 and Gene Technology Regulations 2001

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Modification History

Date Sections Source Details
24.05.18 All University Academic Board Policy revised in line with Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018
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
13.11.15 All University Academic Board Revised policy
31.08.10 All Governance Services Policy revised to reflect introduction of new student discipline framework from 01.09.10.
16.11.07 All University Academic Board Revised procedures for dealing with allegations of research misconduct (consistent with revisions to the QUT Code of Conduct for Research and to ensure compliance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research); renumbered to D/2.7 - formerly D/2.6.8 (endorsed by University Research and Innovation Committee 02.11.07)

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