Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Authoring Organisational Unit
Office of Research - Central Unit
Date Approved
05/09/2012 Revised 31/03/2016
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Academic Council

The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Code of Conduct for the Responsible Practice of Research

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

The broad principles that guide research has long been established and central to these are the maintenance of high ethical standards, and validity and accuracy in the collection and reporting of research data.

This policy provides a framework for sound research practice and for the protection of individual research workers, including staff and postgraduate research students, as well as contracted agents, from possible misunderstandings.


National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) administers funding for health and medical research on behalf of the Australian Government.

Australian Vice-Chancellor's Committee (AVCC) is now Universities Australia (UA)

the University means The University of Western Australia.

UWA means The University of Western Australia.

Research Data means facts, observations or experiences on which an argument, theory or test is based and could be retested. Data may be numerical, descriptive or visual. Data may be raw or analysed, experimental or observational. Data may include but are not limited to: laboratory notebooks; field notebooks; primary research data (including research data in hardcopy or in computer readable form); questionnaires; audiotapes; videotapes; models; photographs; films; test responses. Provenance information about the data might also be included: the how, when, where it was collected and with what (for example, instrument). The software code used to generate, annotate or analyse the data may also be included.

Policy statement:

1 Background

1.1 The policy is based on the Joint NHMRC/AVCC Statement and Guidelines on Research Practice (1997), which was developed to provide a comprehensive framework of minimum acceptable standards, and has subsequently been updated to take account of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007) and the Western Australian University Sector Disposal Authority (2012)

1.2 All queries regarding the observance of this policy must be directed to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) [DVC (R)].

2 General principles

2.1 2.1 It is a basic assumption of the University that academic and research staff, and postgraduate research students, are committed to high standards of professional conduct.

2.2 Researchers have a duty to ensure that their work enhances the good name of the University and the profession to which they belong.

2.3 Researchers must only participate in work which conforms to accepted ethical standards and which they are competent to perform. When in doubt they must seek assistance with their research from their colleagues or peers.

2.4 Debate on, and criticism of, research work are essential parts of the research process.

2.5 The University and its researchers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all those associated with the research.

2.6 It is essential that the design of the research project takes account of any relevant ethical guidelines and legislative requirements.

2.6.1 Research must comply with established guidelines such as the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) and the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (2004).

2.6.2 Research must comply with relevant legislation including the Gene Technology Act 2000 and Regulations 2001, Federal Biosecurity and State Quarantine Acts , the National Health Security Act 2007 and Regulations 2008, and the laws and regulations regarding export controls and international sanctions.

2.6.3 Where research procedures are of a kind requiring approval by a human or animal experimentation ethics committee, a biosafety committee, or by other validly constituted regulatory committees, research must not proceed without such approval.

2.7 It is acknowledged that research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples spans many methodologies and disciplines.

2.7.1 There are a wide variety of ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, communities or groups are involved in, or affected by, research. Such research must comply with Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research (2003) and the Guidelines for Ethical Research in Indigenous Studies (2012).

2.8 Appropriate consumer involvement in research is encouraged and must comply with the Statement on Consumer and Community Participation in Health and Medical Research (2002).

2.9 If data of a confidential nature is obtained, for example from the individual patient records or from certain questionnaires, confidentiality must be observed and researchers must not use this information for their own personal advantage or that of a third party.

2.10 Confidentiality may be necessary for a limited period in the case of contracted research or of non-contractual research which is under consideration for patent protection. In general, however, research results and methods must be open to scrutiny by colleagues within the institution and, through appropriate publication, by the profession at large.

3 Management of research data and primary materials

3.1 Research Data (including electronic data) must be recorded in a durable and appropriately referenced form. Data management must comply with relevant privacy protocols, such as Standards Australia on personal privacy protection

3.2 Research Data must be held along with other records associated with the research project and retained in accordance with the Western Australian University Sector Disposal Authority and the UWA Records Management Policy.

3.3 Wherever possible, original research data must be retained in the school or research centre in which they were generated and retained in accordance with clause 3.2 of this policy. The Institutional Research Data Store is the preferred repository of digital research data.

3.4 Individual researchers are able to hold copies of their research data for their own use. However, retention solely by the individual researcher provides little protection to the researcher or the University in the event of an allegation of falsification of data.

