This document outlines the Code of Responsible Research Conduct (hereby referred to as ‘Research Code’). The principles outlined in this document has been adapted from the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
All TAMRI personnel (eg researchers, professional staff, and associates) are expected to comply with the following principles:
Principle 1: Honesty
Ensuring the truthful and accurate representation of data and information throughout the process of proposing, conducting, analysing, and reporting research.
Principle 2: Rigour
Underpinning research through meticulous attention to detail and rigorous methodology, while being mindful of and acknowledging potential biases.
Principle 3: Transparency
Promoting open, responsible, and accurate sharing and communication of research methodology, data, and findings, while also disclosing and effectively managing conflicts of interest.
Principle 4: Fairness
Ensuring fair and respectful treatment of fellow researchers and all individuals involved in the research process, by appropriately referencing and citing the work of others, and duly recognizing and giving credit, including authorship when appropriate, to those who have contributed to the research.
Principle 5: Respect
Demonstrating respect for research participants, colleagues, research students, the broader community, animals, and the environment.
Principle 6: Recognition
Recognizing and respecting the rights of communities, particularly ethnic minorities, to be actively engaged in research that impacts or holds special significance for them.
Principle 7: Accountability
Emphasizing accountability, encompassing both financial and non-financial aspects, throughout the process of research development, implementation, and reporting. Anticipating the potential consequences and outcomes of research before its dissemination.
Principle 8: Promotion
Promoting and cultivating a research culture and environment that nurtures responsible research conduct, both within the Institute and in the respective field of practice.
Responsibilities of the Institute
- Promote and uphold ethical standards and effective administration for ensuring responsible research conduct.
- Recognize and adhere to applicable laws, regulations, guidelines, and policies pertaining to research practices.
- Provide continuous training and educational opportunities that foster and support responsible research conduct for individuals in various research and related positions.
- Ensure that supervisors of research trainees possess the necessary expertise, qualifications, and resources to fulfill their roles effectively.
- Identify and provide training to Research Integrity advisors, who play a crucial role in promoting and cultivating responsible research conduct, and offer guidance to individuals with concerns regarding possible violations of the Research Code.
- Support the responsible dissemination of research findings and, when required, take prompt action to rectify any inaccuracies or discrepancies in a timely manner.
- Facilitate access to secure and protected facilities for the storage and management of research data, records, and primary materials. Additionally, where feasible and suitable, enable authorized access and referencing to these resources.
- Promote measures that aid in preventing and detecting potential violations of the Code, fostering a proactive approach towards maintaining research integrity.
- Establish channels to receive concerns or complaints regarding possible breaches of the Research Code, and undertake thorough investigations to resolve such potential violations in a fair and effective manner.
- Ensure that the process for handling and investigating concerns or complaints related to potential breaches of the Research Code is conducted in a timely and effective manner, while upholding procedural fairness throughout the entire procedure.
- Provide support and prioritize the welfare of all individuals involved in an investigation of a potential breach of the Research Code, ensuring their well-being is upheld throughout the process.
- Base investigation findings on the balance of probabilities and ensure that any subsequent actions taken are proportionate to the severity of the breach in question.
Responsibilities of TAMRI Researchers
- Foster and cultivate a culture of responsible research conduct within TAMRI and across their professional domain.
- Provide guidance and mentorship to fellow researchers or research trainees under their supervision, emphasizing responsible research conduct. Additionally, when necessary, monitor their behavior to ensure adherence to ethical standards.
- Engage in and advocate for education and training initiatives focused on responsible research conduct.
- Adhere to local laws, regulations, disciplinary standards, ethics guidelines, and institutional policies pertaining to responsible research conduct. Prior to initiating research, ensure the necessary approvals are obtained, and throughout the research process, maintain compliance with the conditions specified in those approvals.
- Ensure the application of ethical principles, including research merit and research integrity, justice, beneficence, and respect, in the conduct of human research.
- Ensure that the principles of Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement (3Rs) are consistently taken into account throughout all stages of animal research. By doing so, minimize the impact on animals involved in research and prioritize their welfare and well-being.
- Employ research methods suitable for the objectives of the study and ensure that the conclusions drawn are supported by the obtained results.
- Maintain meticulous, accurate, and securely stored records of all research activities, including research data and primary materials. Whenever feasible and suitable, enable access and referencing of these records by interested parties.
- Disseminate research findings in a responsible, accurate, and comprehensive manner. If needed, promptly take corrective action to rectify any inaccuracies or discrepancies in the record.
- Disclose and appropriately manage any actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest.
- Ensure that authors listed on research outputs are individuals who have made substantial intellectual or scholarly contributions to the research and its resulting output, and that they have provided their agreement to be included as authors.
- Acknowledge and give due recognition to individuals who have made significant contributions to the research.
- Properly and accurately cite and acknowledge relevant work from others in a diligent manner.
- Engage in peer review processes that are fair, rigorous, and timely, while upholding the confidentiality of the reviewed content.
- Report any suspected breaches of the Research Code to the appropriate institution and/or relevant authority.
Research. The concept of research “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” (Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, NHMRC 2018).
A breach of the Research Code encompasses instances where the principles and responsibilities outlined in the Code are not met, which can involve a singular breach or multiple breaches. Examples of breaches of the Research Code include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to meet required research standards, such as conducting research without the necessary ethics approval or misuse of research funds.
- Fabrication, falsification, or misrepresentation of research data or source material, including instances of falsification or misrepresentation to obtain funding.
- Plagiarism, which involves the unauthorized use of someone else’s work, including theories, concepts, research data, and source material. This includes duplicate publication (self-plagiarism) without proper acknowledgment of the original source.
- Inappropriate management of research data, including the improper destruction or disclosure of research records, research data, or source material.
- Inadequate guidance or mentorship on responsible research conduct provided by supervisors to researchers or research trainees under their supervision.
- Failure to acknowledge the contributions of others fairly or misleading attribution of authorship.
- Failure to disclose and manage conflicts of interest.
- Failure to conduct peer review responsibly.
Research Misconduct refers to a grave violation of the Code that involves intentional, reckless, or negligent behavior. Instances of fabrication and falsification are widely recognized as intentional or reckless breaches and are considered examples of Research Misconduct. Repeat or persistent breaches are likely to be regarded as serious violations, warranting further examination for potential Research Misconduct.
Research Misconduct does not encompass honest differences in judgment. Generally, unintentional errors do not qualify as Research Misconduct unless they arise from behavior that is reckless or negligent.
Following the identification of a breach, the assessment of its severity under the Code is conducted on a case-by-case basis. This determination necessitates exercising sound judgment, thoughtful deliberation, and an understanding of the context and established academic disciplinary norms.