1. Purpose of policy
The following policy is intended to provide a clear and transparent framework for dealing with alleged research misconduct and inquiries to determine if research misconduct has occurred. This policy supports the principles contained in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and should be read in conjunction with the Code.
2. Application of policy
This policy applies to all University of the Sunshine Coast staff, students and researchers, including adjunct, conjoint and visiting appointments, undertaking research on University of the Sunshine Coast premises or in the name of the University of the Sunshine Coast.
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:
Delegate of the Vice-Chancellor and President means a University staff member appointed to oversee and carry out, where appropriate, the functions of the CEO under the Code, in accordance with this policy and related procedures. This will normally be the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor unless another person is nominated by the Vice-Chancellor and President.
Designated Person means a University staff member designated to manage the initial assessment of all written complaints of Research Misconduct and Serious Research Misconduct and to provide advice to the Delegate of the Vice-Chancellor and President. This will normally be the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), or nominee. All written complaints of Research Misconduct and Serious Research Misconduct will go to the Designated Person.
The Australian Code means the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
4. Research misconduct
Research misconduct includes:
4.1 The fabrication of data: claiming results where none have been obtained;
4.2The falsification of data including changing records
4.3 Plagiarism, including the direct copying of textual material, the use of other people’s data and/or ideas without acknowledgment
4.4 Misleading ascription of authorship including the listing of authors without their permission, attributing work to anyone who has not contributed to the research, and the lack of appropriate acknowledgment of work produced by others
4.5 Falsely claiming inventorship
4.6 Other Research activities that are not compliant with the Research – Academic Policy
4.7 Other practices that seriously deviate from those commonly accepted within the research community for proposing, conducting or reporting research. For example, failure to comply with legal requirements or official University processes (e.g. ethics compliance).
Research misconduct does not include genuine errors or differences in interpretation or judgments of data.
A complaint or allegation relates to research misconduct if it involves both intent and deliberation, recklessness or gross and persistent negligence, and serious consequences such as false information on the public record, or adverse effects on research participants, animals or the environment.
5. Categories of research misconduct
5.1 Breaches mean research misconduct by a researcher with no previous record of research misconduct that does not involve potentially serious consequences.
5.2 Serious research misconduct means serious conduct or misbehaviour on or in connection with research which:
a. constitutes a serious impediment to the carrying out of a staff member's duties
b. constitutes a serious impediment to the staff member's colleagues carrying out their duties
c. is a serious dereliction of the duties required of the staff members position
d. involves conviction by a court of an offence which constitutes a serious impediment to the carrying out of a staff member's duties or to the carrying out of duties by a staff member's colleagues
e. in a matter involving a person holding an honorary appointment or who is a student or former student, falls within any of the examples below.
All staff, students and researchers must refrain from engaging in research misconduct.
All staff, students and researchers have an obligation to bring instances of suspected research misconduct to the relevant designated authority.
University Research Integrity Advisors are University Executive Deans, Associate Deans of Research and Directors of Research Centres or other staff designated by the Executive Deans. They advise members of the University community on good research practices and issues concerning research misconduct and the rights and responsibilities of potential complainants and the procedures for dealing with research misconduct. A Research Integrity Advisor must not have a conflict of interest, cannot be involved in investigating or assessing the merits of any allegation of misconduct in or in connection with research, cannot make contact with the person who is the subject of a proposed allegation, nor be involved in any subsequent inquiry.
7. Complaint process
Should an allegation of research misconduct arise, the University will progress the matter according to the Research Misconduct Allegations and Investigation - Procedures.
The University will facilitate timely and appropriate action in accordance with natural justice through the appropriate procedural options.
8. Report of findings
The Delegate of the Vice-Chancellor and President will report all adverse findings of Research Misconduct/Serious Research Misconduct and actions taken by the University in response to them to the relevant funding agencies, journals, collaborating institutions, researchers, professional registration bodies, the general public and other relevant parties, as determined by the Delegate of the Vice-Chancellor and President, at their absolute discretion. The delegate of the Vice-Chancellor and President can report any non-adverse findings to such entities and persons as the Delegate of the Vice-Chancellor and President determines is necessary.