3.5 When the data is obtained from limited access databases, or via a contractual arrangement, the location of the original data must be identified, or key information regarding the database from which it was collected must be retained by the researcher or research centre.

3.6 In all cases, The location and management arrangements for research data must be documented in a Data Management Plan stored in the University's records management system (TRIM).

3.7 Research data related to publications must be available for discussion with other researchers. The availability of such data must be recorded and managed through the UWA Research Repository. The six Creative Commons version 4.0 licenses recommended in AusGOAL are the preferred licenses to be used for Open Access. CC-BY is used wherever possible for sharing research data.

3.8 Where confidentiality provisions apply (for example, where the researchers or the University have given undertakings to third parties, such as the subjects of the research), it is desirable for research data to be kept in a way that reference to them by third parties can occur without breaching such confidentiality.

3.9 Confidentiality Agreements have been developed to protect intellectual property rights (UWA Intellectual Property Policy and Regulations) belonging to the University, or to pass on obligations of confidence to others in relation to confidential information received by the University. Where such agreements limit free publication and discussion, limitations and restrictions must be explicitly agreed.

3.10 It is the obligation of the researcher to enquire whether confidentiality agreements apply, and of the Head of School or the research centre to inform researchers of their obligations with respect to these provisions.

3.11 All confidentiality agreements must be made known at an early stage to the DVC (R).

3.12 Researchers are responsible for ensuring appropriate security of any confidential material, including that held in electronic media.

3.13 Where computing systems are accessible through networks, particular attention to security of confidential data is required.

3.14 Security and confidentiality must be assured in a way that copes with multiple researchers and the departure of individual researchers.

4 Supervision of research students/trainees [1]

4.1 The Head of School or academic unit must ensure that supervision of each research student/trainee (including Honours, Masters and Doctoral students, and early career postdoctoral staff) is assigned to specific researchers with appropriate skills, qualifications and resources, and that the ratio of research students/trainees to supervisors is low enough to assure effective intellectual interaction and effective oversight of the research at all times.

4.2 Supervisors or Heads of Schools or academic units must provide each research student/trainee with written material on applicable Federal and State legislation and institutional guidelines for the conduct of research, including those covering ethical requirements for studies on humans and animals, hazardous materials including biohazards, requirements for confidentiality, and occupational health and safety matters.

4.3 Supervisors must provide guidance and mentorship in all matters of responsible research practice. This includes discussing with the student, at the outset, relevant issues of research conduct and ethics, and intellectual property, and referring any problems/queries to the Head of School for consideration.

4.4 Supervisors must ensure, as far as possible, the validity of research data obtained by a student under his/her supervision.

5 Publication and dissemination of research findings

5.1 The University recognises the importance of research being communicated to other researchers, professional practitioners and the wider community. Ideally this would occur after peer appraisal. Where research is reported in the public media prior to peer review, the reporting must be based on the research data and findings.

5.2 Peer assessment of research outcomes is important in the validation of research.

5.3 Wherever possible, researchers must submit their research for peer review.

5.4 Publication of multiple papers based on the same set(s) or subset(s) of data is not acceptable, except where there is full cross-referencing within the papers (for example, in a series of closely related work, or where a complete work grew out of a preliminary publication and this is fully acknowledged).

5.5 An author who submits substantially similar work to more than one publisher must disclose this to the publishers at the time of submission.

5.6 Publications must include information on the sources of financial support for the research, including scholarship funding for any author who has been a Higher Degree by Research student at the time the research was carried out. This information must include the grant ID number(s) as well as the name of the funding body or bodies.. Financial sponsorship that carries an embargo on such naming of a sponsor must be avoided. Where research approval has been obtained, information to this effect is preferred to be included in the publication.

5.7 Publications and other outputs involving either a student enrolled with the University, or a University staff member (including adjunct and honorary staff) must acknowledge that the work was carried out at the University by using the University by-line. The by-line must include the full name of the University, as well as the official name of the appropriate faculty, school or centre, e.g. "International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, University of Western Australia". Any publication without appropriate by-lines is not regarded as UWA research publications.

5.8 Deliberate inclusion of inaccurate or misleading information relating to research activity in curriculum vitae, grant applications, job applications or public statements, or the failure to provide relevant information, is a form of research misconduct. Accuracy is essential in describing the state of publication (in preparation, submitted, accepted), research funding (applied for, granted, funding period), and awards conferred, and where any of these relate to more than one researcher.

