NHMRC Public Consultations

Skip Navigation and go to Content
Visit NHMRC website

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

Personal Details
This submission reflects the views of
Organisation Name: 
James Cook University
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?: 
James Cook University agrees that the principles-based document (similar to the approach of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, 2007 and the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes, 8th edition, 2013), provides a clear understanding of the requirements of all aspects of research activity conducted by researchers and institutions. We welcome the guides that will accompany the Code and believe that these would be especially useful to JCU, and in the training of researchers in research conduct.
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?: 
We believe the draft Code is adequate to capture all research disciplines. It would be useful, though, if the best practice guide on data management includes management of qualitative data.
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.: 
The guidance on breaches of the Code is clear and implementable. Institutions have the choice to define research misconduct if they so wish in their policies and processes of investigation. The examples of what would be considered misconduct are also very useful as a practical guide for implementation. The implementation in relation to individual Enterprise Agreements will be where the hard work will need to be done.
Question 4: Do you think the process described for investigating and managing potential breaches of the Code is clearly described and practical?: 
The process described for investigating and managing potential breaches of the Code is clearly described and practical. The flow charts and description of “institutional roles” in the process, when adopted by institutions, will enhance the transparency of the investigation and ensure compliance with the principles of procedural fairness.
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.: 
Additional resources would be welcomed to support Code implementation. Case studies of research misconduct describing how the investigation was conducted and how the institutional roles outlined in the Code practically participated in the investigation would be very useful.
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?: 
The JCU Enterprise Agreement does not allow for an appeals process of a serious misconduct investigation. This may also be the case with other institutions in the sector. The respondent may appeal through the jurisdiction of any external court or tribunal which is competent to deal with the matter (e.g. Federal Court, Fair Work Commission and Australian Research Integrity Committee.)
Question 7: Please comment on which three topics you would nominate as being the highest priority and why.: 
JCU agrees that the guides on data management and authorship should be the first to be released to support the Code. We would also welcome guides for: 1. Strategies to encourage compliance 2. Supervision 3. Research integrity advisors

Page reviewed: 17 September, 2018