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Integrity in Scholarly Research

  

Principle:

Memorial University of Newfoundland is committed to excellence in scholarly activities and as such is committed to ensuring that the highest standards of ethical conduct and scholarly integrity are understood and practiced.

 

Purpose:

To ensure that the University community understands and practices the highest standards of integrity in pursuing scholarly research.

 

Scope:

All persons who pursue scholarly research including students, faculty members and staff of Memorial University and all research conducted by those persons regardless of the geographic location of the research.

Where required, the minimum requirements set out in the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (the Framework), as it is amended from time to time, must be met in the conduct of research at Memorial University. The Framework describes Agency policies and requirements related to applying for and managing Agency funds, performing research, and disseminating results, and the processes that Institutions and Agencies follow in the event of an allegation of a breach of an Agency policy. The Agencies require that all researchers applying for, or in receipt of, Agency funds comply with the Agency Policy.

In the case of students, the application of this policy is subject to the appropriate Procedures Governing Academic Misconduct for Undergraduate Students and Academic Behaviour for Graduate Students and, where required, the minimum requirements set out in the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (the Framework).

This policy should be read in conjunction with the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research and the policy statements of the U.S. National Institutes of Health on integrity in research, the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, second edition (2010), and Memorial University policies on research with humans, research using animals or the procedures involving biohazards or radiation hazards.

 

Policy:

1.0 Integrity in Scholarly Research

1.1 Scholarly activity varies among the disciplines. It includes the actual conduct of research as well as publication of original work, artistic or engineering design, and performance in the arts or in professional areas.

1.2 As a scholarly community, the University and all its individual members have a responsibility to maintain the highest standards of scholarship, specifically:

  • citing the contributions of others;
  • obtaining permission to use the unpublished work of others and duly acknowledging the work;
  • respecting the privileged access to information or ideas obtained from confidential manuscripts or applications;
  • ensuring that data resulting from scholarly activity are accessible for a reasonable period of time, except where such access could violate the anonymity of subjects or the confidentiality of data;
  • using all University and research resource responsibly, including support staff as well as funds, equipment, materials, and research subjects.
  • being rigorous in scholarly activity including experimental design and interpretation of research results.

1.3 The researcher is responsible for the safe storage of primary data resulting from scholarly activity. He/she will ensure that such material will be accessible (except where such access could violate the anonymity of subjects or the confidentiality of data) for a period of five years unless a funding council or agency specifies a longer time.

1.4 In the event of an investigation taking place under this policy, an investigator making a claim that data were accidentally destroyed must have corroboration.

1.5 When a researcher leaves the University, he/she must arrange access and safe storage of records with his or her immediate supervisor.

1.6 No member of the University community should exploit students. Specific examples of exploitation of students would be:

  • engaging students to perform services not related to their program of study, or using human subjects in cases where individuals might reasonably fear that to refuse would be detrimental to their interests.
  • failing to give proper recognition to the ideas, work or assistance of individuals or to obtain, where appropriate, prior permission for the use of work done;
  • encouraging graduate students to prolong research beyond the point where an acceptable thesis could be submitted, in order to further the interests of the faculty member.

2.0 Gross misconduct in academic research

2.1 All accusations of misconduct in academic research are taken seriously, and dealt with under the PROCEDURE FOR INVESTIGATING REPORTS OF MISCONDUCT IN RESEARCH.

