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Module 3: Conducting Research Responsibly – Protecting Yourself, Your Research, and Your University

Frequently asked questions

1. Where can I find the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research?

You can follow this link to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/r39syn.htm). This is a joint statement of the ARC, NHMRC, and Universities Australia and has at its core the expectations and guidance for maintaining integrity in research, meeting community expectations, and handling allegations of misconduct.

2. Is there an easy definition of research misconduct?

Internationally, it is now accepted that research misconduct includes fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism. However, it is also now well accepted that research misconduct is not as clear-cut and can involve other research practices which are unacceptable, and if a researcher undertakes these with deliberate intent they constitute research misconduct. The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research provides the following examples of research misconduct: fabrication of results; falsification or misrepresentation of results; plagiarism; misleading ascription of authorship; failure to declare and manage serious conflicts of interest; falsification or misrepresentation to obtain funding; conducting research without ethics approval as required by the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research involving Humans and the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes; risking the safety of human participants, or the wellbeing of animals or the environment; deviations from the Code that occur through gross or persistent negligence; willful concealment or facilitation of research misconduct by others. The Code also states that research misconduct is not limited to these 10 actions.

3 Where can I read about high-profile cases of research misconduct?

A summary of some high-profile cases of research misconduct and the personal and institutional reputational consequences can be found in:
[News Misconduct Special] Where are they now? Nature 2007, 445: 244–245.

A list of all recently closed inquiries and investigations reported by the US Office of Research Integrity can be found at: http://69.59.142.46/misconduct/cases/

4. What is ARIC?

ARIC is the Australian Research Integrity Committee. It was formed in 2010 and opened for business in February 2011. ARIC was jointly established by the ARC and NHMRC, and provides a review system of institutional processes to respond to allegations of research misconduct. For further information on the ARIC framework, go to http://www.arc.gov.au/general/research_integrity.htm .