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Research Ethics and Integrity Policy

1. Purpose and objectives

2. Scope

3. Principles

4. Policy statements

4.1 Human ethics

4.2 Animal ethics

4.3 Biosafety

4.4 Clinical trials

4.5 Management of research data and primary materials

4.6 Conflicts of interest

4.7 Managing complaints and potential breaches

5. Policy ownership and support

6. Definitions

Approval information

PDF version

References


1. Purpose and objectives

The Research Equity and Integrity Policy (the policy) aims to ensure that those conducting research on behalf of UTS are committed to the highest possible standards of ethical conduct and integrity, and to the maintenance of their own reputation as well as that of the university.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all UTS staff, students, affiliates and other persons conducting research under the auspices of UTS. UTS affiliates include honorary appointees, emeritus professors, conjoint appointments, contractors, volunteers, agency staff, members of university/faculty committees and any other person appointed or engaged by UTS to perform work, duties or functions for the university.

3. Principles

3.1 The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code) guides institutions and researchers in responsible research practices and promotes research integrity. UTS adopts the Code’s Principles of Responsible Research Conduct:

  • honesty in the development, undertaking and reporting of research
  • rigour in conducting high-quality research
  • transparency in declaring interests and reporting research methodologies and findings
  • fairness in the treatment of others
  • respect for research participants, the wider community, animals and the environment
  • recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples or communities significantly involved in or affected by research
  • accountability for the conduct of research
  • promotion of responsible conduct in the research community.

3.2 Research conducted outside of NSW must comply with the governing principles of this policy, provided that such compliance does not breach relevant local legislation. Research should not be conducted in other countries as a mechanism of avoiding compliance with this policy and local legislation.

3.3 All necessary ethics approvals must be obtained before work requiring ethics approval commences.

4. Policy statements

4.1 Human ethics

4.1.1 All those under the scope of this policy conducting research involving human participants must:

4.2 Animal ethics

4.2.1 All those under the scope of this policy conducting research involving animals must:

  • comply fully with the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes or any replacement or amendment
  • understand and comply with the university’s Guidelines for Animal Ethics (Staff Connect)
  • seek approval from the UTS Animal Care and Ethics Committee (ACEC) for all research involving the care and use of animals
  • notify the Research Ethics Office of any proposed use of deceased animals or animal tissues so that they may check that the proposed use does not require further review by the ACEC
  • if conducting research in collaboration with another institution, follow procedures that ensure compliance with sections of the Code relating to collaboration.

4.3 Biosafety

4.3.1 All those under the scope of this policy conducting research involving biological hazards such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), pathogens, ionising radiation, cytotoxic substances and imported biological materials must:

  • comply fully with the requirements of the Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) under the Gene Technology Act 2000 (Cwlth) or any replacement or amendment
  • understand and comply with the university’s Guidelines for Research Biosafety (Staff Connect)
  • seek approval from the UTS Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) for any research associated with the importation, storage, use and/or disposal of biological hazards and imported biological materials.

4.4 Clinical trials

4.4.1 All those under the scope of this policy conducting research involving innovations, interventions and therapies, including clinical and non-clinical trials, must:

  • comply fully with the requirements of the National Statement or any replacement or amendment
  • clinical trials of medicines and medical devices also must comply with the Note for guidance on good clinical practice (CMP/ICH/135/95, Therapeutic Goods Administration)
  • understand and comply with the university’s Guidelines for Clinical Trials (Staff Connect)
  • seek approval from the UTS Clinical Trials Sub-Committee (CTSC) for all research involving innovations, interventions and therapies, including clinical and non-clinical trials.

4.5 Management of research data and primary materials

4.5.1 Researchers are responsible for the collection, management, storage, retention and disposal of any research data, primary materials and records used or created in the conduct of a research project, particularly in relation to human participants or animals. The Research Management Policy governs all research, including research data management at UTS. Specific requirements around the protection of human data are outlined in the university’s Guidelines for Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Human Participants (Staff Connect).

4.6 Conflicts of interest

4.6.1 All those under the scope of this policy are expected to disclose and manage any actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest in research may include financial conflicts but may also include personal and professional conflicts as well as matters of institutional advantage.

4.6.2 The Code of Conduct governs the management of conflicts of interest at UTS.

4.7 Managing complaints and potential breaches

4.7.1 All those under the scope of this policy are expected to follow the applicable instruments for managing complaints.

