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Research Integrity Policy

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) This Policy promotes the values and principles that underpin quality research and sets out the minimum standards expected of the University and all persons involved in research and research training. It constitutes a governance and management framework designed to create an environment that promotes the responsible, safe and ethical conduct of research and to enhance the reputation of the University and its researchers.

(2) This Policy embraces the principles  of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018) (the Australian Code), the Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Code, 2018 (the Assessment and Investigation Guide) and the other associated good practice guides (Management of Data and Information in Research: A guide supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, Authorship: A guide supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research) to establish and maintain good governance and management practices relating to the conduct of research activities within the University. It is the responsibility of VU Research leadership to encourage good practice.

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Section 2 - Scope

(3) This Policy applies to all University staff and students.

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Section 3 - Definitions

(4) Acknowledgement

(5) Authorship

(6) Breach of the Australian Code

(7) Collaboration: A collaboration occurs when an organisation or individual either within or external to the University work together where there is a commitment of resources by both the parties.

(8) Confidential information: Commercially valuable information or a trade secret, a secret or sacred information (usually communicated by Indigenous people) or other information which is treated as confidential by a research participant, a person involved in research, or the University. It does not include information which:

  1. is in or becomes part of the public domain (other than through a breach of confidence); or
  2. was known to the recipient at the time of disclosure (unless such knowledge arose through a breach of confidence); or
  3. the recipient can prove was independently acquired or developed without breaching any obligations of confidence.

(9) Conflicts of Interest

(10) Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidate: A student at Master or Doctoral level AQF 9 or 10 respectively, of which two thirds or more that is of work is research or research training.

(11) Intellectual Property: Intangible property that is the result of creativity or scholarship, such as patents and copyrights.

(12) Moral Rights: Personal legal rights belonging to creators of copyright works and cannot be transferred, assigned or sold.

(13) Persons Involved in Research

(14) Plagiarism: Involves the use of another person’s intellectual output and presenting it, in any form, as one’s own without appropriate attribution or acknowledgment.

(15) Principal Investigator

(16) Records: The material form of information, related to or derived from research. Records may include correspondence, grant or ethics applications, technical reports, signed consent forms, information sheets for research participants or other similar documents. For the purposes of this Policy, records do not include research data and materials.

(17) Research: All conduct leading up to, in preparation for, during and after the completion and reporting of:

  1. an investigation undertaken to gain original knowledge, validate previous research, or use existing knowledge in a new and creative way to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings;
  2. a creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge;
  3. experimental development into applications software, new programming languages and new operating systems.

(18) Research Mentor

(19) Research Trainee

(20) Research Misconduct

(21) Research supervisor

(22) Researcher

(23) Under the auspices of Victoria University: Research where any of the following statements are true:

  1. the research will be conducted on a University site or facilities or using University equipment or services;
  2. the research will be claimed for activity-based funding;
  3. the research will be described (e.g. in recruitment or consent material or in research outputs) as University research;
  4. the research is a component of the University academic program; or
  5. the researcher(s) want the University’s insurance or indemnity arrangements to cover the research.
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Section 4 - Policy Statement

(24) VU Research is committed to the principles of the Australian Code. Namely, honesty, rigour, transparency, fairness, respect, recognition, accountability and promotion.

(25) The University has established a research integrity governance and management framework, comprised of this Policy and associated Procedures, that:

  1. promotes quality research underpinned by a culture of responsible and ethical conduct to enhance the reputation of the University, researchers and research as a profession;
  2. includes the adoption and implementation of a suite of institutional policies, guidelines and procedures that outline roles, responsibilities and accountabilities, and appropriately minimise and manage risk associated with the conduct of research; and
  3. provides formal training and continuing professional development on all aspects of the Australian Code and this Policy for all researchers and those in other relevant roles.

(26) The University has appointed experienced researchers to create a network of Research Integrity Advisors (RIAs). The primary roles of RIAs are to promote and foster the responsible conduct of research and to be a source of collegiate advice to researchers.

Victoria University’s Research Commitments

(27) All persons involved in research will maintain high standards of research integrity (the components of this responsibility are outlined in the University's Research Integrity Procedures).

