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Review of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research Submission

ID: 
9
Personal Details
First Name: 
Anthony
Last Name: 
Jorm
Specific comments
Specific comments: 
Specific consultation questions
Question 1: Do you like the new approach to the Code, namely the principles-based document being supported by several guides that provide advice on implementation?: 
I think they would be better published as a single document. The principles are very general and not much of a guide for researchers unless the more specific guidance is published with them.
Question 2:The draft Code is intended to be used by all research disciplines. Do the principles adequately capture the expectations for responsible research across all research disciplines?: 
Speaking for my own area of research, they do.
Question 3: The draft Guide refers to breaches of the Code rather than providing a definition of research misconduct, and states that institutions can decide whether or not to use the term research misconduct in their own processes.: 
I think the problem is that the term "breach" ends up covering such a wide spectrum. However, the use of the descriptors "minor" and "major" somewhat overcomes this.
Question 4: Do you think the process described for investigating and managing potential breaches of the Code is clearly described and practical?: 
The responsibility for managing potential breaches is left with the institution. However, I don't think institutions are neutral bodies in this regard. They will be influenced by the need to maintain their public reputation. I think they always have a potential conflict of interest in investigating matters that may reflect on the institution adversely. There needs to be a mechanism that allows breaches at the severe end of the spectrum to be referred to an independent office of research integrity.
Question 7: Please comment on which three topics you would nominate as being the highest priority and why.: 
I think topics that involve most research projects should be the priority rather than topics that affect only some. My priorities are: authorship, data management and peer review.

Page reviewed: 17 September, 2018