5.9 Before a failed grant application can be re-submitted to the same or another funding agency, action must be taken to ensure that all chief investigators agree to the re-submission and continue to meet the criteria for authorship.

5.10 All UWA authors must ensure that details of their UWA research publications or ERA eligible non-UWA publications are recorded in the UWA Research Repository.

5.11 The University supports the principle of Open Access by making publications freely available online within twelve months of publication through the UWA Research Repository. UWA authors are responsible for depositing copies of their publications in accordance with this policy.

5.12 Where legal or contractual obligations make this impossible, an explanatory note is added to the publication information in the Research Repository. UWA authors are encouraged to avoid transferring copyright to the publisher and are asked to ensure that publication contracts allow self-archiving of the Author's Accepted Manuscript in the UWA Research Repository. If self- archiving is not included in the publisher contract then UWA authors must request inclusion of the following addendum:

"The author has the right to publically archive their revised, peer reviewed personal version of their paper in their institutional repository, provided a link to the version on the publisher website is included."

5.13 All UWA authors must adhere to the Open Access requirements of funding bodies, particularly the Open Access Policy of the Australian Research Council and the Open Access Policy of the National Health and Medical Research Council.

5.14 Publications are made available on Open Access in the UWA Research Repository under the most appropriate Creative Commons licence, and preferably the CC-BY licence.

6 Authorship [2]

6.1 The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research lays out the principles and rules for authorship of research outputs:
Attribution of authorship depends to some extent on the discipline, but in all cases, authorship must be 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.

The right to authorship is not tied to position or profession and does not depend on whether the contribution was paid for or voluntary. It is not enough to have provided materials or routine technical support, or to have made the measurements on which the publication is based. Substantial intellectual involvement is required.

A person who qualifies as an author must not be included or excluded as an author without their permission. This should be in writing, and include a brief description of their contribution to the work.

6.2 Participation solely in the acquisition of funding or the collection of data does not justify authorship. General supervision of the research group is not sufficient for authorship. Any part of an article critical to its main conclusion must be the responsibility of at least one author. An author's role in a research output must be sufficient for that person to take responsibility for at least that part of the output in that person's area of expertise. No person who is an author, consistent with this definition, must be excluded as an author without their permission in writing.

6.3 Research students can be authors and own the copyright of their thesis, in accordance with Sub-Regulation 4 (2) of the UWA Intellectual Property Regulations.

6.4 Authorship of a research output is a matter that must be discussed between researchers at an early stage in a research project, and reviewed whenever there are changes in participation. If there are conflicts arising through disputes about authorship, the DVC (R) must be notified. The DVC (R) will determine the appropriate course of action.

6.5 When there is more than one co-author of a research output, one co-author (by agreement amongst the authors) must be nominated as executive author for the whole research output, and must take responsibility for record-keeping regarding the research output.

6.6 Where the research is published, including electronically, one author must be given principal status with the responsibility for signing a Statement of Authorship form ensuring that all co-authors are in agreement with their inclusion and that no person entitled to authorship as defined in clause 6.1 above has been excluded. Authors of web-based publications must be able to take responsibility for the publication's content and must be clearly identified in the publication.

6.7 The authors must ensure that others who have contributed to the work are recognised in the research output. Courtesy demands that individuals and organisations providing facilities must also be acknowledged.

6.8 Authors must include their ORCiD identifier in their publications and must ensure that it is linked to their authoritative profile in the UWA Research Repository.

7 Peer review

7.1 The University encourages all researchers to participate in peer review because this provides expert scrutiny of a project, and helps to maintain high standards and encourage accurate, thorough and credible research reporting.

7.2 Participants in peer review must act fairly and in a timely manner, must keep confidential and not disclose the content or outcome of any process in which they are involved, must declare conflicts of interest, and must ensure that they are informed, and comply with the criteria to be applied.

7.3 Researchers whose work is undergoing peer review must not seek to influence the process or outcomes.

7.4 Supervising researchers have a responsibility to assist trainee researchers, including students, in developing the necessary skills for peer review and understanding their obligation to participate.

