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Responsible Research Conduct Policy

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Section 1 - Schedule APurpose and Scope

(1) The purpose of this Policy is to adopt the principles in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018 (the Code).

(2) This Policy applies to all staff, including adjunct, visiting, emeritus and conjoint appointees and Higher Degree Researchers (students) who carry out research under the auspices of the University.

(3) This Policy does not apply to Honours students or students undertaking coursework units with a research component.

(4) This Policy should be read in conjunction with the:

  1. The Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
  2. The National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research
  3. Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes
  4. ARC Research Integrity Policy
  5. Research Data Management Policy
  6. Rules Relating to Awards - Rule 7 - Masters by Thesis Awards
  7. Rules Relating to Awards - Rule 8 - Professional Doctorate Awards
  8. Rules Relating to Awards - Rule 9 - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) award
  9. Southern Cross University Enterprise Agreement
  10. The University’s Code of Conduct

(5) In the event of any inconsistency between the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018 and University Rules, Policies and Procedures, the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018 Code will prevail.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(6) For the purposes of this Policy the definitions are consistent with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018 (the Code) and the Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018 (the Guide). Academic Misconduct, or breach of the Code, will be referred to as a breach of the Code in this Policy.

(7) Academic misconduct means behaviour that contravenes the values of academic integrity. It includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Acting dishonestly in connection with academic work, including assisting, or procuring another person to do so;
  2. Cheating - improper conduct in examinations or other assessment tasks including taking unauthorised study material and aids into an examination room, copying from another Student and sitting an examination for another Student.
  3. Recycling work that has been prepared for one unit by presenting it as original work for another unit or re-presenting work previously submitted for an incomplete or failed unit unless specific appropriate permission is given.
  4. Collusion - presenting the product of unauthorised collaboration as independent work, or copying, or attempting to copy, another person's work and pass it off as one's own work, or knowingly allowing work to be copied and passed off as the work of another person.
  5. Plagiarism - fraudulently, deliberately or inadvertently using the work of others without due acknowledgement, and claiming it as one's own for academic or other purposes, or self-plagiarism.

(8) Allegation means an Allegation of Academic Misconduct or a breach of the Code.

(9) Appeal means an Appeal against the determination of the Designated Officer.

(10) Assessment Officer (AO): A person or persons appointed by the Designated Officer to conduct a preliminary assessment of an allegation of a breach of the Code.

(11) Balance of probabilities means the civil standard of proof, which requires that, on the weight of evidence, it is more probable than not that a breach has occurred.

(12) Breach means a failure to meet the principles and responsibilities of the Code and may refer to a single breach or multiple breaches.

(13) Caution means a formal warning about the consequences of a breach of the Code and a clear message about penalties should another breach of the Code occur.

(14) Code means the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018.

(15) Complainant means a person who has made an Allegation about the conduct of research.

(16) Conflict of interest exists in a situation where an independent observer might reasonably conclude that the professional actions of a person are or may be unduly influenced by other interests. This refers to a financial or non-financial interest which may be perceived, potential or actual conflict of interest.

(17) Corrective Actions include, but are not limited to, retractions or errata of publications, training, counselling and systemic improvements.

(18) Decision Maker means the Designated Officer or Responsible Executive Officer.

(19) Designated Officer is the senior professional or academic University officer or officers appointed by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) to receive allegations about the conduct of research or potential breaches of the Code and to oversee their management and investigation where required.

(20) Evidence means any document (hard copy or electronic, including email, images and data), information, tangible item (for example biological samples) or testimony offered or obtained that may be considered during the process of managing and investigating a potential breach of the Code.

(21) ESOS Act means the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000.

(22) Guide means the Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018.

(23) Head of School means the Head/Director of a University School/College/Centre.

(24) Higher Degree Researcher means a higher degree by research student.

(25) Investigation describes the action of investigating an allegation of a breach of the Code by the Panel, following the preliminary assessment. The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether a breach of the Code has occurred, and if so, the extent of that breach, and to make recommendations about further actions.

(26) Investigation Officer is a person appointed by the Designated Officer to investigate a potential breach of the Code.

(27) Panel refers to the person or persons appointed by an institution to investigate a potential breach of the Code.

(28) Preliminary assessment means the gathering and evaluating of evidence to establish whether a potential breach of the Code warrants further investigation.

(29) Procedural Fairness means that a fair and proper procedure is used when making a decision.

(30) Reprimand means a formal censure.

(31) Researcher means a person who conducts, or assists with the conduct of, research.

(32) Respondent means a person or persons subject to an Allegation about a potential breach of the Code.

