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

ID: 
50
Personal Details
First Name: 
Phillip
Last Name: 
Eastment
Specific comments
Specific comments: 
Preamble in Code

The Preamble states that "It establishes a framework for the responsible research conduct...."  This is not the case.  The Code establishes a set of principles and responsibilities in an aspirational context.  The institutional requirement is to establish a framework to operationalise these principles and responsibilities.  Therefore I think this is an erroneous statement.

4th Paragraph:  By explicitly stating that "Compliance with this Code is a prerequisite for receipt of National Health and Medical Research Council and Australian Research Council Funding" this opens the door for a limitation to the authority of the document.  If research is carried out without funding the rsearchers may invisage that they do not need to abide with the Code.

Responsibilities for Researchers in Code

Preamble - 4th Paragraph:  By explicitly stating that "Compliance with this Code is a prerequisite for receipt of National Health and Medical Research Council and Australian Research Council Funding" this opens the door for a limitation to the authority of the document.  If research is carried out without funding the rsearchers may invisage that they do not need to abide with the Code.

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?: 
The principles based document provides further scope for interpretation of the ideals. Interpretation can lead to misunderstanding of the principle and if this interpretation is across differing institutions there may be differences in opinion or conceptual ideals. The guides will be the key to supporting the "Code". It is difficult to fully understand the Guides connection to the code without seeing them in full.
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?: 
There is clarity in the simplicity of the approach until there is a need to drill down into specific issues. Authorship is a complex problem that many people struggle with so the simplicity can lead to different interpretations on specific matters.
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.: 
Not sure if this has been tested or put through a legal precedence. It would be good to know the process under which this wad developed.
Question 4: Do you think the process described for investigating and managing potential breaches of the Code is clearly described and practical?: 
Large organisations would have the ability to adapt more easily than the smaller organisations. In our organisation the Designated officer and the Assessment officer are one and the same. We would require a structural change in our existing processes to incorporate this change.
Question 5: The Code Review Committee and working group are considering what additional resources should be developed to support implementation of the Code and Guide.: 
Yes
Question 6: Are the mechanisms for review of an investigation clearly and correctly described in Section 7.6 of the Guide? If not, where are the inaccuracies?: 
Yes
Question 7: Please comment on which three topics you would nominate as being the highest priority and why.: 
authorship, data management, collaborative research. These are the priorities at our institution. Has any thought been given to the use of Social Medial and or other digital platforms and their impact on research?

Page reviewed: 17 September, 2018