CODE OF ETHICS AND CONDUCT FOR RESEARCH

The present document of research code of conduct states commitments and responsibilities of research practices in the institute. Hereby, the institute conveys the expectations of researchers, including their obligations to comply with this Code for the Responsible Conduct of Researchers in accordance with the institutional research policy.

  1. Scope:

This Code of Conduct provides guiding principles and a framework for the responsible conduct of research throughout the University, irrespective of how the research activities are funded. The Code applies to all staff (including technical and professional services staff) and students, as well  as visiting or emeritus researchers, associates, consultants and contractors undertaking research under the auspices of the University, using University’s facilities, on the University’s premises, or elsewhere on behalf of the University.

  1. Objectives for Researchers:
  • Upholding the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research.
  • Ensuring that research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards.
  • Supporting a research environment that is underpinned by a culture of integrity and based on good governance, best practice and support for the development of researchers.
  • Using transparent, timely, robust and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct should they arise.
  • Working together to strengthen the integrity of research.
  1. Institutional Responsibilities

The University is strongly committed to the principles of good research conduct, and to fostering a culture of research integrity to ensure that all research is conducted to the highest standards and in accordance with legal, ethical and safety requirements.

The University is responsible for:

  • Developing a comprehensive research governance framework through formulation of policies and procedures, oversight mechanisms, and a thorough ethical review system.
  • Providing appropriate training, development opportunities and mentoring to enable research staff to attain necessary skills for their role, and to support their future career development.
  • Ensuring that appropriate direction of research and supervision of researchers is provided.
  • Ensuring that robust management methods are in place to ensure awareness and application of the highest standards, as well as early identification of issues and preventative measures.
  • Providing appropriate infrastructure and support for good research data management.
  • Providing a clear and fair process for investigating, decision making and reporting on allegations of research misconduct.
  • Providing oversight through its committees and by senior leadership on activities and progress anticipated by this Code of Conduct.
  • Being open and transparent to its funders and the public about activities undertaken to support a culture of research integrity by the provision of a publicly accessible annual statement and applicable policies.
  1. Individual Responsibilities

All staff and students engaged in research carried out under the auspices of the University are required to maintain the highest standards of research integrity and ethical conduct. All researchers are responsible for familiarising themselves with this Code of Conduct and adhering to its provisions, as well as all related University regulations, policies and procedures, applicable legislation and any terms and conditions, codes of practice or guidelines issued by external funding or relevant professional bodies. Researchers must ensure that they have the necessary skills and experience to carry out their duties, and undertake training where necessary to ensure that their skills and knowledge is up to-date.

4.1 Collegiality

The University is a diverse and interdisciplinary organisation, the principle of effective and active collegiality aims to underline the University’s commitment to fostering a community built on trust and respect, and working together as one team towards achieving a shared vision. Members of staff are expected to support this principle by working collaboratively towards a common purpose, and accepting and sharing equitable responsibilities.

4.2 Equality and Diversity

The University highly values diversity and equality of opportunities, and is committed to creating and sustaining a positive, fair and mutually supportive working and learning environment for all staff and students. Researchers are expected to share this commitment and abide by the University’s policies and guidance on equality and diversity in every aspect of their work.

4.3 Leadership and Supervision

Members of the Executive Board and Deans have the responsibility to create, promote and maintain a sound research environment which encourages all research to be conducted to the highest standards of research integrity, governance and ethical practice.

The Principal Director (R&D) for Research has the prime responsibility for setting the strategy in relation to research and for fostering a culture of research integrity across the University. Deans, Associate Deans and Heads of Academic Units should take responsibility for ensuring that appropriate strategic direction of research and supervision is provided, including advice on matters of research integrity and conduct. 

Heads of Research Groups:

  • Are responsible for the overall research performance of the group, including the career development of its members, and fostering a culture of openness and research integrity.
  • Should be aware of their responsibilities and ensure that they have the necessary training, capacity and resources to carry out their role, and request support if required.
  • Are responsible for ensuring compliance with this Code, all legal and ethical standards and requirements, and obtaining appropriate approvals from all relevant bodies before commencing a research study.
  • Are accountable for the safety of others under their supervision and ensuring that risk assessments are completed prior to commencing research.
  • Are responsible for ensuring the safety, dignity, rights and welfare of all research participants, and for mitigating against or minimising risks in their research.
  • Should ensure that each research team member is qualified and competent to fulfil their role, and that researchers have undertaken relevant security checks (if applicable), and have adequate support, supervision and training.
  • Are accountable for ensuring that appropriate arrangements are in place to manage the research financial and other resources, and any arising Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
  • Are responsible for supervising and checking the work of others in their group, and should undertake a regular review of progress.
  • Should ensure that where there are collaborations with external organisations, appropriate agreements are entered into.

