Research - Academic Policy

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Research - Academic Policy


Approval authority
Academic Board
Responsible officer
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
Designated officer
Director, Office of Research
First approved
20 November 2012
Last amended
5 January 2016
Effective start date
21 November 2012
Review date
21 November 2017
Related documents
Intellectual Property - Governing Policy
Jointly Conferred Academic Awards - Academic Policy
Jointly Conferred Coursework Programs - Procedures
Jointly Conferred Higher Degree by Research Programs - Procedures
Research Authorship - Procedures
Research Data and Materials - Procedures
Research Misconduct - Governing Policy
Research Misconduct Allegations and Investigation - Procedures
Staff Code of Conduct - Governing Policy
Student Conduct and Discipline - Governing Policy
Related legislation / standards
Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)

1. Purpose

This Policy outlines the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of researchers in the conduct of their research activities and the University’s role and expectations in supporting those activities.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the 2007 Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, relevant national and state legislation, University policies and procedures.

2. Application

This policy applies to all staff, students, research trainees, adjunct and conjoint appointments, visiting academics and research fellows who are undertaking research as well as members of University decision-making or advisory bodies.

3. Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to this policy and are critical to its effectiveness:

Academic Publication means any article (refereed or non-refereed), presentation, paper, book or book chapter(s) (including textbooks) or manual, in any medium, including non traditional types of research output such as original creative works, live performance of creative works, recorded/rendered creative works and curated or produced substantial public exhibitions and events.

Materials means physical objects acquired or derived through a process of scholarly investigation from which research data may be derived. It includes ore, biological materials, questionnaires or recordings.

Research means the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) definition for research as follows: “Research is defined as 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 and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.

This definition of research is consistent with a broad notion of research and experimental development (R&D) as comprising of creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humanity, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.
This definition of research encompasses pure and strategic basic research, applied research and experimental development. Applied research is original investigation undertaken to acquire new knowledge but directed towards a specific, practical aim or objective (including a client-driven purpose).”

Researcher means all USC staff, students, adjuncts, conjoint appointments and visiting appointments undertaking research at USC including staff classified as academic, professional, technical or casual staff.

Research data means the facts, observations, computer results, measurements or experiences upon which an argument, theory or research publication is based. It includes assays, test results, transcripts, laboratory and field notes and data recorded in any media which can be used to produce research outputs. Data may be numerical, descriptive, visual, raw, analysed, experimental or observational.

4. Key Principles

4.1 All researchers must adhere to the highest standards of intellectual honesty; integrity; scholarly, theoretical and scientific rigour and ensure that their work conforms to appropriate ethical, safety, and environmental standards.

4.2 Researchers must comply with the 2007 Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, relevant national and state legislation, University policies and procedures.

4.3 A safe working environment is to be maintained for all research.

4.4 Researchers must demonstrate:

4.4.1 respect for human research participants (living or deceased), animals and the environment;

4.4.2 good stewardship of public research resources;

4.4.3 use of research funds in accordance with terms and conditions under which funds were received;

4.4.4 appropriate acknowledgement of the intellectual contribution of others in research; and

4.4.5 the responsible communication of research results.

5. Management of Research Data and Materials

5.1 The University will provide data management services and safe, secure data storage facilities.

5.2 Researchers must ensure research data and materials are managed and stored securely in accordance with relevant information privacy and records management legislation, University policies and procedures.

5.3 Ownership of research data and materials resulting from a research project hosted by USC resides with USC and not the researcher or funding body, unless subject to any written agreement between the researcher and USC or USC and a third party. Regardless of ownership, USC as the institution hosting the research remains the custodian of the research data, materials and records.

6. Supervision of Research Students

6.1 The University supports and encourages the appropriate mentoring and supervision of research students, acknowledging their importance in the development of research excellence, integrity, professionalism, mutual respect and recognition.

6.2 Research must be supervised only by staff with experience, qualifications and competence appropriate to the intended research.

6.3 Supervisors are responsible for overseeing compliance by research students with the provisions of University policies.

7. Publication and Dissemination of Research Findings

7.1 The University supports and encourages the timely and responsible dissemination of research findings. This applies to all forms of dissemination, whether or not they are subject to peer review, such as formal publications in academic journals, web publishing, exhibitions or films, professional or institutional repositories. Researchers are expected to disseminate their research as widely as possible, within the constraints of intellectual property, contract or confidentiality requirements.

7.2 The University expects that authorship will be attributed in accordance with Sections 4 and 5 of the 2007 Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

7.3 To be named as an author in any academic publication, a researcher must have made substantial scholarly contribution in a combination of conception and design of the research or analysis and interpretation of research data and the drafting and revision of significant parts of the work so as to contribute to the interpretation. Authors are required to provide final approval of the version to be submitted for publication.

7.4 The right to authorship is not tied to position or profession and does not depend on whether the contribution was paid for or voluntary.

7.5 The contribution of materials or routine technical support, the measurements on which the publication is based, the acquisition of funding or the collection of data should be acknowledged as a contribution but does not justify authorship.

7.6 General supervision of the research team is not sufficient for authorship. Being named a supervisor is in itself not sufficient to be named an author.

7.7 Each author of a research publication takes responsibility for the validity, originality, and integrity of the research that they contributed, or permitted to have contributed, to the research that is disseminated.

8. Conflict of Interest

8.1 The University recognises that conflicts of interests can occur or be perceived to have occurred within research and may be unavoidable in some circumstances. This places research, researchers and the University at risk. The University expects that researchers will disclose any actual or apparent conflict of interest that may have the potential to compromise or influence their research. Researchers must ensure that a conflict of interest is identified, disclosed and managed effectively to ensure transparency and integrity.

9. Collaborative Research Across Institutions

9.1 The University encourages and supports the collaboration between researchers, institutions, industry and across jurisdictions. Collaborative research creates challenges that need to be managed in relation to ownership of intellectual property, conflicts of interest, responsibility for ethical and other clearances, data management, publication and commercialisation of research outcomes.

9.2 The University expects researchers to comply with relevant legislation, statutory regulations and contractual obligations.

10. Research Misconduct

10.1 The University has no tolerance for any misconduct or unethical behaviour in its research activities. All allegations that this Code has been breached will be dealt with in accordance with the Research Misconduct - Governing Policy.


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