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Working with others

At ECU, our approach to Research Integrity and meeting the principles and responsibilities of the Australian Code, is addressed through three components of world class research and underpinned by three supporting structures. ‘Working with others’ is a key component of this approach and encompasses:

  • Ethics;
  • Supervision;
  • Authorship;
  • Collaboration; and
  • Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Under the Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code), researchers have the responsibility to:

  • Comply with the relevant laws, regulations, disciplinary standards, ethics guidelines and institutional policies related to responsible research conduct. Ensure that appropriate approvals are obtained prior to the commencement of research, and that conditions of any approvals are adhered to during the course of research (R17);
  • Ensure that the ethics principles of research merit and integrity, justice, beneficence and respect are applied to human research (R18); and
  • Ensure that the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) are considered at all stages of research involving animals and minimise the impacts on animals used in research and in so doing support the welfare and wellbeing of these animals.

The conduct of research activities involving human or animal participants is governed by ethics guidelines contained in legislation and policies. The central objectives of ECU’s research ethics arrangements are to nurture ethical conduct and facilitate quality research. This is achieved by resourcing the reflective practice of ECU’s research.

The foundation of reflective practice is that ethical challenges and questions that arise in human research rarely produce a single answer that would be correct for every project. The specifics of the discipline, methodology, research question and research topic, the potential participant pool and contextual factors such as the location of a project and the experience of the researcher necessitate a more nuanced approach.

All research undertaken at ECU must be tested through the Research Ethics Management System (REMS) to establish the level of ethical review required to ensure principles of research merit and integrity, justice, beneficence and respect are met and to ensure all ECU research is aligned with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. Researchers must also comply with the suite of policies, procedures and practices for responsible research conduct, any funding agreements, funding rules or guidelines along with any agreements in place for unfunded research.

All research involving animals requires an ethics application to be made through STREAM to seek research ethics review to ensure the 3Rs are considered at all stages, impact on animals is minimised, the welfare of animals is supported and research is aligned with the Animal Welfare Act 2002 and Code and Australian Code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.

The research ethics website contains the policies, guidance, information and resources to support researchers in navigating the ethics process at ECU.

The Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research requires researchers to ‘Provide guidance and mentorship on responsible research conduct to other researchers or research trainees under their supervision and, where appropriate, monitor their conduct (R15)’ (NHMRC 2018). Further information is provided through ‘Supervision; a supporting guide’ which aims to ensure that institutions, supervisors and research trainees understand their obligations and work together to promote the responsible conduct of research.

This guidance advises that researchers in supervisory roles have responsibilities to:

  • Provide support;
  • Ensure supervisory arrangements; and
  • Engage in relevant training.

Researchers under supervision have a responsibility to:

  • demonstrate a professional attitude towards their research;
  • work cooperatively with their supervisors;
  • complete all training in a timely manner, and induction courses as soon as possible after they commence their research roles; and
  • take an active role in their own professional development by enrolling and participating in all appropriate ongoing and refresher training, and by seeking out other relevant training opportunities.

When supporting, mentoring, managing or supervising other researchers, ECU staff will provide guidance and mentorship on responsible research conduct and will engage with the policies, procedures and practices that support research integrity.  Information for supervisors is available through the GRS webpages and includes access, information and support on the supervisor induction and refresher training, supervising off campus candidates and the supervisor handbook and toolkit.

Useful Information

The Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research requires researchers to:

  • ‘Ensure that authors of research outputs are all those, and only those, who have made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to the research and its output, and that they agree to be listed as an author’ (R25); and
  • Acknowledge those who have contributed to the research (R26).

Further information is provided through ‘Authorship; a supporting guide’ which aims to facilitate the recognition of significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to a research output and reflect that authorship.

This guidance advises the responsibilities researchers have in relation to authorship are:

  • Ensure appropriate and fair attribution of authorship;
  • Formalise authorship arrangements; and
  • Acknowledge contributions other than authorship.

Researchers will apply the principles from the ECU Authorship, Publication of Research, and Peer Review policy that facilitates the recognition of significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to a research output and reflect that authorship:

  • must be an honest reflection of contribution to research;
  • must be assigned fairly, and consistently with established disciplinary practice; and
  • must be communicated clearly and transparently between contributors to the research.

Researchers may find it useful to use the ECU Statement of Authorship form to prompt discussions between researchers at an early stage in a project, and reviewed whenever there are changes in participation and/or the content of the publication.

Useful Information

Authorship; a supporting guide to the Code

The Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research requires researchers to ‘Comply with the relevant laws, regulations, disciplinary standards, ethics guidelines and institutional policies related to responsible research conduct. Ensure that appropriate approvals are obtained prior to the commencement of research, and that conditions of any approvals are adhered to during the course of research.’ (R17) (NHMRC 2018). Further information is provided through ‘Collaboration; a supporting guide’ which aims to assist in meeting the requirements of the code when they are engaged in collaborative research with other Australian and/or international researchers and research institutions.

This guidance advises the responsibilities researchers have in relation to collaboration are to:

  • Develop and monitor collaborative research agreements;
  • Comply with multi-institutional agreements and relevant institutional policies; and
  • Conduct research responsibly and report potential breaches of the agreement.

For more information to support research collaborations including institutional approvals and research agreements, please see the responsible research webpage.

The Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code) requires researchers to ‘Engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and respect their legal rights and local laws, customs and protocols.’ (R19)

The Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and  communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders (NHMRC, 2018) sets out the six core values; spirit and integrity, cultural continuity, equity, reciprocity, respect, and responsibility which are important to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. They ensure all human research undertaken with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities:

  • respects the shared values of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • is relevant for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander priorities, needs and aspirations
  • develops long-term ethical relationships among researchers, institutions and sponsors
  • develops best practice ethical standards of research.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research has great scope to improve services and outcomes for peoples and communities. Appropriate preparation and planning in collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and community-controlled organisations, can ensure that research projects respect shared values as well as diversity, priorities, needs, and aspirations of communities.

ECU has a responsibility to ensure we facilitate ethical research that engages and recognises indigenous participants as part of the research journey.

Useful Information

Working With Others: Ethics; Supervision; Authorship; Collaboration; Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.Research Services are continuing to develop this ‘working with others’ domain which includes:

Further information will become available throughout the year, however in the meantime if you wish to discuss further, please contact:

Research Integrity & Data Coordinator
Claire Blankley
Email: c.blankley@ecu.edu.au

Manager, Research Governance
Stacey Waters
Email: Stacey.waters@ecu.edu.au

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