Research policy

Purpose

To set out RMIT’s commitment to research integrity and ethics, the responsibilities of RMIT and researchers in practicing research, and rules about the management of research.

Scope

Applicable to all staff, students, visiting researchers and honorary and adjunct appointees undertaking or supporting research at all RMIT University campuses and external research locations.

Policy provisions

Research integrity

1. Researchers apply the following principles to all aspects of their research:

1.1. Honesty and accuracy; and

1.2. Respect and fairness; and

1.3. Rigor and objectivity; and

1.4. Accountability; and

1.5. Good stewardship.

2. Researchers maintain high standards of research practice and follow the requirements of applicable institutional policies and professional or disciplinary standards, and comply with applicable laws and regulations.

3. RMIT provides ongoing education and training for researchers in the responsible conduct of research.

4. Researchers undertake education and training in the responsible conduct of research, and work to foster a culture of research ethics and integrity at RMIT and beyond.

5. Researchers with supervisory responsibilities ensure that students and others undertaking research are properly supervised and mentored in responsible research conduct.

6. When planning and conducting research:

6.1. Researchers demonstrate respect for research participants, cultural heritage, animals used in research and the environment.

6.2. Researchers conduct research safely and minimise risk associated with their research.

6.3. Research that involves or affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, communities or groups respects and values cultural and language diversity, and applies the core values of Reciprocity, Respect, Equality, Responsibility, Survival and protection, Spirit and integrity.

6.4. Researchers represent themselves, their research and their accomplishments honestly, accurately and in a manner consistent with the norms of the relevant field.

6.5. Researchers disclose any conflicts of interest that could compromise the planning, proposing, conducting, reporting or reviewing of research in line with the Conflict of interest process.

7. For data and methods

7.1. Researchers use appropriate methods to answer the research question.

7.2. Researchers make and keep complete, clear, and accurate records of all research including data, methodologies and findings, in a manner that allows others to verify or replicate the work and in line with the requirements of the Research data management process.

8. For authorship, publication and dissemination

8.1. Researchers agree and document authorship.

8.2. A person is listed as an author of a research output when they have made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to the research described in the research output, are willing to be accountable for their contribution, and agree to be listed as an author, in line with the requirements of the Authorship of research outputs process.

8.3. Researchers acknowledge all contributors and contributions to the research described in the research output.

8.4. Researchers name RMIT University as their affiliation where warranted (where a part of the research was conducted at RMIT or with RMIT support), and may list multiple affiliations, as appropriate.

8.5. Researchers appropriately cite and, where applicable, obtain permission for the use of all published and unpublished work, and respect all Intellectual Property rights.

8.6. Researchers publish, communicate and report research honestly and accurately and in line with the Disseminating research outputs process.

8.7. Researchers give fair, prompt and rigorous evaluations, and respect confidentiality when participating in peer review.

9. When reporting breaches and research misconduct:

9.1. RMIT staff and students seek advice and discuss any concerns about the conduct of research with research integrity advisers and report any suspected breaches or research misconduct.

9.2. Allegations of breach or research misconduct are handled in line with the Research misconduct process.

Human research ethics

10. RMIT and its researchers are committed to the ethical conduct of human research that meets the following principles:

10.1. Respect for the rights, interests and welfare of the participants in human research

10.2. Beneficence through minimising risk of harm or adverse impacts to research participants and enhancing potential benefits of research

10.3. Justice in the distribution of benefits and adverse impacts of research

10.4. Research merit and integrity.

11. RMIT provides ongoing education and training for researchers in human research ethics.

12. Researchers gain approval from the relevant Human Research Ethics Committee or College Human Ethics Advisory Network, where required, prior to the commencement of human research.

13. Researchers follow any conditions imposed and maintain approval during the course of research in line with the Human research ethics process.

Animal ethics and welfare

14. Animals are only used in research and teaching activities if there is need for their use, and the activity has merit, integrity and justifiable benefit.

15. In research and teaching, RMIT and its researchers minimise the impact on animals by:

15.1. Replacing the use of animals with alternatives wherever possible;

15.2. Reducing the number of animals used without jeopardising the statistical validity of research results or teaching objectives and without placing an excessive cumulative burden on individual animals;

15.3. Refining research and teaching practice, and facilities to minimise unexpected adverse impacts on animals.

16. RMIT maintains high standards of care, management, welfare, and use of animals in research and teaching activities.

17. RMIT educates researchers and teachers on advancements in animal welfare, care and use standards.

18. Researchers gain approval from the RMIT Animal Ethics Committee, where required, prior to the commencement of research with animals.

19. Researchers follow any conditions imposed and maintain approval during the course of research in line with the Animal ethics process.

Working safely with biological agents

20. Researchers protect the health and safety of people, animals and the environment by identifying and managing risks posed by work with biological agents.

21. RMIT educate researchers on institutional biosafety and research involving genetically modified organisms.

22. Research involving the use of genetically modified organisms only commence once approval from the Institutional Biosafety Committee or appropriate regulatory body has been gained.

23. Researchers follow any conditions imposed and maintain approval in line with the Research involving genetically modified organisms process.

Research structures

24. Policy rules 25 – 29 do not apply to Research Centres that are wholly externally funded or are a separate legal entity, Cooperative Research Centres, or Centres of Excellence.

25. The Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation can establish the following research structures: Research Centres, Externally Funded Research Centres, Research Groups and Enabling Capability Platforms.

26. A Research Centre or an Externally Funded Research Centre is based in a College or School, and is established, managed, monitored and disestablished as outlined in the Research Centre Process [under development].

27. An Externally Funded Research Centre is granted RMIT Research Centre status upon awarding of funding and monitored in accordance with the funding rules set by the awarding body.

28. A Research Group is based in a School, and is established, managed, monitored and disestablished as outlined in the Research Group Process [under development].

29. Enabling Capability Platforms are University-level structures that are not exclusively associated with, nor owned by any individual RMIT College, and cannot directly employ staff. No sub-platforms, or other derivation of an Enabling Capability Platform, will be established.

Research funding

30. RMIT will not advertise grant opportunities from the tobacco industry or accept funding for research from the tobacco industry, except for non-health related research and in exceptional circumstances in line with the Research funding from the tobacco industry process.

31. RMIT will not accept funding that involves any promotion or advertising that supports the tobacco industry or the tobacco industry lobby and its activities.

Research processes

32. The Executive Director of the Research Office is responsible for the establishment and review of Research Policy related processes and guidance materials.

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