(28) All University researchers, that is, research mentors, graduate researchers, research trainees, and technical and other support staff when directly involved in research,  will comply with relevant laws, regulations, guidelines and policies related to the design, conduct and reporting of research, and participate in relevant professional development activities offered by the University.

(29) All University researchers will adhere to the provisions of the Australian Code and this Research Integrity Policy, and will not engage in research misconduct. Where it is alleged there has been non-adherence or that research misconduct has occurred, the matter will be dealt with under the Research Misconduct and Breach of the Australian Code Procedure [pending].

(30) The University is committed to the Research responsibilities below, which are outlined in the following procedures:

  1. Research Data and materials [pending];
  2. Authorship [pending];
  3. Research Misconduct and Breach of the Australian Code [pending];
  4. Peer Review [pending].

Research data and materials

(31) Researchers will maintain comprehensive notes, books, and records related to research activities, including details of observations, processes and other significant actions or findings, together with any research data and materials necessary to verify the integrity of a research project.

(32) Research data and materials will be retained for a prescribed period beyond the completion of a project as set out in the Management of Data and Information in Research: A guide supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research to enable research outcomes to be validated and justified.

Supervision of trainee researchers

(33) Research supervisors will have the appropriate skills and qualifications to guide students. They will also mentor and guide their trainees with regard to the responsible conduct of research (see Higher Degrees by Research Procedure 7 Supervision).

(34) The University supports supervisors through procedures relating to the supervision of work, mentoring and the professional development needs of research trainees and responsibilities of supervisor/trainee.

Publication and dissemination of research findings

(35) University research will be disseminated responsibly and should be disseminated widely.

(36) The Australian Code and this Policy applies to all forms of refereed and non-refereed publications that enable research to be shared by other researchers, professionals and the wider community.

(37) University researchers will disseminate research findings responsibly through publication in academic journals, conference papers, books, exhibitions, films, performances, websites, other media or professional and institutional repositories.

(38) University researchers will promptly take appropriate action to correct the record where there are potential problems with a reported output.

(39) University researchers will take all reasonable steps to avoid publishing with an illegitimate/vanity/pay-to-pay/predatory publisher.

Authorship

(40) The University and its researchers will attribute authorship and acknowledge contributions to scholarly works recognising the moral rights of others and avoiding plagiarism.

Conflicts of Interest

(41) Conflicts of interest can arise in a range of contexts relating to research and will be managed to ensure judgements and decisions are not influenced by, or perceived to be influenced by, personal interests or associations.

(42) All persons involved in research will recognise and manage actual, potential and perceived conflicts of interest.

Collaborative research with organisations and individuals outside the University

(43) While this commitment may vary, collaborations raise specific research integrity issues. All research collaborations will be dealt with through a written agreement.

Breaches of the Australian Code and Research Misconduct

(44) The University’s arrangements for investigating alleged breaches of the Australian Code (including research misconduct) are described in the Research Misconduct and Breach of the Australian Code Procedure [pending].

(45) All persons involved in University research will contribute to the University’s efforts to prevent and detect potential breaches of the Australian Code.

Research Integrity, Ethics and Compliance with Regulatory Bodies

(46) The University has established processes to promote research integrity, including formal mechanisms designed to ensure research involving or impacting on humans, animals or the environment is designed, conducted and reported in accordance with relevant regulatory systems. These standards are consistent with, and additional to, the obligations, values and principles articulated by the Australian Code and this Policy.

(47) There is additional guidance for research with Aboriginal people/issues - Victoria University Bathelmun Yalingwa Strategy 2017-2020 and Ethical Conduct in Research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Communities: Guidelines for Researchers and Stakeholders, 2018.

Occupational Health and Safety

(48) Nothing in this Policy alters any legal obligation related to or involving Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). All persons involved in research will be aware that they may be personally liable at law for breaches of OHS that occur in the conduct of their research.

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Section 5 - Procedures

(49) Research Integrity: Research Data and Materials Procedure [pending]

(50) Research Integrity: Authorship Procedure [pending]

(51) Research Integrity: Research Misconduct and Breach of the Australian Code Procedure [pending]

(52) Research Integrity: Peer review Procedure [pending]

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Section 6 - Guidelines

(53) Nil.