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

1.1 Reputation management – the university, research, project and yourself as the researcher

Society's trust placed in research should be earned. It is worth considering how research achievements are reported with a look at the following excerpts describing a recent well-deserved award [full report on the Department of Industry website].

"For his leadership in offshore civil engineering, Professor Mark Cassidy receives the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year. ... From his geotechnical laboratory at the University of Western Australia, he models the way the feet of these giant platforms push into the mud on the ocean floor. And his models work. His advice is sought by the designers and builders of the platforms and his modeling has led to changes to international safety guidelines. ... Today, Mark's newer, more sophisticated mathematical models take into account the impact of soil and wave mechanics, structural mechanics and more. Scaled-down versions of platforms' legs and feet are tested using giant centrifuges at his laboratory at the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems at the University of Western Australia. ... He is leading an $11 million CSIRO Flagship cluster that's bringing six universities together to investigate the challenges of constructing pipelines that will carry oil and gas from depths of three kilometres or more. ... The pipelines will have to cope with rugged terrain including deep sea cliffs, ocean currents, a moving seabed, and many other hazards. Mark and his colleagues will assess the hazards, build the scale models and create their mathematical equivalents – sets of numbers that engineers can use to safely design innovative engineering solutions to meet the challenges ahead."

This reporting and much of the coverage of research shows the reputation links a researcher can have. As a researcher, the integrity of your research output and practice helps to maintain not only your own reputation, but that of your colleagues, your research field, and your university. Codes of conduct can assist in maintaining research integrity.

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