2.2 Gross misconduct in academic research means:

  • fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism but not factors intrinsic to the process of academic research, such as honest error, conflicting data or differences in interpretation or assessment of data or of experimental design; or
  • willful or deliberate destruction or destruction resulting from the failure to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of one's own research data within a period of five (5) years after publication of the research results, or the deliberate tampering with or destruction of the research of another; or
  • once the results of the research have been published, refusal without good and sufficient reason, to provide access to the data that resulted in the published document, for the purpose of verification by bona fide academic researchers for a period of five (5) years from the date of publication; or
  • failure to respect agreements concerning privileged access to information or ideas obtained from confidential manuscripts or applications; or
  • the use of unpublished scholarly work of others without their permission when that permission is explicitly required; or
  • significant failure to comply with relevant federal or provincial statutes or regulations or national or international standards for the protection of researchers, human subjects, or the health and safety of the public, or for the welfare of laboratory animals, or significant failure to meet other legal requirements that relate to the conduct of research; or
  • failure to reveal any relevant and substantial conflict of interest to the agencies funding the University member's research, to those who commission such research, to an editor or to an agency requesting the University member to undertake reviews of research grant applications or manuscripts for publication, or to an agency requesting the University member to test products, processes or services for sale or distribution to the public; or
  • failure to reveal to the University any material financial interest, either by the University member or a close relative, in a company that contracts with the University to undertake research, or to supply goods or services directly pertaining to the University member's research. Material financial interest includes ownership, substantial stock holding, a directorship, substantial honoraria or consulting fees but does not include routine stock holding in a large publicly traded company.

3.0 Responsibilities of personnel who supervise research and of academic administrators

3.1 Senior academic administrators and Faculty members engaged in scholarly activity are responsible for modeling ethical behaviour, emphasizing the importance of integrity in research and translating these ideas into practice.

3.2 Academic administrators will create a climate for ethical practice in scholarly work by promoting widespread general awareness and knowledge of ethical guidelines, by encouraging openness in discussion of ongoing research, and by appropriately assigning responsibility for students, researchers and large research teams.

3.3 Research supervisors will impart to research staff, students and postdoctoral fellows their responsibilities to maintain the highest levels of integrity. Research supervisors will ensure that research staff and students have adequate advice and instruction about experimental design, data recording and retention, and its interpretation. While there are some universal expectations for such processes, it is recognized that there are differences in disciplines and investigative protocols which the responsible investigator can best impart to staff and trainees. Research supervisors should promote full discussion of ongoing research within research groups and teams.

3.4 University administrators or their delegates will deal expeditiously and fairly with all allegations of academic fraud following the PROCEDURE FOR INVESTIGATING REPORTS OF MISCONDUCT IN RESEARCH or more detailed procedures that may be found in collective agreements covering some individuals.

3.5 Any allegations involving University administrators will be dealt with following the appropriate procedures, with the exception that if an allegation involves the President, the allegation will be directed to the Chair of the Board of Regents who will then follow the procedures.

3.6 Investigations will be conducted as quietly and confidentially as possible. In such cases where an investigation results in the President taking disciplinary action, any publicity associated with the investigation or the discipline will not take place until all appeals within the University are exhausted (including receipt of the arbitral decision if the recommended discipline has been grieved and proceeds to arbitration or until after the deadline for advancing the grievance to arbitration has passed).

3.7 The University administration will promptly disclose all confirmed misconduct to funding agencies, collaborating scientists and institutions, journal editors, professional associations, licensing boards, and potential employers who request oral or written references, regardless of any potential or perceived adverse publicity.

3.8 In cases where a funding agency has been informed of an ongoing investigation the administration will promptly inform the funding body of the outcome of the investigation and of any discipline subject to the considerations above.

4.0 Protection of Complainants

4.1 The President will take whatever action he or she deems appropriate in the circumstance to protect persons who make allegations of scholarly misconduct from reprisals.

4.2 The University shall use its best efforts:

a) to minimize disruption to the scholarly activities of a complainant and of any third party whose research may be affected by the securing of evidence relevant to the allegation during the course of the formal investigation; and

b) to ensure that any such disruption not negatively affect future decisions concerning the careers of those referenced in (a) above.

 

Related Documents:

Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research
Tri-Council Policy Statement:  Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, Second Edition (2010)
Ethics of Research Involving Human Participants Policy
Institutional Animal Care Policy
U.S. National Institutes of Health on integrity in research
Academic Misconduct for Undergraduate Students
Academic Behaviour for Graduate Students
Procedures involving biohazards and radiation hazards

 

Procedures

Title: Integrity in Scholarly Research
Category : Research Approval Date: 2001-02-12
Effective Date : 2012-12-04 Review Date: 2017-05-01
Authority:
The President
Sponsor:
The President
Contact:

Office of Research Services (709) 864-8251

Previous Versions:
Please contact the Policy Office to view any of the following previous policy versions:

  • 2001-02-12