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Promoting research ethics and integrity - an international perspective


Promoting research ethics and integrity - an international perspective Dr Paul Taylor Manager, Research Ethics and Integrity Melbourne Research Office – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Promoting research ethics and integrity - an international perspective

Promoting research ethics and integrity - an
international perspective
Dr Paul Taylor Manager, Research Ethics and
Integrity Melbourne Research Office pmt_at_unimelb.ed, 42047
  • About the University
  • Guidelines and Regulations Downunder
  • Our approach
  • Challenges

About the University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne
  • Established 1853
  • 11 Faculties/Graduate Schools
  • 45,569 Students (Aug 2009)
  • 37.9 Postgraduate Students
  • 26.4 International Students
  • 10.2 RHD Students
  • 7,326 Staff

Academic Structure
  • Faculties and Graduate Schools
  • ? Architecture, Building and Planning
  • ? Arts
  • ? Economics and Commerce
  • ? Education
  • ? Engineering
  • ? Land and Environment
  • ? Law
  • ? Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
  • Science
  • VCA and Music
  • ? Veterinary Science
  • Melbourne Business School
  • Melbourne School of Graduate Research

Research income and rankings
  • In 2008, research income 382.5M and expenditure
    of 653.7M (total budget approaching 1.5B)
  • Second largest RD organisation in Australia,
    behind CSIRO
  • Ranked 73 in SJTI 2008 36 in THES 2009
  • second in Australia
  • Ambition to be top 50
  • Member of Go8

  • One of 16 Universities to be ranked in top 30
    across all disciplines (THES)
  • One of 2 in the Asia-Pacific (University of Tokyo)

Melbourne Research Office - Supporting Research
Research Office
  • operational and strategic support to researchers
    and University management
  • close working relationship Melbourne Ventures,
    Legal Services, Melbourne School of Graduate
  • four groups
  • Grants and Contracts
  • Research Performance and Analysis (ERA)
  • Research Systems
  • Research Ethics and Integrity

Research ethics and integrity group
  • responsibilities across
  • Codes of Conduct for Research/research integrity
    (up to 1.0 FTE)
  • research disputes and misconduct
  • human research ethics (3.8 EFT)
  • animal ethics and welfare (3 1 EFT)
  • gene technology and biosafety (1.0 - 2.0 EFT)
  • directly involved in providing advice to
    applicants, departments, senior University
  • strategic and operational - how do I dispose of
    an unidentified pathogen? how should the EA be
    changed to accommodate funding requirements?
    should the University still work with non-human

  • Research disputes/misconduct ?
  • Human research ethics 1800
  • Animal ethics 700
  • Gene tech and biosafety 350150
  • kind of busy

Cultural exchange 1
  • someone yorright?
  • me do I look unwell?, or
  • am I bleeding from somewhere?, or
  • yep
  • advice welcome

Rules and regulations Downunder
Part A advocates and describes best practice for
both institutions and researchers. Part B is
designed to ensure there are agreed, fair and
effective processes in place in the event of an
allegation of misconduct
Research misconduct
  • 10.1
  • Research misconduct includes fabrication,
    falsification, plagiarism or deception in
    proposing, carrying out or reporting the results
    of research , and failure to declare or manage a
    serious conflict of interest. It includes
    avoidable failure to follow research proposals as
    approved by a research ethics committee,
    particularly where this failure may result in
    unreasonable risk or harm to humans, animals or
    the environment. It also includes the willful
    concealment or facilitation of research
    misconduct by others

Research misconduct
  • 10.1
  • .relates to misconduct if it involves all of
    the following
  • an alleged breach of the Code
  • intent and deliberation, recklessness or gross
    and persistent negligence
  • serious consequences, such as false information
    on the public record, or adverse effects on
    research participants, animals or the
  • Repeated or continuing breaches of the Code may
    also constitute misconduct
  • Honest differences in judgment or errors made
    unintentionally do not

  • critical - majority of complaints
  • must have made significant contribution by
  • conception and design of the project
  • analysis and interpretation of the data
  • drafting substantial parts of the publication or
    critically revising it so as to change the
  • not for providing materials, collecting data, or
    by virtue of relationship or position (ghost or
    honorary authorships)
  • discuss authorship and acknowledgments prior to
    starting research

Research Data and Records Management
  • critical
  • challenging - range of materials, sheer volume
  • research data vs research records
  • ACRCR and University policy says
  • at least 5 years from date of last publication
  • data register required
  • data management plan recommended
  • schedule and authorisation for disposal

Other areas covered
  • Supervision of research trainees
  • Conflict of interest
  • Peer review
  • Collaborations
  • Publications and dissemination of results

Cultural exchange 2
  • someone give us a squiz
  • you no, thanks, or
  • call the police!!
  • really being asked may I please have a look?
  • no need for concern
  • similar to howya gointhis is not an enquiry
    about a mode of transportation