  • Concerns or complaints around workplace behaviour or researcher conduct should be resolved in accordance with the Code of Conduct (for conduct involving staff and affiliates) or (for conduct involving students).
  • Concerns or complaints relating to ethics or biosafety should be resolved in accordance with the relevant the university’s Research Ethics and Integrity Guidelines (Staff Connect).
  • Concerns or complaints relating to research integrity, including potential breaches of this policy and/or the Code, should be resolved in accordance with the university’s Guidelines for Research Integrity Breaches (Staff Connect) (for occurrences involving staff) or section 16, Student Rules (for occurrences involving students).

4.7.2 In managing formal complaints regarding integrity breaches, the university is responsible for:

  • developing and maintaining suitable processes for investigating complaints
  • training those involved in the investigation process, including Research Integrity Advisers
  • determining whether or not there is any substance to any allegation and, if so, assessing the extent to which the principles and responsibilities outlined in the Code and UTS policies have been breached
  • determining the extent to which research participants, animals, the wider community and the environment are or may be affected by any potential breach
  • whether there were any extenuating or mitigating circumstances surrounding any potential breach, such as the level of experience of the researcher, whether the behaviour was accidental or intentional or whether there has been a pattern of similar breaches or unacceptable behaviour by the researcher.

4.7.3 Procedures for raising and managing allegations of research integrity breaches by UTS staff are outlined in the university’s Guidelines for Research Integrity Breaches (Staff Connect).

5. Policy ownership and support

The roles and responsibilities in this policy are consistent with the Delegations.

5.1 Policy owner

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) is responsible for policy enforcement and compliance, ensuring that its principles and statements are observed, and for the approval of any associated university-level procedures. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) is also the UTS designated officer for handling research integrity breaches, as defined in the Code.

5.2 Policy contacts

The Manager, Research Integrity and Research Programs and the Director, Research and Innovation Office (RIO) are responsible for the implementation of this policy, acting as primary points of contact for advice on implementing its provisions.

The Manager, Research Integrity and Research Programs is responsible for maintaining the official file, proposing amendments as required and managing the consultation process when these parts of the policy are due for review.

Other roles

Deans, Associate Deans (Research) and institute and centre directors are all responsible for managing their unit’s accountabilities under this policy, and for promoting the awareness of policies and guidelines related to research ethics and integrity.

6. Definitions

Definitions in this policy, the Research Management Policy and Schedule 1, Student Rules apply for this policy and all associated procedures.

Designated officer is the ‘designated person’ as defined in the Code. The designated officer is responsible for receipt and management of formal complaints of research integrity breaches.

Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) is a committee constituted in accordance with the National Statement to review and, where appropriate, approve and monitor the ethical and scientific aspects of human research studies.

Research, for the purposes of this policy, has the same meaning as used by both the Code and the National Statement, which define research as ‘original investigation undertaken to gain knowledge, insight and understanding’.

Research Integrity Adviser (Adviser): This role supports researchers through the provision of guidance in relation to the proper conduct of research, and advice for anyone who is unsure about a research conduct issue and may be considering whether to make an allegation of a breach of research integrity. The role does not extend to investigating an allegation, contacting the subject(s) of the allegation or advising on matters where there is a conflict of interest.

Approval information and management

Policy contact Director, Research and Innovation Office (RIO)
Approval authority Academic Board
Review year 2021
Version 1.0
File number UR17/3691
Superseded documents Biosafety in Research Vice-Chancellor’s Directive (file: UR14/347)
Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Animals Vice-Chancellor’s Directive (file: UR14/346)
Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Human Participants Vice-Chancellor’s Directive (file: UR14/345)
Research Misconduct Vice-Chancellor’s Directive (file: UR15/255)
Responsible Conduct of Research Policy (file: UR10/620)

Version history

Version Approved by Approval date Effective date Sections modified
1.0 Academic Board (AB/17-2/35) 7 June 2017 1 January 2018 New policy.

PDF version

Research Ethics and Integrity Policy (PDF)

References

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code)

Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes

Code of Conduct

Gene Technology Act 2000 (Cwlth)

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) (National Statement)

Research guidelines (Staff Connect):

  • Animal Ethics
  • Clinical Trials
  • Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Human Participants
  • Research Biosafety
  • Research Ethics and Integrity
  • Research Integrity Breaches

Research Management Policy

Student Rules: section 16, Schedule 1

Therapeutic Goods Administration’s note for guidance on good clinical practice (CMP/ICH/135/95)

Additional reading

Research students (Staff Connect)