Research Ethics Policy

RESEARCH ETHICS POLICY

 

Purpose

This Research Ethics policy sets out the principles for ethical research and the processes by which researchers should seek ethical approval for their research. It is expected that this policy will be read in conjunction with the relevant subject-specific and professional codes and guidance on ethics and research conduct as well as taking into account all relevant legislation.

Scope

The Research Ethics Policy applies to all staff and students at the University engaged in research, and any individual who is not a member of staff or student at the University but is undertaking research using University premises and facilities, and/or in the University’s name.

The Research Ethics Policy is intended to:

  • To provide the ethical framework within which the ethical review process will operate across campus
  • To promote exemplary ethical standards in research and scholarship
  • Direct researchers to adhere to best practices relating to the ethical development,
  • implementation and dissemination of research

Principles

 The University’s stance on ethical issues is underpinned by the following key principles:

  • Informed consent

Those involved in research whether as participants or researchers should be informed of the nature and purpose of the research, and any potential benefits, risks, obligations or inconvenience associated with the research before they choose to participate.

  • Confidentiality

Except where explicit written consent is obtained to the contrary, researchers should protect the confidentiality and anonymity of all human participants and their data relating to them at all times.

  • Justified

Researchers should be able to demonstrate that the research they undertake is worthwhile and necessary. They should be able to show that the study will add new knowledge and not simply replicate research that already exists. The value of the new knowledge gained should outweigh the potential disruption and inconvenience caused to those involved in the research.

  • Three Rs

Research involving animals research should aim to conform to the principles of replacement, reduction and refinement.

  • Ethical bioprospecting

Researching the commercial use of natural resources must be respectful of indigenous territories and cultures, and take account of relevant international agreements.

  • Independence

Researchers should not distort research design and/or findings to suit funder requirements.

  • Reciprocity

Research should be based on the creation of outcomes for the common good.

  • Accessibility

Researchers should aim wherever possible to disseminate their findings in the public domain and through learning and teaching roles at the University.


Research misconduct

Non-compliance with the Research Ethics Policy, whether deliberate, reckless or negligent, will usually be deemed as research misconduct.

  • Plagiarism
  1. Copying information word for word from a source, including cutting and pasting information from an electronic text, without using quotation marks and giving proper acknowledgment of the source or providing a proper citation.
  2. Paraphrasing, or putting into one’s own words, the text of a source without providing proper acknowledgment of the source or providing a proper citation. Paraphrasing extensive portions of another source, even with citation. 
  3.  Presenting any work or part of a work or assignment that has been prepared by someone else as one’s own. 
  4. Reproducing, without proper citation, any other form of work of another person such as a graph, experimental data or results, laboratory reports, a proof, or a problem solution, in full or in part. 
  • Fabrication: Fabrication means falsifying or misusing data including presenting falsified data in a paper, manuscript, or presentation and making up a source for a citation.
  • Cheating: Cheating is the use or attempted use of any unauthorized assistance in any academic exercise. 
  • Impeding fair and equal access to the educational and research process: including tampering with, damaging, impeding access to academic resources.
  • Misrepresentation includes:
  1. Falsifying, misusing, or tampering with information such as test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation or other materials required for admission to and continued enrollment and access in the University’s programs or facilities.
  2. Altering, forging or misusing academic records or any official University form regarding self or others.
  3. Presenting false information at an academic proceeding or intentionally destroying evidence important to an academic proceeding.
  4. Making a bad faith report of an academic integrity violation.
  5. Offering bribes to any University representative in exchange for special favors or consideration in an academic proceeding.
  • Facilitation: Facilitation occurs when you knowingly or intentionally assist another in committing a violation of any of the previous sections of Research Ethics policy.

Conduct of Research

  • Ethical responsibilities

In experimental research projects there is usually a Principal Investigator (PI) or a set of co-PIs who lead the project. They should specially ensure the supervision and appropriate mentoring of researchers. Research supervisors should display the highest ethical standards when dealing with students. Potentially troublesome issues should be identified and dealt with as soon as possible with fairness and clarity.

Despite the above, all individuals participating in a research project are responsible for their own actions and should make sure these are consistent with, and uphold, high ethical standards. Unethical behaviour on their part cannot be justified by the claim that they were following a mentor’s instructions.

  • Data management

Steps must be taken to retain all research materials gathered (including physical and visual data), in a safe and confidential space. Particularly with experimental work, defending the publication requires properly recorded raw data to be produced. Its absence will typically be treated as suspicious. A well maintained lab notebook provides not only a permanent record of results and protocols for future publications, but also serves as critical evidence for a claim of priority in the case of patent applications and as proof of adherence to appropriate ethical standards. Tampering with or manipulating records in a laboratory notebook is unacceptable. Through the informed consent process, participants should be informed about how study data will be managed and how it long it will be retained.

  • Ownership

Physical materials including lab notebooks, data sets etc. arising out of research performed at IIS (Deemed to be University), will remain the property of University unless explicitly decided otherwise. The same holds for software and processes having commercial value.

  • Responsible use of funds

Efforts should be made to ensure reasonable and efficient use of resources following transparent and fair processes. Researchers must not use funding for purposes other than that specified in their grant award.

  • Sharing of facilities

Equipments installed at IIS (Deemed to be University) is expected to be shared in a collegial spirit with colleagues who require access for their own research, as long as such access does not impede the original purpose for which the equipment was purchased. In such situations, the PI can decide on details such as who actually operates the equipment and at what times, as long as sharing is willingly facilitated and transparent procedures are in place.

  • Experiments involving animals

All experiments that involve use of animal and human research subjects require ethical permission and approval. Experiments involving animals come under the purview of the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee (IAEC) which functions based on the guidelines of CPCSEA (Committee for the Purpose of Control and and Supervision of Experiments on Animals, http://cpcsea.nic.in).

  • Safety and environment

Research activity must not endanger other people or the environment in any way. IIS (Deemed to be University) expects all its members to incorporate safety and environmental concerns into their research practices. Environmental guidelines, regulations and laws must be followed and appropriate licenses/permits and clearances obtained for the handling, storage or disposal of hazardous material. Within experimental laboratories the University and PIs have joint responsibility for ensuring that the work area is safe, and that research practices of the group do not endanger the research team, visitors or the public.

  • Publication of research findings
  1. Researchers must share all research findings with appropriate parties, unless major confidentiality issues arise and subject to the guidelines above or contractual provisions.
  2. When publishing research all reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that
    published reports, statistics and public statements about research activities and performance are complete, accurate and unambiguous. Researchers are responsible and accountable for the accuracy and completeness of their reports.
  3. The nature of financial support must be acknowledged in all reports of research outcomes, both to acknowledge the support and ensure transparency.
  4. The University is committed to adhering to the expectations of regulatory bodies relating to open access data of publicly funded research and expects all researchers to duly comply.
  5. All researchers who have contributed to the development of results and dissemination should be appropriately acknowledged in accordance with the particular publication’s definition of authorship.