(33) Responsible Executive Officer (REO) is the senior officer of the University who has final responsibly for receiving reports of the outcomes of processes of assessment or investigation of potential or found breaches of the Code.

(34) Research Integrity Advisor (RIA) is a person or persons with knowledge of the Code and institutional processes nominated by the University to promote the responsible conduct of research and provide advice to those with concerns or complaints about potential breaches of the Code.

(35) Review Officer (RO) is the senior officer with responsibility for receiving requests for a procedural review of an investigation of a breach of the Code.

(36) Staff (for the purpose of this Policy) means all persons who are academic or professional employees of Southern Cross University, including full time, part time, fixed term and casuals, and adjunct, visiting, emeritus and conjoint appointees who are engaged in supervisory and other research roles on behalf of the University.

(37) Student means a person who is registered as a student of the University regardless of whether at the time of the Allegation, they are currently enrolled in a course of study conducted by or within the University.

(38) Support Person means a person who accompanies a party to a meeting.

(39) Third Party means a person, or persons or institutions outside of Southern Cross University and includes industry partners, volunteers, former students, media/journalists, participants in human research and members of the public.

(40) University Processes includes references to Rules, Policies, Procedures, Guidelines and Standards.

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Section 3 - Institutional Roles

(41) Schedule A identifies and documents the University positions responsible for the key roles and responsibilities recommended for the investigation and management of potential breaches of the Code.

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Section 4 - Policy Statement

(42) The University adopts the principles of responsible conduct of research in the Code to ensure that University processes are consistent with those principles.

(43) All staff, adjunct, visiting, emeritus and conjoint academic appointees and Higher Degree Researchers (students) undertaking research at the University must be aware of the principles and their responsibilities in the Code and conduct their research in accordance with those principles;

Responsibilities of the Institution

(44) The University endorses the Responsibilities of Institutions as set out in the Code, namely, to:

  1. Establish and maintain good governance and management practices for responsible research conduct.
  2. Identify and comply with relevant laws, regulations, guidelines and policies relating to the conduct of research.
  3. Develop and maintain the currency and ready availability of a suite of policies and procedures which ensure that institutional practices are consistent with the principles and responsibilities of the Code.
  4. Provide ongoing training and education that promotes and supports responsible research conduct for all researchers and those in other relevant roles.
  5. Ensure supervisors of research trainees have the appropriate skills, qualifications and resources.
  6. Identify and train Research Integrity Advisors who assist in the promotion and fostering of responsible research conduct and provide advice to those with concerns about potential breaches of the Code.
  7. Support the responsible dissemination of research findings. Where necessary, take action to correct the record in a timely manner.
  8. Provide access to facilities for the safe and secure storage and management of research data, records and primary materials and, where possible and appropriate, allow access and reference.
  9. Facilitate the prevention and detection of potential breaches of the Code.
  10. Provide mechanisms to receive concerns or complaints about potential breaches of the Code. Investigate and resolve potential breaches of the Code
  11. Ensure that the process for managing and investigating concerns or complaints about potential breaches of the Code is timely, effective and in accord with procedural fairness.
  12. Support the welfare of all parties involved in an investigation of a potential breach of the Code.
  13. Base findings of investigations on the balance of probabilities and ensure any actions are commensurate with the seriousness of the breach.
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Section 5 - Allegations of Breach of the Code

(45) Allegations of breaches of the Code will be dealt with in accordance with:

  1. Responsible Research Conduct Procedures - Staff; or
  2. Responsible Research Conduct Procedures - Higher Degree Researchers (Students).

(46) Where an allegation of misconduct relates to a Higher Degree Researcher who is also a staff member, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) will determine which Procedures apply with reference to the context in which the alleged breach occurred.

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Section 6 - Transitional Arrangements

(47) If, before this Policy comes into effect, a person has commenced the consideration of an Allegation or an Appeal but has not yet made a determination in relation to that matter, that person:

  1. Is taken to be appointed as a Decision Maker for the purpose of this Policy; and
  2. Shall continue to hear or consider and determine that matter in accordance with this Policy as if the initial proceedings had been commenced under or conducted pursuant to this Policy.

(48) Any act, matter or instrument that immediately before this Policy came into effect had effect pursuant to any by-law, Policy, resolution or other instrument of the University is taken to have effect under this Policy.

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Section 7 - Procedures

(49) Responsible Research Conduct Procedures - Higher Degree Researchers (Students)

(50) Responsible Research Conduct Procedures - Staff

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Section 8 - Guidelines

(51) Nil.