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Responsible research

An important part of your training as a doctoral or masters by research student is learning what it means to conduct research in a responsible and ethically sound way.

It may feel like common sense, but it's important that you're aware of and abide by the national and local policies and guidelines that govern your conduct as a researcher.

Conducting responsible research covers:

  • maintaining ethical standards and intellectual honesty;
  • undertaking the collection and reporting of data in a valid and accurate manner;
  • managing, storing and retaining data responsibly;
  • avoiding conflict of interest;
  • following Occupational Health and Safety and risk guidelines for your discipline;
  • abiding by guidelines on authorship and publishing; and
  • recognising and acknowledging copyright, intellectual property and technical/editing assistance.

If you're not clear on any of the above points, or unsure about how it applies to your research, seek help from your supervisors, School Higher Degree by Research Coordinators or Ethics Officers.

GRIP Module 7: Responsible Research also provides some useful advice and resources on this topic. See the Accessing GRIP web page for login instructions.

Ethics approval

Part of your training in this area involves applying for ethics approval for your research.

During the development of your ethics application you'll need to consult a range of rules, policies and guidelines to ensure that your research design and protocols for data collection and analysis are ethically sound. For more information about this see the policy Responsible Research Conduct and visit the Ethics and Research website.

Code for Responsible Research

The central framework governing research integrity at the national level is the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

The code has been developed jointly by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council and Universities Australia and it has relevance across all research disciplines.

The code guides institutions and researchers in the responsible conduct of research and also explains the rights and responsibilities of researchers who witness research misconduct.  It includes guidance on how to:

  • manage research data and materials;
  • publish and disseminate research findings, including proper attribution of authorship;
  • conduct effective peer review; and
  • manage conflicts of interest.

Members of the University undertaking research are required to be aware of the provisions of the Code, relevant University policies and guidelines governing responsible practice in research. You should refer to the Research Integrity web page for the full set of policies and associated codes, regulations and guidelines.

Research related to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples

If your research involves Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander issues, people or knowledge or might impact on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people or communities you should refer to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resources and Support web page. It is recommended that you consult these protocols early in your research project and refer back to them from time to time.

Research and Sanctions

Students from sanctioned countries need to be aware that their intended HDR topics may not breach UNSC or Australian Autonomous sanctions. Students from sanctioned countries should discuss the sanctions that may apply with their supervisors prior to agreeing on a particular research topic. You should refer to the Sanctions web page for further information.

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