Guideline: Conduct of Research
This document sets out guidance on the responsibilities of ANU researchers to conduct research responsibly and ethically.
The ANU Guideline on the Conduct of Research outlines a set of responsibilities for ANU researchers (Staff, Students and Visitors) to foster and maintain a research environment of intellectual honesty, integrity, and scholarly and scientific rigour.
This guideline is derived from the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and is designed to assist researchers to comply with the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy.
This guideline applies to all University staff, students and visitors.
Ethics, Permits and other Approvals
- ANU researchers:
- Additional guidance for ethics, permits and other approvals:
Research data and records
- Research data, records and primary materials generated by ANU researchers are the property of ANU unless other arrangements are agreed.
- ANU researchers create and maintain research data and records that are:
- accurate, complete, clear, authentic and reliable, and include any approvals granted;
- identifiable, retrievable, available when needed, catalogued in an accessible form, indexed, and durable;
- secure and safe;
- kept in accordance with legal, contractual and ethical protocols and requirements, based on disciplinary conventions and specific approvals; ANU policies and procedures; and requirements placed on research by funding or regulatory bodies; and
- able to be made available to others in line with appropriate legal, ethical, data sharing and open access principles.
- Ensure research data, records and primary materials are retained for as long as they are of continuing value or interest to the global research community or other interested parties, and as specified by any research funding agreement, professional standards, legal or other requirements.
- Only destroy research data and records and primary materials in accordance with all legal and ethical obligations, and with particular concern for confidentiality, security, collaborators and verification of any publications.
- Not destroy records, data, primary materials, or related documents and sources that are relevant to allegations of misconduct, or challenged research results.
- Ensure that primary materials are kept in safe and secure storage, and that primary research records are provided the same level of care and protection as analysed research data.
- Maintain the confidentiality or privacy of research data and primary materials where access has been given on a confidential basis or where good practice, ethical or contractual conditions require such confidentiality. Data is suitably anonymised to protect confidentiality.
- Maintain confidential or private data in secure locations and for electronic records, provide suitable encryption or password protection.
- ANU researchers take all reasonable steps to:
- develop and document a research data management plan, including clear procedures for the collection, storage, use, re-use, access, retention and destruction of the research data and records associated with their research projects. This includes defining protocols and responsibilities in a joint or multi-institution collaboration;
- ensure prior to embarking on a research project that adequate resources are available to meet the data management requirements of that project;
- plan for the ongoing custodianship of data after the completion of research, or, in the event of departure or retirement from the University, reach agreement with the Head of School as to where such data will be located, stored and accessed; and
- retain sufficient research data and primary materials for a time allowing reference to them by other researchers and interested parties. For published research data, this should be for at least as long as interest, challenge and discussion persists following publication. When considering retention length, the researcher takes account of professional standards, legal requirements and contractual arrangements.
- Additional guidance for research data and records:
- in general the minimum period for retention is at least 5 years from the date of publication. For most clinical trials, retaining research data for 15 years or more is necessary. For areas such as gene therapy, research data is retained permanently (e.g. patient records). It is not appropriate to retain data collected by coursework students in the course of assessment beyond completion, unless the work is published or further developed;
- if the work has community or heritage value, research data should be kept permanently, preferably within a national collection. Data retention and disposal, particularly relating to personal information, is a complex area, and ANU researchers are encouraged to consult with College Research Integrity Advisors.
- as a general rule, data created by ANU staff is owned by ANU in the first instance; please refer to the ANU Policy on Intellectual Property for further detail regarding ownership; and
- For the purpose of this document the term research trainees refers to trainees at all levels – coursework students, higher degree by research students, and early-career staff conducting research.
- ANU researchers, particularly supervisors of higher degree by research students:
- ensure effective and timely training of research trainees under their supervision. Training encompasses discipline-based research methods, ethics and other relevant skills, such as the ability to interact with users, research subjects, industry and diverse communities;
- ensure that research trainees receive appropriate credit for their work;
- are satisfied that valid and accurate research is undertaken by research trainees; and
- take all reasonable steps to ensure effective compliance by research trainees with the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy and this guideline.
Dissemination, authorship and publication of research
- ANU researchers:
- disseminate all research findings as accurately, broadly and effectively as possible, subject to restrictions relating to intellectual property, confidentiality, or commercially or culturally sensitive data;
- acknowledge all authors;
- offer authorship to all people, including research trainees, who meet normal disciplinary or the specific publishers criteria for authorship;
- restrict authorship to those who meet the criteria for authorship (guidance is provided below);
- acknowledge contributions from individuals, all sources of financial and in-kind support for the research, including ANU, and acknowledge all potential conflicts of interest;
- obtain written consent prior to publication (e.g. using the Authorship Form or by email) from all those offered authorship or personal acknowledgement, and provide evidence of this consent to an appropriate contact in the School;
- cite the work of other authors fully and accurately. It is not acceptable to use the work of other authors without acknowledgement;
- ensure the authors of a web-based publication are clearly identified, and take responsibility for the publication’s content;
- disclose at the time of submission where substantially similar work is submitted to more than one publisher, or work similar to that submitted is already published. It is not acceptable to include the same research findings in several publications, except in particular circumstances such as review articles, anthologies, collections, or translations into another language;
- comply with any restriction on publications agreed with funders and partners;
- explain to any sponsor or media outlet who receives research results prior to peer review that the results are not final;
- correct the record as soon as possible, where the researcher becomes aware of misleading or inaccurate statements about their work; and
- accurately represent the state of a publication (e.g. in preparation, submitted, in press), or awards received, including stating whether publications or awards were shared, in any documentation (e.g. curricula vitae, grant applications, job applications, public statements).