Our approach
Expectations of the General Public
Publications, posters and conferences
Actually doing research!
Knowledge transfer, IP and commercialisation
Expectations of the Research Community
Rules and Regulations
Teaching and supervision
Departmental repsonsibilities
Personal Integrity
  • personal integrity
  • honesty
  • trustworthiness
  • lawfulness
  • respect

Research Integrity
  • like any community, there are generally accepted
    standards of practice ? the right way to do
    research, or Research Integrity
  • like any community, there are consequences if
    these standards are not met

Research compliance, ethics and shades of grey
  • research compliance vs research ethics
  • compliance is the indicator of your intent to do
    things the right way
  • research integrity is not just about avoiding
    bad, but doing good - compliance is the wrong
  • there are some common principles across the
    disciplinesthese are encapsulated in the ACRCR
    and the University Code of Conduct of Research

Turning principles into practice
  • at first glance, some of the concepts covered in
    ACRCR are abstract
  • challenge is to make them real to researchers
  • fabrication, falsification and plagiarism
    lying, cheating and stealing
  • best achieved through discussion/education rather
    than ticking a box - I have read the Code of
    Conduct doesnt work very well

Trickle down and build up
  • high-level principles locked into policy at
    institutional level
  • expect (require?) that Faculties elaborate on
    these policies so that they make sense for their
  • also, expect then that Departments will do the
    same thing
  • aim is to have localised versions of the policies
    that offer practical, relevant,
    discipline-specific advice (difficult/unwise to
    try this centrally)
  • close the gap between principle and practice
  • requires that support for (and engagement with)
    local-level developments/projects is available

Cultures of research ethics and integrity
  • a microbiological perspective?
  • used to managing cultures

stationary (death)
  • Future Research Leaders Program
  • Go8 initiative, Commonwealth funded
  • 8 modules that cover the research lifecycle case
    study across all 8
  • Module 3 Governance and Compliance
  • data security, authorship, ethics, biological
  • participants enjoy discussing the principles and
    practicality of research integrity
  • case study frees up discussion (but does not
    hinder personal statements)

ECR Workshops
  • laying the foundations
  • research ethics and integrity included for the
    first time this year
  • build your own code activity
  • e.g. all involved in the project should be listed
    as an author (!)
  • initial hesitation (boring!), discussion went
    into overtime
  • most found it valuable - first time some of the
    issues had been raised
  • very helpful for explaining how these principles
    do impact on the day-to-day operation of research
  • getting in early

  • Global Research Ethics and Integrity Module
  • http//
  • Universitas 21 initiative, UoM as lead
    institution (MSGR)
  • targetted at research higher degree students
  • 8 chapters that cover basic principles of
    research ethics and integrity
  • reflection tasks, f2f workshops and online
    discussions (with expert moderators chipping in
    where appropriate)

Ethical risk management
  • based on findings of ARC funded Investigating
    Human Research Ethics in Practice project
  • better training to improve understanding of basis
    of human research ethics and committee
    operations, and consideration of ethical risk
  • participants observed a real committee meeting
    and held a moot meeting
  • all reported having a much better understanding
    of the process and why they were asked particular
  • a grant proposal is conceptual, but the ethics
    process makes it real

Research Integrity Toolkit (2010)
  • material to encourage discussion at a
    group/department level
  • one a month for 8-10 months
  • guided discussion
  • copies of institutional and local policies (where
  • research integrity climate survey as a way of
    measuring the health of the culture?

Status of ACRCR
  • not a legislative/regulatory document -
    guidelines only
  • except for NHMRC funded research where
    compliance with it is part of the funding
  • some clashes with internal University policies,
  • will be resolved over time
  • problems with Part B Process for handling
    allegations of research misconduct
  • e.g. the full legislative protection offered to
    whistleblowers must be extended to complainants,
    but this means that we then cant tell anyone
    about the complaintnatural justice/procedural

Two definitions for research misconduct
  • UoM
  • deviation from accepted practice/breach of the
  • intentional, deliberate or reckless and negligent
  • ACRCR adds
  • serious consequence (e.g. false information on
    public record)
  • so our first decision when faced with an
    allegation has to be which definition are we
    usingnot ideal
  • definition also problematic, but perhaps this is
    less important than we think it is

  • clash with UoM policy, ICMJE guidance (Vancouver
    Protocol) and ACRCR
  • is giving final approval for publication really
    worth an authorship credit? how will the Director
    of a medical research institute react to this no
    longer being enough?
  • covered in review of UoM Code for 2010

  • there are institutional responsibilities in
    ensuring that research is conducted responsibly
  • training and education - the discussion - in
    the principles of responsible research, research
    ethics and research integrity is important
  • clear statements from the institution about the
    way research that is carried out in its name is
    to be conducted are important
  • long term project with intangible (or at least
    difficult to measure) benefits, but this should
    not mean that it is not paid attention to