Research Integrity Advisors

  • What are RIAs?

    Research Integrity Advisors (RIAs) play a key role in research ethics and integrity at the Charles Sturt University. RIAs interpret the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018 (the Code), Charles Sturt policy and procedures so that they can provide advice to University staff and students about the responsible conduct of research. An RIA can also provide advice to any person who is concerned about the conduct of research and seeking options available to them to take the concern forward. If necessary, an RIA will report suspected breaches of the Code to the Designated Officer.

    RIAs work closely with the Manager and the Research Integrity Officer of the Research Integrity, Ethics and Compliance Unit.

    The role of the RIA does not extend to investigation or determination when dealing with concerns, complaints or breaches of the Code.

  • When to talk to an RIA?

    If you have a concern or questions about the conduct of research or research practices at the University, then you should speak to an RIA as soon as you can.

    Research Integrity Advisors provide a first point of contact for anyone who is concerned with the responsible conduct of research at Charles Sturt University and can assist with providing an objective evaluation process of the matter in relation to the University policies and procedures. The RIA will guide the individual through the options available to them to take the matter further or resolve the issue.

    It maybe that you think authorship on a publication hasn't been fairly decided, or that someone is making up results, or that someone has stolen some of your original work. If it relates to the conduct of research then you should speak to an RIA.

    Before the meeting...

    Like all members of the University, RIAs have a responsibility to report instances of research misconduct. This means that we cannot say that the discussions that you might have with a RIA are 'confidential'. There may be occasions where a RIA will need to report a concern even if the person seeking their advice doesn't want it to go any further (this will only be for the most serious of research misconduct matters).

    The discussions that you have with an RIA are not confidential and will be recorded with meeting notes. The RIA may need to take action even if you don't want them to. If you want to have a useful discussion without divulging identities or obligating the RIA to report the concern, consider how you can describe the situation as a hypothetical. The RIA can still provide you with the right advice about the best next steps.

    You should also think about any evidence that you have access to that will help the RIA make a proper assessment of the situation. For example, drafts of manuscripts or altered images. It isn't your job to collect all the evidence (that may be part of an investigation), but if there are things that you can get hold of it will be helpful. Your RIA will talk to you about this.

    During the discussion

    At the start of the meeting and before the RIA can provide advice you will be asked to sign a Research Integrity Advice Information and Consent Form. The RIA will listen to you, take notes and will ask questions so that she or he has enough information to offer you some advice. You might wish to bring someone along with you as a 'support person'.

    What happens after the discussion?

    After the initial discussion, your RIA may need to consult with other experts in the University about the best way to proceed and to make sure that you are getting the best advice. This may take a couple of days. The RIA will make sure that these discussions are discreet and won't be 'broadcasting' any details. This is another reason why we can't say that the discussions held between RIAs and people seeking their advice are confidential, but it certainly doesn't mean that the discussion will become widely known or talked about.

  • Have a query or want to report an issue?

    Staff and students of the University and members of the community can directly contact RIAs for support and advice. If you're unsure which advisor to contact, you can submit a query form and an RIA will get in contact with you.

    More information can be found on the Breaches and Misconduct page.

Who are our Research Integrity Advisors?

Dr Linda Mahony

Dr Linda Mahony

School of Education

Campus: Wagga Wagga

Dr Linda Mahony is a Senior Lecturer and an accomplished researcher. Linda has expertise in qualitative research. Her research focuses on school and teachers’ work with children and families experiencing separation and divorce, literacy, and initial teacher education.

Email: limahony@csu.edu.au
Phone: 02 6933 2087

Professor Suzanne McLaren

Professor Suzanne McLaren

School of Psychology

Campus: Port Macquarie

Suzanne recently commenced at Charles Sturt University in a role focused on research, supervising research students, and mentoring staff, particularly in the area of research.

Suzanne’s main research interests are within the broad field of adult mental health. She is particularly interested in investigating the processes by which risk and protective factors influence mental health.

Email: smclaren@csu.edu.au
Phone: 02 6582 9459

Dr Ian Skinner

Dr Ian Skinner

School of Community Health

Campus: Port Macquarie

Dr Ian Skinner commenced at Charles Sturt University as a senior lecturer in the physiotherapy department on the Port Macquarie Campus in January 2020. Ian previously taught at UTS in the Master of Physiotherapy program.

Dr Skinner is an early career researcher interested in the mechanisms and management of pain and the efficacy of patient centred approaches to treat people with debilitating conditions. He has presented both nationally and internationally as an invited speaker on the nature of pain and on evidence-based interventions for pain management in clinical practice.

Email: iskinner@csu.edu.au
Phone: 02 6582 9374

Dr Ruth Townsend

Dr Ruth Townsend

School of Biomedical Sciences

Campus: Bathurst

Ruth Townsend is a lecturer in law, ethics and professionalism at Charles Sturt University. Ruth has most recently practised as a general senior legal officer for a large government institution.  Ruth has also practised as in-house counsel on commercial law matters for the NSW government. Ruth has a special interest in administrative law and governance, having previously acted in the role of University Ombudsman. Ruth also has an interest in health law and ethics and is the co-editor and author of the text, ‘Applied Paramedic Law and Ethics’ as well as numerous other book chapters and published articles on areas of health and the law.  Ruth has a PhD in law from the ANU and has supervised a number of honours students on a range of different topics.

Email: rtownsend@csu.edu.au
Phone: 02 6338 4350