4.4 Training and Mentorship

It is the University’s policy that all researchers receive appropriate training and development opportunities, as well as adequate supervision and assistance, to enable them to conduct research to the highest standards. The University strongly encourages career development and progression. The University also provides a range of training and development opportunities for researchers. All researchers should receive high quality supervision and guidance in accordance with this Code of Conduct, and all other relevant standards, policies and procedures. Dedicated mentoring should be offered on any particular area where researchers require help and assistance.

4.5 Conflicts of Interest

All researchers should be aware of and adhere to the University’s Conflicts of Interest Policy, as well as associated guidance and any external requirements relating to conflicts of interest disclosures published by funding or governing bodies. It is the responsibility of individual researchers to recognise situations and activities that might give rise to conflicts of interest (whether actual or potential, personal, financial, academic, institutional or otherwise), or the perception of conflicts, and to ensure that such conflicts are disclosed to the appropriate person, and either appropriately managed or avoided. Researchers should be also aware that some funders may have additional requirements for disclosing financial interests. These requirements are broader than the University’s Conflicts of Interest Policy and all individuals involved in a project will be required to complete an additional declaration form before the project can commence.

  1. Responsible Research Practice

5.1 Research Principles

All researchers are expected to consider the wider consequences of their work and to critically engage with the practical, ethical and intellectual challenges that are intrinsic to the conduct of high-quality research. It is the responsibility of all engaged in research to observe and promote the following principles which set out the standards and values relevant to research.

5.2 Research Funding

Researchers have a responsibility to familiarise themselves with the terms and conditions of any funding agreement (grant or contract and whether from public, government funding bodies, industry or other),to ensure that they fully understand the implications of those terms, and that they agree to, and accept these terms as the basis for their research. Once the funding has been accepted, researchers must ensure that they observe and fully comply with the terms and conditions of any grant or contract. Researchers must adhere to all Financial Regulations and Procedures including those related to purchasing or procurement of materials, equipment or other resources for research, the hiring of research project staff and expenses. Researchers must use and manage financial resources responsibly and sustainably and in accordance with the terms and conditions of the funding body and the University, and co-operate with any financial monitoring and audit. Any concerns, irregularities or events which can result in unforeseen financial consequences, should be reported to the Finance department as soon as they become apparent.


5.3 Research Design

Suitable research design should be used to structure the research, and to outline how the key parts of the research project will work together in addressing the fundamental research questions and objectives. The process of research design should examine all the potential risks and ethical issues, how data will be collected, what techniques and instruments will be used and how, and how records will be analysed. Sound research design and management is crucial to successful research implementation therefore researchers are encouraged to seek appropriate advice from more senior and experienced colleagues.

When designing a research project, researchers should ensure that the following requirements are observed:

  • The proposed research addresses pertinent question(s) and is designed either to add to existing knowledge of the subject in question, or to develop methods for research into it.
  • The research design is appropriate for the question(s) being asked and addresses the most important sources of bias.
  • A clear and detailed research plan or protocol is produced setting out the design and conduct of the study, including how records will be gathered, analysed and managed, and how and in what form relevant data will eventually be made available to others. Consideration should be given to how data may be reused in the future, including sharing it with collaborators, other researchers or through open access.
  • All necessary skills and experience will be available to conduct the proposed research within the research team, or through collaboration with specialists in relevant fields.
  • Sufficient resources meeting the relevant standards will be available to undertake the proposed research.
  • Progress will be monitored regularly and if necessary there should be an opportunity to refine the research design and/or methodology where justifiable. Any modifications should be clearly documented and recorded.
  • Where the research design has been approved by an ethical review or a regulatory body, researchers should ensure that any subsequent alterations to the design are subject to appropriate review and scrutiny.

