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.