8 Conflicts of interest

8.1 Disclosure of any potential conflict of interest is essential for the responsible conduct of research.

8.2 Researchers have an obligation to disclose any affiliation with, or financial involvement in, any organisation or entity with a direct interest in the subject matter or materials of researchers.

8.3 A conflict of interest may also arise if any organisation or entity with a direct interest in the subject matter provides direct benefits to the researchers such as sponsorship of the investigation, or indirect benefits such as the provision of materials or facilities or the support of individuals such as provision of travel or accommodation expenses to attend conferences.

8.4 Other examples of conflict of interest include where a researcher (or their spouse or dependent) has a financial interest (equity, directorship, consultant) in the funding agency or in an agency being paid from the grant funds, or where the terms of a new grant from a funding agency require disclosure of project data from a related project and the terms of the related project grant prevent that disclosure.

8.5 When a conflict of interest arises at the time of reporting or proposing research, and this conflict of interest has the potential to influence research and investigations, publication and media reports, grant applications, and applications for appointment and promotion, the researcher must disclose the details "in confidence" to the DVC (R) who will decide whether a conflict of interest exists and, if so, what further action should be taken.

8.6 The action taken by the DVC(R) in the case that a conflict of interest is identified will include consultation with the researcher and may also involve consultation with the funding agency or other parties to ensure that the conflict of interest does not compromise the research, or the University's interests.

8.7 In some circumstances, it may be necessary to reject or terminate a research project, or to disclose the conflict of interest to the editors of journals or the readers of published work arising from the research.

9 Collaborative research across institutions

9.1 Where the University is involved in a joint research project, including overseas, an agreement must be reached in writing with the collaborating organisations detailing issues to do with intellectual property, confidentiality and copyright, sharing commercial returns, responsibility for ethics and safety clearances, and reporting to appropriate agencies

9.2 The collaborating parties must identify a person to be involved in the management of research data, primary materials and other items to be retained at the end of the project.

10 Clinical Trials

10.1 The University supports clinical trial (CT) research by providing ethical review, clinical expertise, research infrastructure, and funds administration. The University also enjoys collaborative agreements with medical research institutes, and public hospitals for the conduct of CTs where responsibilities are shared

10.2 The decision to conduct or collaborate in a CT is at the discretion of the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research, who will take advice from a governance and risk review conducted by the University's risk, legal, and research support managers

10.3 The University commits to Good Clinical Practice (GCP), as defined by the Commonwealth and State government regulatory bodies responsible for CT administration. University staff involved in CTs are expected to understand and abide by GCP

10.4 University personnel responsible for leading clinical trials will adhere to regulation relevant to CTs, in particular that trials will be notified to the regulatory bodies as required

10.5 The University supports staff to conduct CTs via research support services listed at

[ 1] Please refer to The University of Western Australia Code of Good Practice for Postgraduate Student Research and Supervision.

[ 2] Please refer to UWA Policy of Determining Authorship and Resolving Disputes between Authors.

Related forms: (Link)

Location of Data Form at

Statement of Authorship Form at

Confidentiality Agreements at

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

Director, Office of Research Enterprise

Related Policies or legislation:

Joint NHMRC/AVCC Statement and Guidelines on Research Practice (1997) at

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007) at

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) at

Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (2004) at

Gene Technology Act 2000 and Regulations 2001 at

The Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth)

WA Quarantine

Commonwealth Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, Biosecurity section (formerly AQIS) at

National Health Security Act 2007 at

National Health Security Regulations 2008 at

Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research (2003) at

Guidelines for Ethical Research in Indigenous Studies (2000) at

Statement on Consumer and Community Participation in Health and Medical Research (2002) at

UWA Intellectual Property Policy and Regulations at

UWA Code of Good Practice for Postgraduate Student Research and Supervision at

UWA Policy on Determining Authorship and Resolving Disputes between Authors at

Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals at

State Records Act (2000) at

Western Australian University Sector Disposal Authority at

UWA Records Management Policy at

Note for guidance on Good Clinical Practice (CPMP/ICH/135/95) annotated with TGA comments at

Export controls:

Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 at

Customs Act 1901 at

Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995 at

Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 at

Australian Research Council Open Access Policy at

National Health and Medical Research Council Open Access Policy at

UWA Policy on UWA Research Repository at

Creative Commons licences at