5.4 Collaborative Working

Researchers should be mindful of the customary practices and procedures for the conduct of research adopted by organisations involved in collaborative working, and work to ensure compliance with common research standards and procedures. All parties should be clear about their respective roles and responsibilities, and agree uniform collaboration principles. In particular consensus should be reached on confidentiality, the provenance of intellectual ideas, and ownership and publication of research outputs, recognising that subject to legal and ethical requirements, roles and contributions may change during the lifespan of the research.

5.5 Research Ethics

The University aims to provide a competent, rigorous and independent process of ethical review, which is proportionate to the anticipated risks involved in a research project. Researchers should consider all ethical and regulatory issues before any research work commences, and ensure that they are fully aware of and comply with all ethical and legal obligations and guidelines as required by relevant stakeholders, including seeking ethical review, and approval and authorisation for research where appropriate. All researchers must be familiar with and observe at all times the University’s Ethics Policy, and should ensure that they act and conduct their research to the highest ethical standards. Research involving secondary data may require ethical review where there are substantial ethical considerations. Research and data collection, including recruitment of participants or fieldwork, must not commence until ethical approval is granted by the relevant Ethics Committee, the Institutional Review Board (IRB),or other relevant external body. If in doubt about the need for ethical review, researchers should contact the Institutional Ethics Committee.

5.6 Intellectual Property and Copyright

Intellectual property (IP) is the product of thought, creativity and intellectual effort. It is the University’s policy to encourage and facilitate the successful utilisation of IP to the benefit of the University, its researchers and as part of its contribution to society. All researchers are required to familiarise themselves with, and strictly observe the terms relating to IP and confidentiality in any sponsored research, grant, contract or collaboration agreement. Researchers are expected to respect IP created by others, use it only with appropriate permissions, and fully comply with all relevant IP licences. Researchers should ensure they keep lab note books and other records for evidencing the creation of new IP arising during their research.

5.7 Confidential Information

Researchers may be in receipt of confidential information from other researchers, collaborators and funders. Researchers need to ensure that they handle confidential and/or restricted information carefully and not use or disclose it to others without the consent of the party who owns the confidential information. Researchers must also ensure that they are aware of any confidentiality provisions applying to specific projects involving commercially sensitive data or Intellectual Property, and of possible obligations with respect of those provisions.

5.8 Publication and Authorship

All researchers are expected to publish and disseminate the results of their research in an open, honest, transparent and accurate manner, and via all appropriate media such as journal papers, books, reviews, software, data repository or conference proceedings. While both Intellectual Property rights regulations and the requirements of research contracts must be satisfied, only in the most exceptional circumstances of security or confidentiality should research findings be withheld from academic scrutiny, sharing or further use.

The University expects all the publications to conform to appropriate discipline specific professional standards, as well as following the examples of good practice as set out below:

  • In any publication, the authors must be able to identify their contribution to it, be familiar with its content, and accept personal responsibility for it.
  • In all aspects of research, the contributions of formal collaborators and all others who directly assist or indirectly support the research (including research students, research staff and professional services staff) should be properly acknowledged with their permission. Funders of research should be clearly acknowledged and any competing interests listed. The sequence in which authors are listed should be agreed by all authors, following disciplinary conventions or publishers’ requirements. Intentional failure to acknowledge the contributions of others is regarded as unprofessional conduct, and instances other than minor omissions will be treated as research misconduct.
  • Any person who has not made an intellectual, scholarly or practical contribution, and has not participated in a substantial way in conceiving, executing or interpreting at least part of the relevant research, should not be included as an author of the publication derived from that research (so called ‘honorary authorship’).
  • Researchers must clearly acknowledge and attribute all sources used in the research in line with their specific discipline citation and referencing convention.
  • A researcher who submits substantially similar work to more than one publisher should disclose that fact to the publishers at the time of submission.
  • All publications should include sufficient methodological information to allow other researchers to reproduce original procedures used.
  • Researchers have the responsibility to ensure that any inconsistencies or errors in their published material are rectified in a timely manner.
  • Researchers should observe any conditions set by funding or other bodies regarding the publication of their research and its findings, and all authors should declare any potential or actual conflicts of interest which may be financial, commercial, personal, academic or political
 
   
 
 
 

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