Breaches, Misconduct and Complaints

  • What is a breach?

    The NHMRC’s Guide to Managing and Investigating Breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research defines a breach as “ Failure to meet the principals and responsibilities of the code, and may refer to a single breach or multiple breaches .”

    The seriousness of a breach of the Code is reviewed on a sliding scale. A major research breach (or continued and repeated breaches) is considered as research misconduct.

    When the seriousness of a breach is assessed, these factors will be considered:

    • How much the conduct deviated from the expected practice;
    • Who is affected by the breach and to what degree;
    • Whether the integrity of the research is compromised and, if so, to what extent;
    • Whether the researcher is experienced and if they have been found guilty of previous breaches.
    Minor research breaches are typically rectified through advice and counselling and rarely require an investigation. Examples include:
    • administrative errors;
    • clerical errors; and
    • unintentional oversights.

    Some examples of major breaches may include but is not limited to:

    1. fabrication of results;
    2. falsification or misrepresentation of results;
    3. plagiarism;
    4. misleading ascription of authorship;
    5. use of others' intellectual property without due acknowledgment;
    6. failure to declare and manage serious conflicts of interest;
    7. failure to responsibly manage and administer research funds;
    8. falsification or misrepresentation to obtain funding;
    9. conducting research without appropriate approvals such as written ethics approval, licenses and permits;
    10. risking the safety of human participants, or the wellbeing of animals or the environment;
    11. deviations from the Code that occur through gross or persistent negligence; and
    12. wilful concealment or facilitation of research misconduct by others.
  • Recommended definition of research misconduct

    Research misconduct is a serious breach of the Code which is also intentional or reckless or negligent.

    Breaches of the Code and allegations of misconduct should be reported immediately, and will be investigated accordingly.

  • Who do I contact regarding concerns, breaches or misconduct?

    If you have a concern regarding research conduct at the University, you should first talk to a Research Integrity Advisor (RIA). They will be able to provide advice regarding the relevant Codes and Procedures and help you to determine if the matter should be referred to the Research Integrity, Ethics and Compliance Unit.

    You can also contact the Research Integrity, Ethics and Compliance Unit to discuss a matter, or if you would like to lodge a submission regarding a potential breach or allegation of misconduct. Submissions for student research misconduct can be made via Student Conduct.

    If you are concerned about research conduct at another institution, it is best to directly go to that institution's equivalent research integrity office.

  • Investigation Process

    Charles Sturt has designed a procedure that supports the process to receive, investigate and manage complaints or allegations surrounding research activity that is occurring in contradiction to the Code. This process has been guided by the Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018 (the Guide).

    This process applies to all research activity undertaken by University staff and students, where a concern has been raised.

    Manage & Investigation Process