Research misconduct

Research misconduct

48. RESEARCH MISCONDUCT

Introduction

48.1   The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018, (the Code) sets the standards for the responsible practice of research in Australia. It articulates the broad principles that characterise an honest, ethical and conscientious research culture. The framework and standards for responsible research conduct which are outlined in the Code apply to all research conducted in Australia or research conducted under the auspices of an Australian institution. The Macquarie University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Macquarie Research Code) prescribes how the standards of the Code will be applied by the University and the related procedure outlines the process for handling alleged breaches of these standards.

Application

48.2   This clause will apply to all Staff Members, excluding Casual Staff Members.

48.3   In the case of an alleged Breach/Serious Breach of the Code or alleged Research Misconduct by a Staff Member, the University will follow the process set out in the Macquarie Research Code. For the avoidance of doubt, the procedures under clause 47, Misconduct and Serious Misconduct, do not apply when dealing with an alleged Breach/Serious Breach of the Code or alleged Research Misconduct.

48.4   Where there is ambiguity as to whether the procedures in this clause 48 or clause 47, Misconduct and Serious Misconduct should apply, the Director, Human Resources will consult with the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity and Development) and agree which process should apply and to avoid duplication. If, during the process, it becomes apparent that the alternate process is more applicable, the University may adopt the alternate process and steps taken under the first process will be recognised in the second process.

Definitions

In this clause, the following definitions apply:

48.5   Code means the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018, and related guide, published jointly by the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council and Universities Australia.

48.6   Macquarie Research Code means the Macquarie University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and related procedure (as amended from time to time) detailing how alleged breaches or Research Misconduct will be managed and investigated.

48.7   Breach of the Code means a failure to meet the principles and responsibilities of researchers in conducting research described in the Code. Examples of breaches are included in Schedule 6, Extract from the Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018.

48.8   Serious Breach of the Code means a Breach of the Code which is more serious, having regard to one or more of the following factors:

(a) the extent of the departure from accepted practice;

(b) the extent to which research participants, the wider community, animals and the environment are, or may have been, affected by the breach;

(c) the extent to which it affects the trustworthiness of the research;

(d) the level of experience of the researcher;

(e) whether there are repeated breaches by the researcher;

(f) whether institutional failures have contributed to the breach;

(g) any other mitigating or aggravating factors.

48.9   Research Misconduct means a Serious Breach of the Code which is also intentional or reckless or negligent.

48.10  Corrective Action means:

(a) steps required to correct the research record (for example, issuing a corrigendum, retracting a publication or altering the authorship ascription);

(b) temporary suspension of a research project and/or suspension of project funds;

(c) responsible conduct of research education or training; and/or

(d) counselling or guidance.

48.11   Disciplinary Action means:

(a) counselling;

(b) written warning;

(c) formal censure;

(d) withholding of an increment;

(e) varying the Staff Member's duties/removing any Administrative position;

(f) demotion by one or more classification levels or increments; and/or

(g) termination of employment.

Taking Corrective Action for Breaches of the Code

48.12  The University may take Corrective Action for Breaches of the Code in accordance with the process set out in the Macquarie Research Code.

Taking Disciplinary Action for Serious Breaches of the Code or Research Misconduct

48.13   The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) (DVCR) may take Disciplinary Action against a Staff Member for a Serious Breach of the Code or Research Misconduct provided that:

(a) an investigation process has been conducted in accordance with the Macquarie Research Code. In cases of alleged Serious Breach of the Code, this may involve a single investigator or a panel investigation. In cases of alleged Research Misconduct, this will involve a panel investigation. The investigator, chair of the panel investigation or Director, Research Ethics and Integrity will meet with the Staff Member (and their Representative if they choose) to discuss how the investigation process will proceed;

(b) during that investigation process or panel investigation process, the Staff Member (and their Representative if they choose) have had a reasonable opportunity to:

(i)  respond to the allegations;

(ii)   make submissions and present evidence;

(iii)  respond to any evidence; and

(iv)  where a panel investigation process applies, appear before the investigation panel.

(c)   the investigator or panel has determined that the Staff Member has engaged in a Serious Breach of the Code or Research Misconduct.

48.14   Where it is determined that an investigation panel is required, the University will consider nominations from the relevant Unions for suitably qualified and experienced staff members to be available for appointment by the University as panel members or Chair.

Decision of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) in relation to Disciplinary Action

48.15   Before taking Disciplinary Action for a Serious Breach of the Code or Research Misconduct, the DVCR will:

(a) advise the Staff Member of the decision regarding what Disciplinary Action, if any, is proposed to be taken;

(b) if any Disciplinary Action is proposed to be taken, invite the Staff Member to advise in writing, within 5 working days, any matters that they want the DVCR to take into account in making a decision about what disciplinary action is to be taken; and

(c) consider any matters brought to their attention by the Staff Member when deciding what, if any, Disciplinary Action should be taken.

48.16   In determining the type and seriousness of Disciplinary Action to be taken, the DVCR will consider the nature and seriousness of the conduct. Termination of employment and Demotion may only apply in cases of Research Misconduct or where there is a repeated incident of Serious Breach of the Code.

48.17  The DVCR may also take Corrective Action in cases of Serious Breach of the Code or Research Misconduct following an investigation process conducted in accordance with the process set out in the Macquarie Research Code.

48.18   The DVCR will advise the Staff Member of the decision about what Disciplinary Action and/or Corrective Action is to be taken and of the operative date.

Other Matters

48.19   This clause in no way constrains the University from carrying out other or further investigations relating to the consequences of conduct of a Staff Member or former Staff Member when required in the public interest.

48.20   The action of the Director, Human Resources and the DVCR under this clause will be final. However, this clause does not exclude the jurisdiction of any external tribunal that would be competent to deal with the matter.

Suspension pending a panel investigation process

48.21   The Director, Human Resources may refer an alleged Breach/Serious Breach of the Code or Research Misconduct to the Vice-Chancellor for consideration as to whether the Staff Member’s employment should be suspended. If the alleged conduct is referred to the Vice-Chancellor under this clause, the Vice-Chancellor may, at any time suspend the Staff Member with or without pay for the period during which the proceedings are followed.

48.22   In circumstances where a Staff Member is suspended with pay, the Vice-Chancellor will issue directions regarding whether the suspension relates to:

(a) all duties; or

(b) specified duties, including adjustments to the way specified duties may be carried out.

48.22   If a Staff Member is suspended without pay then the Staff Member may access any available annual or long service leave entitlement or (with the permission of the University) undertake other paid employment.

Notice Periods

48.23   Where, in accordance with sub-clause 48.15, the DVCR decides to terminate the employment of a Staff Member, notice or payment in lieu of notice will be as provided in clause 53, Termination of Employment.

48.24   Payment in lieu of notice of termination will be made if the University does not require the person to work out the notice period. Where the Staff Member is only required to work part of the notice period, the University will pay out the remainder of the notice period.

48.25   Any payments in lieu of notice will be based on the Staff Member's salary at the date of termination of employment.

48.26   In instances of termination of employment as a result of Research Misconduct involving suspension without pay, there will be no requirement for the notice of termination prescribed in this Agreement.

Back to the top of this page