GRS GenAI Guidelines

Position Statement and Guidelines for the use of Generative AI tools by HDR candidates at JCU

The JCU Graduate Research School recognises that Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) tools are now widely used in universities.  As stated in the main JCU AI position statement, we measure our impact by the success of our graduates. That success will be underpinned by educational opportunities that allow research degree candidates to engage with emerging and evolving technologies, including GenAI, with an emphasis on developing the general capabilities and skills that foster their professional expertise, critical thinking, evaluation, and intellectual curiosity.

The use of this technology by Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates at JCU is allowed, in alignment with the six guidelines shown below.  All candidates are expected to exhibit HDR Graduate Attributes upon completion of their degrees, including the ability to articulate and communicate their research. The GRS affirms that there is no automated substitute for writing a thesis, since the writing process itself produces deep understanding; the skill to write clearly and cogently about research is expected of a JCU HDR graduate.

The guidelines for GenAI use shown below allow for evolving disciplinary norms, and assume that HDR candidates and their advisors will be ethical and professional at all times when engaging with this technology.

Guideline 1: Ethics and bias

The use of AI in research design, conduct, and dissemination must comply with established ethical principles, as set out in the Australian Code for The Responsible Conduct of Research (2018). Also, researchers should be aware that because GenAI draws upon large databases of existing knowledge, they may perpetuate social, racial, gender and other biases that should be subjected to critical scrutiny.

Guideline 2:  Copyright and confidentiality

Uploading data to a GenAI tool risks losing control over it, including confidential, sensitive and copyrighted data. HDR candidates are advised not to share any data with a GenAI tool that they would not normally make publicly available.  All candidates whose work requires Human Ethics approval are expected to adhere to the relevant ethics guidelines, and inputting research data to GenAI may be a breach.

Guideline 3: Transparency

Transparency of artificial intelligence usage is an expectation. All HDR candidates are expected to declare up front any use of GenAI in any work carried out, submitted or presented for assessment, explicitly indicating how GenAI has been used.

Guideline 4: Professionalism

GenAI is a professional tool that may assist with some aspects of research manuscript preparation and data analysis, although it cannot replace the planning, drafting and writing, and the interpretative processes, that must be undertaken by HDR candidates with guidance from their advisors.

Guideline 5: Authorship

Non-human authorship does not constitute authorship: as per Guideline 3, GenAI can be used as a tool to support writing (for example, copy editing, feedback and pre-review, or for testing assumptions against an existing data set); however, it cannot be used to write a thesis or publications.

Guideline 6: Assessment

To ensure the integrity of HDR thesis assessment, additional forms of oral examination assessment may be introduced, to ensure that candidates are the true creators of their work.

Revision History

Version NumberImplementation DateDetails
23-14 /7/2023Established