Policy Redesign Project

All policies and procedures are being reviewed as part of this project. This document is pending review, but remains in effect until the review is carried out.

Responsible Conduct of Research Policy


Academic Senate, 29 June 2016

Last Amended:


Nature of Amendment:


Last Reviewed:


Responsible Officer:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

1.  Scope and Objectives

1.1  To establish a framework for the responsible conduct of high quality research that upholds and complies with the principles set out in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code).

1.2  This policy should be read in conjunction with the Code.

1.3  This policy applies to all researchers conducting research under the auspices of Flinders University, including staff, students and affiliates.

2.  Definitions

Research as defined in accordance with the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) Specifications means the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it is new and creative. This definition of research is consistent with a broad notion of research and development, one that recognises research as comprising creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humanity, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise applications.

Researcher means any individual who is engaged in research, as defined above, under the auspices of Flinders University, including staff, students and affiliates.

The Code means the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

3.  Policy Principles

3.1  Overview

3.1.1  The University will encourage and guide a strong research culture that will demonstrate:

  • honesty, integrity, ethical conduct and accountability;
  • respect for human research participants, animals and the environment;
  • good stewardship of public resources used to conduct research;
  • appropriate acknowledgement of authors and other participants in research;
  • appropriate standards of record keeping and data storage; and
  • responsible communication of research results.

3.1.2   The University will support the responsible conduct of research by:

  • promoting awareness of relevant legislation and guidelines relating to research conduct;
  • establishing clear policies and procedures based on the Code;
  • actively encouraging mutual cooperation with open exchange of ideas between peers, and respect for freedom of expression and inquiry; and
  • maintaining an environment in which responsible and ethical behaviour in research is expected.

3.2  Research Funding

3.2.1   Researchers must submit all applications for external research funding through the Research Services Office in accordance with relevant guidelines and procedures. All relevant documentation must be provided and all formal funding agreements must be provided for signing by the University’s authorised delegate. Applications to funding bodies that have not specified a requirement for formal University authorisation are not exceptions to this requirement.  

3.2.2   All externally funded research will be fully costed using costing guidance and tools to be made available by the Research Services Office.

3.2.3   Researchers must comply with all conditions specified by funding bodies with regard to their research.

3.3  Research Integrity

3.3.1  Conflicts of interest may arise from time to time but researchers must ensure that such conflicts are acknowledged and disclosed, and that appropriate steps are taken to manage them. Researchers must comply with the requirements of the University’s Conflict of Interest Policy and should seek guidance from the relevant section of the Code.

3.3.2   Respect for participants is fundamental to all research undertaken by Flinders researchers. This includes both human and animal participants. Researchers must comply with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (current edition), the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (current edition), and relevant legislation.

3.3.3   Researchers must seek approval from human and animal ethics committees as required, and may only commence a relevant research activity after final ethics committee approval for that activity has been received.  

3.3.4  The University is committed to a positive, productive, supportive and respectful relationship with Indigenous Australians, cultures and communities. Flinders researchers must exercise sensitivity in any research associated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Researchers can seek guidance from the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

3.3.5  Where appropriate, the University encourages and supports consumer involvement in research in line with the principles set out in the Statement on Consumer and Community Participation in Health and Medical Research.

3.4  Research Misconduct

In order to ensure the continued integrity of research at Flinders, the University will maintain appropriate and rigorous mechanisms for responding to allegations concerning breaches of the Code or research misconduct. All staff and students must comply with the provisions set out in the University’s Research Misconduct Policy and associated procedures.

3.5  Safety

3.5.1  The University will ensure that a safe work environment is provided for the conduct of research. All researchers must comply with the University’s Work Health and Safety Policies and Procedures. Where a research project may involve significant hazards, for example hazardous chemicals, advice should be sought from the Dean of School and, where appropriate, the Work Health and Safety Unit.

3.5.2   Research projects involving radiation or radioactive materials must be conducted according to relevant State legislation and the University's Ionising Radiation Safety Policy. Proposals in this regard must be submitted to the Radiation Safety Officer in the Work Health and Safety Unit.

3.5.3   Researchers working with gene technology, including genetically-modified organisms, and in relevant areas of microbiological research, must seek approval from the University's Institutional Biosafety Committee, and will only commence their relevant research after final approval has been received.

3.5.4   When dealing with quarantine status material, researchers have a responsibility to comply with the Biosecurity Act 2015, and all associated regulatory requirements, before and after the importation or exportation of materials. Researchers wishing to import materials from overseas should determine whether they require an Import Permit from the relevant Commonwealth Government agency.

3.5.5   Researchers must comply with their responsibilities under the Customs Act 1901 and the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958, the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995, the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 and the Defence Trade Controls Amendment Bill 2015, and any other relevant legislation, with regard to the export, supply, brokering and publication of goods, software and technology listed in the Defence and Strategic Goods List.

3.6  Training and Supervision

The University acknowledges the importance of appropriate mentoring, supervision and training of research trainees for the promotion of a research culture that demonstrates excellence, integrity, respect and recognition. All research trainees (Honours students, Higher Degrees by Research students and early career researchers) and their supervisors must comply with relevant University policies and procedures as well as relevant legislation and the Code.

3.7  Collaborative Research

3.7.1  Collaborative research within the University, between institutions and across borders gives rise to a range of issues such as authorship, ownership of intellectual property, conflicts of interest and commercialisation of findings. There should be agreement on such matters at the outset of the collaboration and arrangements must be consistent with relevant University policies and procedures as well as relevant legislation and codes of practice.  

3.7.2  All agreements between Flinders researchers and partners, collaborators or sponsors must be clearly articulated in writing and be executed in accordance with University policy regarding the exercise of contractual authority.  

3.8  Management of Research Data and Primary Materials

Researchers must comply with the requirements of the University’s Management of Research Data and Primary Materials Policy, as well as relevant legislation and relevant sections of the Code.

3.9  Publication, Authorship and Peer Review

The University’s expectations relating to publication and dissemination of research findings, the authorship of research publications, and peer review as it relates to the conduct of research, are set out in the Research Publication, Authorship and Peer Review Policy. Researchers must comply with the requirements of this policy and relevant sections of the Code.

3.10  Commercialisation

Research conducted for commercial purposes, or research that is to be commercialised or conducted under a contractual arrangement, must be conducted in accordance with relevant University policies and procedures, including the Intellectual Property Policy and Procedures Relating to Student Intellectual Property, Confidentiality and Contractual Agreements.

4.  Responsibilities

4.1  The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) is responsible for oversight of research at Flinders and ensuring that University policies and procedures relating to the conduct of research are promulgated and implemented.

4.2  Researchers are responsible for conducting research in accordance with the Code, relevant legislative and regulatory requirements, and all relevant University policies and procedures.

4.3  Executive Deans, School Deans and the Research Services Office are responsible for promoting and facilitating the expectations regarding the responsible conduct of research set out in this policy and associated University policies and procedures.

5. Supporting Documents

Research Misconduct Policy

Management of Research Data and Primary Materials Policy

Research Publication, Authorship and Peer Review Policy