- ANU researchers take all reasonable steps to:
- obtain permission from the copyright owner in previous work before republishing research findings;
- publish in an open access format and deposit a copy of the publication in an ANU repository;
- ensure that the account in any publication is complete, and where applicable, includes negative findings and results contrary to the hypothesis;
- avoid discussion of research findings prior to testing through peer review; or during such discussions clearly advise that the results are interim and are not peer reviewed; and
- agree on a protocol for authorship with collaborating researchers and partners at an early stage in the research project.
- Additional guidance for dissemination, authorship and publication of research:
- ANU has a policy on Open Access, demonstrating a commitment to dissemination for the benefit of society. The policy requires a copy of research outputs to be deposited; under most circumstances these will be made accessible via an ANU research repository. The ANU repository for publications is the ANU Digital Collection, and for data is the ANU Data Commons;
- authorship criteria are discipline-dependent, however they are based on substantial contributions in a combination of: conception and design of the project; analysis and interpretation of research data; drafting significant parts of the work or critically revising it so as to contribute to the interpretation;
- authorship of a research output should be discussed between collaborating researchers at an early stage in a research project. ANU has an Authorship Form to assist in collecting written acceptances from authors. The evidence of consent should be kept by the School of the corresponding or senior author. Where disputes as to authorship arise, Researchers are urged to consider the Authorship Disputes Procedure. If an author is deceased or cannot be contacted, the publication can proceed provided that there are no grounds to believe that this person would have objected to being included as an author; and
- researchers should provide research participants with an appropriate summary of research results where feasible.
- ANU researchers are expected to participate in peer review, and:
- conduct peer review in a fair and timely manner;
- act in confidence and not disclose the content or outcome of the process;
- declare all conflicts of interest;
- do not permit personal prejudice to influence the peer review process, and do not introduce considerations that are not relevant to the review criteria;
- do not take undue or calculated advantage of knowledge obtained during the peer review process;
- ensure that they are informed about, and comply with, the criteria to be applied;
- do not participate in peer review outside their areas of expertise;
- give proper consideration to research that challenges or changes accepted ways of thinking;
- do not seek to interfere with or influence a peer review process whilst their work is undergoing peer review; and
- mentor and advise their research trainees in peer review.
- ANU researchers register clinical trials with a recognised register to promote access to information about all clinical trials.
- Requirements covered in Ethics, Permits and other Approvals apply to clinical trials.
Conflicts of interest
- ANU researchers:
- comply with the Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy, and associated procedures, guidelines and forms;
- disclose interests that could give rise to, or be perceived to give rise to, a conflict, at the earliest opportunity; and
- withdraw from situations where conflicts are unmanageable.
- Additional guidance for conflicts of interest:
- conflicts of interest in research are common. ANU researchers expect to be conflicted from time to time, for example through consultancies, membership of committees, boards of directors, selection committees, advisory groups, personal relationships, financial delegations, institutional responsibilities, peer review, or receipt of funding or equipment from outside bodies.
- advice and support in dealing with conflicts of interest is available from the ANU’s Research Integrity Advisors.
- ANU researchers:
- are aware of, and comply with, all policies and written agreements affecting any project they are involved with;
- mentor and advise research trainees involved with or connected with project agreements with regard to their duties and responsibilities;
- do not execute research agreements without holding the appropriate delegation of the University; and
- do not transfer or receive experimental materials without an executed materials transfer agreement between all institutions sharing an interest in the materials.
- Additional guidance for research agreements:
- ANU policy, External Project funding and agreements sets out terms and conditions which are applicable to research agreements. For example, ANU does not: accept agreements which compromise academic freedom, accept funding from the tobacco industry or limit in any way the ability of a student to meet the examination requirements of the University.
- Under the Delegations Framework, all materials transfer agreements relating to ANU Intellectual Property and non-disclosure agreements relating to ANU Intellectual Property is signed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation).
Divergence from the Guideline and Research Misconduct
- Compliance with responsibilities of this Guideline and the Policy is mandatory for ANU researchers. Any practice incompatible with the Guideline or Policy is clearly documented and approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) prior to adoption.
- ANU researchers take all reasonable steps to report acts of research misconduct in a timely manner where they have reasonable grounds to believe research misconduct has occurred.
- Additional guidance for divergence from the Guideline and research misconduct:
Legislation and other documents
- Below is a (non-exhaustive) list of legislative and other external requirements that are relevant to the conduct of research by ANU researchers:
- Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (compliance is mandated by all ARC and NHMRC funding agreements);
- Commonwealth Gene Technology Act 2000 and related Regulations;
- ACT Animal Welfare Act 1992;
- Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes 8th edition 2013
- Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988;
- Commonwealth Copyright Act 1968;
- Commonwealth Archives Act 1983;
- National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 (updated 2018);
- Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies (2012); and
- NHMRC Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders (2018)
- Research performed in foreign countries, with international collaborators, or involving data, materials or participants from overseas requires further checks to ensure compliance with all relevant international legislation. Issues to consider include foreign research permissions, visa restrictions, export controls and local legislation.
Delegations relevant to this policy
- 000326: Submit applications for grants, research contracts or consultancies on behalf of the University to any funding agency.
- 000327: Sign all grant agreements and research contracts (excluding contracts involving the commercialisation of IP).
- 000328: Sign consultancy agreements.
- 000329: Determine the level and extent of the University’s involvement in a CRC, partnership, joint venture or other formal research collaboration where the University contributes cash or in-kind.
- 000330: Sign contracts involving the commercialisation of IP within portfolio responsibilities.
- 000331: Sign non-disclosure agreements relating to ANU Intellectual Property.
- 000332: Sign materials transfer agreements relating to ANU Intellectual Property.